With the finish line of Christmas behind us and an official fresh start still days away, this week feels a little slack-tide to me.  I’ve been torn between taking a winter’s nap and projecting (day dreaming) about what’s next.  But before diving headfirst into the next garden year and the stack of catalogs waiting for orders, I’m taking this time for reflection.  One of my end of the year tasks is to organize the hundreds of pictures I’ve taken on the property since last January and aside from re-reading the blog, there’s no better way for me to look back on the year.

I’ve been reminded about some of the things we learned – like:

A little Espoma Bulb-Tone fertilizer (4-10-6) thrown in with the annuals when we planted them made them sing like rockstars.

And after 3 straight summers of raking dead leaves out from under the roses twice a week, we learned that good hygiene really can slow down black spot.

When we planned for the ‘Karma Fuchsiana’ dahlias to be a major bright spot in the North Garden, we learned that it’s not a good idea to lean heavily on mail order plants.  (Alas, the tubers we ordered were duds.)

I’ve been reminded about plants I loved and plants I loathed:  I loved the towering teasel and cardoons.  I also adored the tiny basil blobs and ornamental hot peppers.  I was thrilled by the way the Display Garden came together with Fred and Dan’s new design and Gail’s and my plant combinations.  But I didn’t much like the daylilies or the phlox in the North Garden.

And I’ve been reminded to remember the people who have come into this garden over this past year and those who have gone.  Amazingly, visitation was up at Blithewold even though gas prices spiked.  Gail and I worked with the most wonderful volunteer crew on the planet and an incredibly dedicated team on staff.  And I am so lucky to have you out there in the world, reading this.

Are you going through your pictures and reflecting on the past year in your garden too?  What have you learned?  What did you love?

6 thoughts on “Reflection

  1. I’ve been going through my photos over the past year too. Mostly, I’m surprised by how much we accomplished in spite of an unexpected knee surgery in June. I feel really content with how things went this year and it was fun to see the new flower bed fill in and bloom.

    It’s so great that you’re able to see the strides rather than the set backs in your photos. Happy and healthy New Year! -kris

  2. Sometimes my reflections are very small, like the wee manger scene with animals and all people astride a mirror as reflecting pool, and sweet times reflected in the eyes of dear ones. Maybe not so small after all. And with thanks for your blog, photos and all the ways it keeps me in touch with what is important and beautiful. Blessings, galore!

    Aw thanks, Mum! -kris

  3. Hello to all there at Blithwold! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    I am writing from nearby Connecticut. I am enjoying your beautiful website, and have saved it to my favorite places.

    Here is how I found your site.
    I took my nephew to the Boston Museum of Science. I purchased a Giant Sequoia seedling there, with intentions to plant it and nurture it as a sign of love and affection for my nephew. I became fascinated by the idea of planting a seedling that has the potential to grow far beyond any local species, and imagined my fully grown nephew taking his grandchildren to a 100 foot sequoia, remembering it was planted by his loving auntie.
    I have since found that quite a few people are of similar mind, and at Welker’s Nursery in California, there is a catalog of fine folks doing just that, all over the country, maybe the world.
    I since found out there is a specimen of Sequoiadendron Giganteum in Rhode Island, at none other than your wonderful Blithwold! Please tell me the tree is doing well, and that we may visit it come the spring? It will give us an idea of what we are shooting for.
    Thank you and God bless.
    Kathleen and Jordan
    Quaker Hill, CT

    Greetings, Kathleen! I’m so glad you found this site and I’m pleased to report that we do indeed have a spectacular giant sequoia – actually I think we have ~13 of them on the property. Our oldest (nearly 100 years old) is either the largest or second largest this side of the Rockies and doing just fine! And if you take a drive around Bristol after visiting Blithewold, you’ll see several of its children around town too. We take good care of ours – they get watered during drought and we (our groundsmen) keep an eye out for fungal problems – so when you visit, you should be able to get some good ideas about your seedling’s potential. The grounds are open year round, so come any time! -kris

  4. Happy New Year.

    It’s been a long time since I last poked my head in here. On reflection – I have no excuse other than it’s been a busy year. Now that I’m ‘trapped’ indoors I too have been going through my old photos and attempting to return to all the places that inspired me to blog myself.

    On reflection – my favorite ‘new’ plant was a Coreopsis v. ‘Creme Brulee’. I was given a few to try by the owner of my favorite nursery and I’ll have to ‘repay’ her next year by buying a 100 or so.

    I haven’t gotten out and about much myself lately – say hello to everyone for me as you go on your rounds! ‘Creme Brulee’ is a beauty – with bigger flowers (easier to deadhead) than ‘Moonbeam’. I think we’d have a volunteer revolt on our hands though if we ever planted more coreopsis though (Moonbeam did them in.) Happy New Year! -kris

  5. Kris: I have a few comparison posts but I haven’t really looked back too intently. I will have to to that but when. It is funny how completely Christmas is over on the days after the holiday. The seed catalogs are arriving in droves and I am happy to report that I recognize some of your favorites such as the Emilia. Which of those boxy basils was your favorite? Must have some!

    Layanee, I think ‘Queenette’ was my number one but that’s because of its purple (it’s true – I liked them) flowers. There were 3 minis that looked exactly alike: ‘Pistou’, ‘Minette’ and ‘Boxwood’ and if I remember right, ‘Marseille’ had slightly larger leaves and made a bigger mound. ‘Pistou’ might have been the first to bolt but if my memory is not wonky, it had the basil-est flavor… My advice: grow them all! -kris

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