GARDENING: A yr to recollect for house gardening


“/>The Alnwick Garden Lights Trail.The Alnwick Garden Lights Trail.

An estimated 30 million UK gardening enthusiasts will now do so.

This guy who is one of them is generally looking at: Was there a good return on native plants, fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants? Have there been any outstanding successes or failures? Do garden visits or flower shows stick in your memory? How did our local villages and towns fare in the Northumbria competition in Bloom? Will this past garden year

live long in our thoughts? Fortunately, there have been some positive reactions about the house

Garden. The fruit, bushes and trees were excellent this year, with tons to pick and in some cases an excess to store. The vegetables have been produced since spring and we continue to harvest wintergreens. With limited access to ornamental plugs, we sown a collection of older annual seeds forgotten in a tin can and they saved the day.

2020 started with our main seed order. It is placed early if top companies run out of popular varieties. However, we also buy packets of seeds or young plants that will attract attention during regular garden center visits, as well as more bags of multi-purpose compost as young plants develop. Everything went well until mid-March and the unexpected lockdown!

Mail-order access to seeds, plants, compost, and sundries came to the rescue, but with myriad gardeners following this route, it resulted in phone and online congestion. On August 12, the seed company Suttons announced that sales had increased by 2,500 percent in a few days. 80% of them were vegetables. They sold 100 million lettuce seeds, 15 million beetroot, and 25 million herbs. Their conclusion was that the demand came from traditional gardeners who, for the first time, were ordering more newbies to horticultural vegetables. A recent memorandum from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) shows that an estimated 3 million UK residents will become new gardeners in 2020.

I will remember 2020 as the year our garden showed like never before how important it is to our wellbeing. Not only the occasional fresh food to maintain the body, but also an excellent environment to maintain mental balance!

I love my garden, but I don’t usually spend every day working in it. Volunteering at The Alnwick Garden, visits to remarkable gardens in the region and across the UK, flower displays and activities at Northumbria in Bloom ensure the occasional absence. However, each of these elements was inaccessible for an extended period of time during this most unusual year.

When the lockdown came in it did much more than put our visits to the gardens at Alnwick, Howick, Cragside and others on hold. This certainly had an impact on their financial prospects. No step, no income, possible vacation days. But the plants, lawns and weeds continued to grow. Someone had to take care of her! Non-profit organizations such as the National Garden Scheme (NGS), the British Red Cross and Hospice Care North Northumberland were also affected. After the initial lockdown, a ray of hope came when we were able to visit a limited number of Craster Gardens group with social distancing when booking online with NGS. What a joy and a relief that was.

The Chelsea Flower Show was booked but, like everyone else, disappointingly canceled. Then they decided to go digital so that we were active online for a week. The Warkworth Flower Show boldly decided to celebrate their 149th exhibition online and printed a full schedule.

The participants from the neighboring parish were invited to put their exhibits together, take photos and send in entries. A team of photographers has been organized to help if needed. The lady of the house and I judged the horticultural department based on these pictures. That was a summer success.

The most uplifting visit of the year was recently with an evening tour of the Alnwick Garden Christmas Lights Trail that met pandemic requirements. Impressive! We hope for a return to some form of normalcy for everyone in 2021.