Thursday, January 01, 2009

Another Year Over ....

OK, so I´ve missed another deadline. 2008 was supposed to end with a review of the year posted on December 31st. And here we are, twelve hours into 2009 and I´m only just getting around to it. And one of my New Year resolutions is to try and manage my time better ...

The year started as it finished, with us here in Germany. While we were here last year, I noticed two large crassula ovata in flower, and the post I wrote on them turned out to be my most popular post ever - goodness knows why. But the search engines seem to like it and it still tops my list of most visited pages. This year they´re still there, but there´s no sign of flowers. Could it be a plant which only flowers occasionally, I wonder. Back home my own still shows no sign of blooms at all.

My own favourite January post though was the one I wrote
On the naming of plants ... - something that sems to get less logical the more they try and clean it up.

In February my primula were in full flower and I was itching to get on with seed sowing. While I waited though, I asked What Kind of a Garden Blogger are you? - bifurcated, a butterfly, a scribbler or ...??

March was a good month both for gardening and blogging. The tulips were out, and the primula continued to surprise - as I wrote in The Curious Incident of the Primrose that Wanted to be a Polyanthus. I also posted, a bit late, on Where in the world is the Balcony Garden? for Jodi at Bloomingwriter´s Garden Blogger´s Geography Project describing living and gardening in Milan.

In April I wrote about my little Hamster Helper : The Only Garden Tool You´ll Ever Need. Benji sadly died later in the year - she was by that time an old lady, but refused to accept that she could no longer climb and jump around as she used to. And fell and broke her back. We miss her.

Milan was featured again in April in the GBD post where I talked about how every balcony in the city seems to turn yellow when the sedum blooms. Even people who have no other plants on their balconies seem to have sedum - and I can´t claim to be an exception. I also talked about how many plants which are usually sold as
annuals in fact are far hardier than they seem, and do well as perennials - something I´ve picked up on again recently.

In May the balcony was at its best. It was also the month when I had a weekend in Barcelona, where I admired the way Gaudi´s architecture blended so well with the naturalfeatures of the Park Guell. It was also the month I wrote about the
Wollemi Pine, one of the Earth´s oldest living plants. It´s been around for 200 million years, but the living version was only recently discovered in Australia.

June saw me spending quite a lot of time in a local park, where I not only saw the lavender in bloom but also came across some dinosaur eggs. But perhaps the most interesting post was An Interview with Stuart of Blotanical, where he talked about setting up the site and his plans for the future.

July saw the end of the great Bill and Ben experiment, with the sad demise of Bill. And we were looking at Milan again with the post Guerilla Gardening in Milan.

In August we were on holiday at the sea. But apart from a few posts from there, I also wrote about Ten Reasons Why I Wouldn´t Be Without My Scissors And for the umpteenth time I wrote about the plants I´d lost to red spider mite. They hit late this year due to the cold, rainy spring, but made up for it with a vengeance when they did finally arrive.

September saw another interview - this time with Carol of May Dreams Gardens.

And I also inadvertently stirred up a hornet´s nest with the post Balcony Gardening - or Just Exterior Decorating. It gave me a chance though to write a follow up post which I´d been thinking about for a while : Form and Colour, Colour and Form

October had the Virginia Creeper on the canal showing off its glorious colours ...

But apart from that the autumn was a bit miserable, leaving me overworked, burnt out and in November with a bad back that had me writing about how not to shift containers around on the balcony.

I perked up a bit in December though, with the closest I think I´ll ever get to a rant about the way the EU has watered down its plans to combat CO2 emissions and therefore climate change. And of course there was the usual Christmas Quiz to finish the year.

And there goes 2008. What will 2009 bring? Who knows. But I do have plans. I never make New Year resolutions, but this year I have set some goals - some of them to do with the blog. So watch this space. I´ll be back soon.

But till then, to all of you ..

May 2009 see your seeds germinate, the flowers bloom copiously and your vegetable garden make you self sufficient. May the butterflies come to sip the nectar but lay their eggs elsewhere, and may the red spider mite just go away. A long, long way away.

