A recap of our garden in 2018 and dreams of 2019 gardening

I love to garden. I am itching to get outside once Christmas is over and all tucked away in the attic until next year. Luckily, living on Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada, I can work in the garden in January and actually, there is lots to be done. My snowdrops are blooming. I am thinking about when to start pruning my roses and when and what soil amendments to add for the best results. Sweet pea seeds are calling to me. There is always so much promise in “next year”. Our garden in 2018 was good. Good, but not great, so this coming year I’m aiming for GREAT. Let’s start with some highlights from 2018…

snowdrops in vases

It begins with the most delightful flower ever, the snowdrop. We are so lucky to have carpets of snowdrops all over our garden, planted by previous owners many years ago. I try to add more each year. Last year I added some pink ones so I can’t wait to see them blooming.

While it is rare, we did get some snow this past year. It was only around for a couple of days, but it was very pretty. You have to be quick to get snow pictures here in Victoria as it is very fleeting. Looking back at these, I sort of hope we get another dusting this winter.

Snowy garden

The snow was gone in a flash, making way for the garden’s stunning spring display.

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Summer has many highlights and here are some, in no particular order. I’m a very fickle gardener and my favourite flower is usually the one I choose to stare at and fawn over for a few days and then move on to another. I love them all.

How would I feel about summer if I couldn’t grow roses? I suppose the local florists would love me but I do get pleasure out of caring for my own roses. There is nothing nicer than a freshly cut rose on your bedside table (except perhaps freshly cut lilacs or sweet peas). I grow almost exclusively David Austin Roses but there are a few old roses and a couple of hybrid teas. I have a dedicated bed for roses as I find it easiest to care for them “en masse” although I love roses in mixed perennial beds too. This garden is quite limited for sun (unless I dig up our lawn…and I’ve considered it!) so I do my best to plant things where they will be happy. Here are some of the sweet roses that bloomed last summer.

Gertrude Jekyl rose

Tip: You can double click an image and it will enlarge and you can then scroll through in larger format xo

Every year in the garden there is a stand out. There is one flower or plant that I am besotted with. In 2018, it was the dahlia Café au Lait. It was stunning. I have no idea what will come of it this year as I did not dig it up as I likely should have. I have successfully had dahlias come back year after year without digging them up but we shall see. Perhaps I should plant some new tubers in pots in case my experiment (laziness) fails. Without further adieu, here she is…

café au lait dahlia in vase

I think this should do it for my recap. I realize I have many more plants in the garden but I just wanted to do a quick overview and this year, since I’m now blogging, I can do monthly highlights. Oh, I like the sound of that!

As for this coming gardening year, my plans are:

  1. Prune the roses back hard to encourage vitality and to keep them from towering over me. Amend the soil with everything I can throw at it and watch out for those nasty inch worms that were so greedy last spring. Deadhead all season and not just at the beginning. I’m such a fair weather friend…

  2. Be consistent about staking all perennials! Stake early and stake well.

  3. Find the most interesting and reliable shade plants for my shady fountain garden. I insist on pushing plants that require more sun and then wonder why I don’t get the results I am hoping for. Also, before planting add tons of the good stuff deep down so that the plants have a fighting chance.

  4. Sit back and enjoy!

Tea in the garden with blue and white china