The final post of 2020 from the Moosbach Garden/Garden Pictures of Summer

I often find myself , in the depths of Winter, longing for those glorious days of Summer when the garden is full of wonderous flowers and is teeming with wildlife. I think, as humans, we always want what isn’t readily accessible. In the heat of Summer I long for the cool of Winter and in the Winter I long for warmth but the contrast is what gives one hope, something to look forward to.

Every gardening year is unique

And so it should be, it is stagnation that is our downfall, we all strive for that elusive something, it is what has driven mankind. How many gardeners try year after year to successfully grow a plant that isn’t suited to the garden, to the soil, to the aspect, to the Winters. We endeavour, against seemingly unsurmountable odds and sometimes we shrug our shoulders and admit defeat. As gardeners we make mighty plans of what we are going to do differently next year but we often forget that mother nature has her own plan. The life of the gardener is to plan, to strive for perfection, to grow a more beautiful garden than last year, to produce better crop yields but sometimes the cards are stacked against you and you have to think that maybe next year is better. Every gardening year is a story of successes and failures, of moments of wonderment and awe at the beauty of a flower, at the comforting drone of bees and somehow feeling that you are making a difference.

Symbiosis is self-preservation

As I get older I am becoming a more and more committed environmentalist. I’m not even sure that I can call myself an environmentalist, my sins against nature are too numerous, but I am trying. I often wonder what would happen if we all tried, could we really make a difference to local economies, to the environment. Could we slow down or even reverse global warming and prevent the extinction of yet more untold species?

I wish I had the self-discipline to be 100% committed to the saving of the planet but isn’t that the crux of the problem? We are all so used to getting what we want and are not prepared to compromise, to give up what we want, even if that means that we destroy the planet. When I was looking through my photo library to select pictures for this article I was reminded of how beautiful nature and this planet is, my inner Buddhist reminds me that every plant, insect and animal has its place and has a right to be. I know that I need to do more, that will have to be my New Years resolution. For in saving the planet we are saving ourselves.

The power is in your hands and mine

I have written before about the power that we have as consumers and it is so true. If you are waiting for governments to change laws and save the planet then you will be waiting too long and have left it too late. Look at Greta Thunberg, now there is a person who has raised her head above the parapet but she cannot save the planet on her own. She needs us to step-up and so does the planet.

We already grow a large proportion of the fruit and vegetables that we consume here in the Moosbach Garden. We love it, no chemicals, no road miles and always in Season. Yes, we do preserve much of our own crops for the Winter months but the carbon footprint is minimal. I am going to make a commitment, to you, to myself and to the planet. I am only going to buy produce that has been produced locally, that is in season and that has no plastic packaging, if you like let’s call it environmental shopping. If we change our buying habits then companies will stop producing food in environmentally unsound packaging, if we only buy locally produced items we help to support local farmers and communities.

Here in the Moosbach Garden, we are spoilt. we have enough space to grow vegetables and fruit but not everybody has that luxury, perhaps in towns and cities we need more allotments and community gardens. I think that community gardens are a great way to get exercise, to meet new people, to feed your soul and to ensure good mental health.

What has 2020 taught me?

Well, it has shown me what a fragile and precarious state we are in as a species, we are too dependent upon the import of food and how dependent we have become on supermarkets. Many more people have starting growing their own herbs, salad and vegetables out of a fear that they will not be available or too expensive. Whether the fear is driven by COVID 19 or Brexit is unclear, perhaps it is both but it is a wakeup call. We need to teach our children where food comes from, how to grow it and instil an understanding of the environment, of conservation and of kindness, not just to our fellow human beings but to wildlife and the planet. Teach our children the peace that comes from the non-immediate, from the anticipation of food and seasons to come, of shared experiences with friends and that imperfection is normal and not to be rejected. Above all we should not be focussing on our differences but on what we have in common and how we can help and impower each other. I wish you all a healthy, happy and fulfilled 2021. For those who have lost loved ones, my deepest condolences. This pandemic will come to an end, the sun will shine again and we will heal out hearts and our bodies.

The In-between time

It’s a funny old time, that period between Christmas and New Year when we are supposed to lay dormant and do as little as possible. It many ways it is a gift that should be treasured but for many of us whose lives revolve around the hectic demands of “The Job” it can be challenging.

I have another week to go before I return to work and if I am honest I miss the routine that a working life dictates. This last year has been a hectic one with studying, exams, dealing with 50 plus emails a day, untold numbers of telephone calls and an ever-growing to do list. I really need to work on my life-balance. I will go the the corner of the garden and give myself a jolly-good talking to later.