Happy New Year !


F Cameron said...

Sue, what a wonderful reflection on 2008. Since I joined Blotanical late August, I had missed all of your earlier posts. So sorry about your little Benji (I read her story in your link).

Happy New Year!

kompoStella said...

hullo there Sue - i'll send you good wishes for 2009 as well, i hope you'll have a fabulous year. i certainly look forward to following you blog - changes or not ;-)

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

LOL, or you can go my route which is instead of being late, not doing a year in review at all! I'm sorry to read about Benji, she was soooo cute!
~ Monica

tina said...

I wish you a very merry New Year and may it be the best. I know about those spider mites as they got a few of my dwarf alberta spruces and my oh my-weren't they frustrating! I hope they do NOT visit your garden this year.

Chandramouli S said...

Sue, So perfect a review! When I tried mine, I was so confused as to how to put it and the end result was a mess, but I had to publish it all the same.
I see you had a wonderful year in 2008 and I wish you a more cheerful, bloomy, and greeny year this 2009!

Helen/patientgardener said...

What an interesting review of the year. I have done one as I couldnt get my head round it! I do enjoy reading your posts and seeing the amazing amount of things you manage to grow on your balcony. Best wishes for 2009

Jan said...

Hi Sue,
This is a really interesting post! I only came to Blotanical in mid-November so of course, I didn't know any of the things you wrote about. Had no idea about your interviews w/Stuart and Carol, and all the other fascinating info. and facts...
You sound like one very busy woman; one very 'determined' woman...even messing up your back over your plants! Sound like me...moving heavy pots, ouch:) I hope you are doing better now...I don't know how bad your back injury was;-(
I have a yard, but much of it is NOT conducive to a garden, so a lot of my plants are in pots on my deck. After reading your and other balcony gardeners notes, I now have some places to come when I need suggestions of what else I can grow--along with other helpful
I hope 2009 will be a wonderful and positive year for you and yours:)

PJ said...

Hi Sue

have a wonderful 2009, and I hope we both have success in getting rid of the scourge that is the red spider mite

Anonymous said...

The perfect time to make a first visit to a blog is during the New Year's Year-End Wrap-Up. I get the whole year in one post!
I'm amazed at the possibilities for a balcony -- I've never had one, so hadn't thought about it. But many of the issues are the same for people with yards. Mass plantings make such a big impact, and yard people sometimes hate to go that route, too, opting for variety. My vote: half mass, half variety.

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Hi Sue

I really liked the Guerilla Gardening piece back in July. Those Hollyhocks look great alongside the tram lines.

I look forward to your blog in '09!

Happy New Year

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the welcome message last month. Try and visit again. I hope they have fixed my blog link. I can see myself but apparently not everyone can.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

I hope your New Year's wish comes true for us all! I loved your year in review. It certainly looked full--and my, oh my! I fell in love with the lavender!

a said...

Sue, great review, I remember seeing my first Wollemi pine - when they were first released they were incredibly expensive (the tulips of the 20th century!) though I think this was to provide money for conservation, so while I was visiting Perth in 2005 a friend took me to see a new one in thier Botanic Gardens, locked in a cage to protected from theft or vandalism! It was great to see though.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year to you too, Sue. (I didn't even know that that plant flowered.)

Anonymous said...

Hello Sue,

Thats a very nice highlight of the year and well posted.

I am balcony gardener myself from Bangalore, India and regular visitor too.

Keep up your great work :) and stop by sometime @

Kerri said...

Sue, this was such an interesting wrap-up of the year, and I spent lots of time clicking your links. So sad about your sweet little Benji.
I was pleased to see the pics of your balcony garden. You do produce a lovely collection of containers.
Oh, your poor back. I can empathize with you on that one. I've done mine in several times..and it's NOT pleasant!! Especially when sciatica follows..which frequently happens to me. Ouch with a capital O!
Great catching up with you! I meant to do it much sooner.

sunhapol said...


Wish you'll have a great year this 2009. You have a good reflection of what you done last year. Best Regards Sue!


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