Reflections on 2023: A year in the garden

It’s been some time since I’ve posted on the blog so I’m going to use this entry to provide an overview of 2023. I think the main gardening highlight of last year was editing and improving what we already have. As we get to know the plants better we’ve moved some into different parts of the garden where they’ll be happier. For 2024 we’ve got 2 main areas to continue editing as well as the creation of a new seating area.

I’ve really enjoyed the foliage plant Arum Italicum which I planted into pots last year. The foliage is so decorative and complements the early flowering bulbs beautifully. The primrose I grew from seed (both the cowslip and common primrose) flowered nicely in spring and have bulked up well over the year.

We planted two espalier apple trees in the planting beds between the patio table and the silver birch bed. We went for cultivars ‘Gala‘ (pollination group 4 partially & self-fertile) and ‘Elstar‘¬† (pollination group 3 & not self-fertile). Gala is in the right pollination group to fertilise Elstar. We bought these trees as bare roots, rather than containerised as these are much better value. We did have some calamagrostis grasses planted into this gap but they never seemed to thicken up and when wet they would droop over the path.

Last year the hedge bed was established enough to start shaping it. It’s still some way off the tightness it will be after a few more years but I am happy with the progress so far. We planted the same cultivar of shrub roses (‘Queen of Sweden‘) into each of the 4 outer triangles.

central garden hedge bed Aug 23′

We also planted 4 shrub roses into the walled garden hedge bed (2 x ‘Desdemona‘ and 2 x ‘Scarborough Fair‘).

I went to Hampton Court Flower Show this year. I really loved the planting and design of this show garden: ‘Nurturing Nature in the City Garden‘. I thought the wooden water feature was great and loved how it integrated so seamlessly into the bed above.

We holidayed in Amsterdam in Spring – I was not expecting the city to be so beautifully planted.

The crab apples ‘Everste‘ which we planted in December 2019 as bare roots continued to flourish last year and are now starting to provide some privacy when you’re sat inside this area.

I made much more use of the greenhouse last year. I managed to get into the habit of going in every morning which I am going to stick to in 2024. I did much more plant propagation and realised my favourite method is to pot on self seeded plants – they grow away so quickly and it amazes me how many free plants you can get! I have so many varieties of persicaria potted up ready for planting out this season.

We visited Hergescroft Gardens in Wales in May. I particularly loved the rodgersia and how the leaves are almost iridescent with a bronze like sheen to them.

The drystone wall is starting to age well now. As you can see, the ferns which are self seeded seem to really love it, as does the ivy and Mexican fleabane which  self seeds prolifically.

We moved some ferns around to create a dedicated fern area. I love having them either side of this section of the path. They contrast nicely with the topiary ball at the end (see below).

The pond area also continued to flourish last year although in autumn we did take the time to remove some of the hostas to make way for some more structural shrubs.

The geum ‘Totally Tangerine‘ flowered profusely this year – they worked beautifully in the house too.

The Turkish sage ‘Phlomis Russeliana‘ which is planted near the geum on the mound really performed well last year and seems to enjoy its location there. As you can see below, as it’s quite a tall plant it helps to add to the seclusion behind too.

The persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Blackfield‘ which is also on the mound has continued to bulk up and now produces a long period of blooms well into autumn.

persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Blackfield’

I just adore the fresh green growth of this Persian Ivy ‘Sulphur Heart‘. It really started to grow strongly last year and I enjoy how it’s taken over this corner of the pergola.

The various roses in the garden all performed well last year. The one planted against the front of the house ‘City of York‘ put on a lot of growth and flowered beautifully. It’s also very heavily scented.

The front garden has continued to mature since we first planted it in 2020. As you can see, it’s started to fill out as well as creep forwards. It did take them a long time but the ajuga has finally started growing away. I love the dark purple foliage against the greens of the ferns.

I found a pair of antique pot holders in a local auction and need to clean them up ready for somewhere to put in the garden in 2024..





  1. It looks a really lovely garden, well thought out with interesting texture/colour combinations. Amazing how much it has come on since you first bought the house! It also makes the garden look so much bigger.

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