Walks in the snow

Walks in the snow can be reviving, feeding the soul and providing the body with much needed exercise. I have to admit that our border collie “Luna” is always much more enthusiastic than me. She reminds me, at times. of Mr Schofield, my secondary school geography and Physical education teacher. She just needs a hockey stick to smack the backs of our legs for not making more of an effort and not running at a speed deemed appropriate. I secretly mock her comedy ears as she runs (I thinks that she suspects, a dog can say a lot with a look). Yesterday, I decided to take a different walk from the dog/PE instructor and have some alone time and it was lovely to me submerged in my own thoughts.

We have had quite a bit of snow over the last few weeks and we awoke on Christmas morning to a fresh covering of snow which has transformed our area into a magical Narnia-like world. Please note Mr Tumnus was nowhere to be seen but it was reminiscent of the story as the snow was melting, the tricking of mountain streams could be heard and it was evident that the Evil Queen was no more. It has to be said that I am definitely a Spring and Summer person, I am happiest when the plants are flowering, the bees are busily buzzing around the garden collecting nectar and birds are rushing around finding food to feed their ravenous broods. I turn into “The Grinch” around Christmas time and no amount of inducement will persuade me that it’s lovely and we’ll have such fun, maybe I should hibernate like a bear and re-appear in acceptable society when it’s all over.

What I do admire in the Winter months is natures calm acceptance of this quiet period when nothing much is happening. As the snow melts and the soils begins to warm, the plant life doesn’t get all English and say “oh look there’s a bit of sun let’s put on some shorts”, instead it bides its time and awaits for a prolonged period of warm weather before venturing forth. I have to admit to looking for signs of swelling plant buds, I know, of course, that we have another 3 months of Winter before life returns to the garden but I cannot help myself.

Such lofty plans for next years garden

The internet is awash with enticing offers and my inbox is full of emails tempting me to order wonderous perennials and here in the Moosbach Garden we always dream big. As I have said before, gardens take time, first is the hard-work creating new areas (terraces in our case), digging new beds and planting new trees and shrubs and then the waiting game. Trees, shrubs and plants need time to establish to get their roots in the soil before they really start growing. I read a book once about an English garden and the creator of the garden said ” I wish we had planted more trees and hedges in the first year” and it is so true. We have Magnolia trees that were planted 5 years ago and they are only now beginning to grow in earnest. We are growing more Dahlias and Delphiniums in 2021 and they work really well with our ever increasing number of David Austin roses. I don’t think that my loves of roses will ever fade (unlike the blooms) and every year we add new varieties to our garden. For me the zenith of the gardening year is that special time in early June when all of the roses flower for the first time. This year we are adding a nature garden, where we are encouraging natural wild flowers and grasses, more dense planting of steep areas to create more intimate and secluded garden areas and the new hydrangea and rose gardens should come into their own. Our garden terrace will become more of a sales area where we will have our wide assortment of wonderful David Austin roses that are for sale and we shall be starting with a few hand selected perennials in our shop as well.

Who knows what 2021 will bring but we have to fill our hearts with hope and positivity

It is fair to say that 2020 has been a very challenging years globally and for many people younger than myself (that’s the majority of the population) it is the first time when hardship and restrictions have been experienced. It is so hard not to feel down-hearted by it all but we have to believe that this is a temporary period of our lives, that the sun will come out again and we can start returning to normal, whatever that is.

The power of positivity is a wonderous thing and laughter really is the best medicine. A very dear friend of mine is feeling very down after months at home where all the projects possible in a small garden have been completed. I think that you can only watch so much television before your brain is turned to mash potatoes. I will tell you what I told them, it is a very difficult situation that we all find ourselves in but every cloud has a silver-lining. Why not use all of this time to learn something new, there are so many free resources on the internet. I think it does several things, it engages the brain, it gives a sense of purpose and add new skills and knowledge for the future. For me, everyday is a school day, it’s part of my evolution and one day I will emerge from my chrysalis as a beautiful butterfly. And please spare a thought for people in your community who might be alone right now, sometimes a telephone call can be a lifeline, even if you don’t solve world peace.

So now a little something to tempt you

We have increased our range of wonderful David Austin roses that we have for sale and we now ship products as well. We will be continuing with Picnics in the Moosbach Garden and overnight stays will be available (Corona permitting) but hey we have to hope that this pandemic is over soon – right?

So all of our roses, rose feed and vouchers for picnics and overnight stays can be found by clicking here.

As I look out of the window I can see that it has started snowing again, so I am off to flick though catalogues of plants that I really don’t need but will probably buy and pretend that Spring is starting next week. If you have any gardening questions please send then via email to