A look back at 2014
Given that the blog has been a bit rather quiet since all the Christmas festivities it is time to come back with a bang. And what better than a look back at some of the big milestones of 2014. I first started looking back over some of the big gardening moments of 2014 for my gardening column in the Kildare Post and it really struck me just how busy the last year has been in terms of gardening and garden events. Here are just a few of my top moments.
Kildare Post Column
By far the most exciting thing had to be starting my weekly gardening column in the Kildare Post. We are just about hitting the one year mark with it and I think, at last count, we have surpassed 60 columns in total. It has been great fun seeing my columns printed in a newspaper but I don’t think anything will surpass the thrill of seeing the very first one appear in print.
A four legged companion in the garden
For my own garden this year marked one of the biggest changes, or threats depending on what way you look at it. The addition of Lola, who has a fondness of sleeping in flower pots, has resulted in some major brushing up on plants which are poisonous for pets in the garden. Of course I have shared this photo on the blog before but let’s face it if it wasn’t so cute I would be annoyed about the plants she destroyed!
A blooming year for Bloom in the Park
Like in years gone by Bloom in the Park has grown and grown and is attracting more people and putting on a bigger show. This year was no different with a great selection of plants and flowers on display. The show gardens did not disappoint this year with all the magic and interest you would have hoped for. The stage is set now for the garden designers to outdo themselves for 2015. And I for one look forward to spending every day at this years show once more!
Garden Centre Congress Visits Ireland
2014 was a very important year for Irish garden centres on the world stage with the Garden Centre Congress visiting Ireland for over a week. Their time here saw delegates visit many of Ireland’s famous gardens and tour our garden centres and nurseries taking inspiration and stories home to their own countries. I had the joy of going on one day’s worth of activities with them and the small task of a gala dinner with the President of Ireland.
A bumper harvest
With mild enough weather and a good dash of rain this summer we have had a decent enough year for vegetables in allotments and vegetable patches. While there has been some trial and error moments in my own it was a very good year for peas, carrots, garlic and onions. Not to mention the great harvests of soft fruits both in the garden and in hedgerows.
Powerscourt Estate Named Third Best Garden
One of my favourite gardens in all of Ireland received a major award this year when it was named the third best garden in the world by National Geographic magazine. This was a massive accolade not only for the garden itself but for Irish horticulture to be ranked so highly in the world for our garden design and heritage.
Carlow Garden Festival
The jam packed summer of garden events and outings for further highlighted with the Carlow Garden Festival which saw many fantastic gardens open to the public as well as superb talks by legendary gardeners such as Dermot O’Neill and Carol Klein.
Gardening Across the Channel
As many gardeners in Ireland know, horticulture and horticultural shows in England are in a different stratosphere than our own. I had the chance to visit the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show and see our English counterparts’ gardening ideas and I have to say they had some fantastic ideas. Their show gardens were full of fantastic plants and interesting colour combinations with a distinct natural planting scheme coming through many of the gardens.
A Rosy Year
While this year may not have been the best in terms of weather , it was a reasonably good year for roses. While many gardeners had to tackle the dreaded blackspot, greenfly did not pose a problem thanks to an abundance of ladybirds which was a relief for many gardeners. This year also saw more untraditional roses becoming popular in gardener centers, such as the purple flowering Old Port shrub rose which took up residency in my own garden.
A Magical Garden for Barretstown
One of the best garden visits I paid this year was to Barretstown for the unveiling of its new garden. The garden, designed by Tim Austen, was first seen by the public at Bloom. The garden was dismantled following Bloom and reconstructed within the walled garden at Barretstown. The garden offers a very whimsical area for children to interact with and appreciate plants.
A Redesigned Airfield Garden
Following extensive renovations, Airfield Gardens in Dublin opened to the public again and the work carried out was fantastic. By far the most impressive part is the newly designed vegetable garden which was an abundance of produce when I visited. For flower lovers the wildflower beds proved extremely popular in late summer.
By a mile 2014 had to be the year of the artichoke. Every garden visited this year boasted at least one gigantic plant with multiple flowering heads. The fantastic thing about such a great year of artichokes has meant that gardens have been full to the brim with bees and other pollinators, which is a fantastic thing in my eyes.
Of course there are many many more moments that I should be sharing in this post but we don’t have all day to spend looking back. It is time to go out and take some photo to start our 2015 gardening adventure!