Six on Saturday: looking back over 2018 (29 December 2018)

Taking a stroll around the garden yesterday I struggled to find anything of interest that I hadn’t already shared recently. Later, as I was sitting in the conservatory watching a flock of long-tailed tits nibbling away at a fat-filled coconut shell and helping myself to what I vowed would be the last Beech’s dark chocolate ginger of the day, I pondered what had happened garden-wise over the past year. Were there six gardeny things of note that could make up a Six on Saturday? Five dark chocolate gingers and a Lindt chocolate bauble later I decided there were.

1. We rarely get snow in Taunton, Somerset. So having two lots of heavy snow within weeks (1 March and the 18 March) came as a bit of a shock.


The first lot was heavier and was accompanied by freezing rain, something I’d never seen before. The flowering daffodils recovered okay though.

2. From cold and wet to hot and very dry. By mid June the South facing front garden was beginning to suffer due to the lack of rain and by the end of July the front lawn was decidely crispy. Things weren’t much better in the back. The trees on the Green opposite the house began to shed their leaves and everything just looked rather autumnally.

By September everything had recovered but the drought has made me consider changing the planting scheme out the front. It always looks colourful in May but has always struggled later in the summer. The neighbours had a big front garden revamp earlier this year (as well as going all out with the Royal Wedding celebrations). They adopted our curvy bed theme but went with quite different plants to ours. As the summer went on I realised they’d been far more sensible, choosing plants that seemed to cope with the heat and lack of rain far better than ours did. I’m thinking a bit of mulching might be in order come the spring (I usually only do the back garden) and I have a few drought tolerant plants ready to go in.

3. The lack of rain and an empty water butt prompted me to improve our water storage capacity. We went from one water butt to two.

And when it finally rained and the second one started to fill I was strangely chuffed and even filmed the momentous moment.

And I didn’t stop at two water butts, oh no. In September I rigged up some guttering to the blue shed and attached another one. It didn’t go very smoothly (a recap can be found here) but I’m hoping it’ll mean we use less mains water for gardening and help delay or prevent having to collect our shower water (which is always a bit of a chore).

4. 2018 has been the year of moving things. The wildlife pond was moved so that it would get more sun and there was the great shrub move of October 2018. However, there were two big changes that affected the overall design of the garden this year. The first was the re-shaping of the lawn. When we moved here in 2012 the lawn was rectangular.

Over the years I’d dug up some of it to create a few curved beds, but most of the brick edging had remained in place (it had seemed too big a task to remove it back then). It looked a bit odd, an almost circular lawn within a rectangle. In April, armed with mallet, pickaxe and trusty trowel, I removed the bricks (the cement proved to be far more bashable than in 2012) and created as circular a circle as possible using a screwdriver and some string. It was then edged with the recycled bricks.


5. Though the circular lawn was an improvement it created a rather shapeless looking gravel path.

In August I set about creating a gently curved path, altering the shape of some of the beds. It made quite a difference to the overall feel of the garden.

In theory the curvy path and round lawn means I won’t be digging up any more turf. However, I’m wondering whether I should take up a few of the patio slabs over on the right next year to create a bit more space for new plants…

6. And finally, sheds. The green shed was here when we moved in but was slowly rotting away. It was time for a change.


A new shed was purchased with a cunning plan in mind. Having the door on the long side has freed up space for a new mini greenhouse on the short side. And I’ve finally taken the plunge and ordered it.

And they were my Six on Saturday. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, take a look at the site of the chap who started it all over at All the best for the New Year.