Another busy year 

Looking back over the last year, including garden highlights

Well what a year we’ve had at RHS Garden Harlow Carr. Every year is different in the garden and this one has been no exception to that rule.

Spring displays at RHS Garden Harlow CarrSpringing to life

We had a long, cold, dry spring and at times it felt like it was never going to warm up. Gardeners and visitors alike were shivering, however the bulb displays in beds and containers were revelling in the chilly weather. Their flowers lasted such a long time, a good couple of months, giving us all a cheery colourful display and bringing smiles to everyone’s faces.

The Kitchen Garden in summerGetting warmer

Summer was fairly average, and although we had some hot days these didn’t seem to be sustained over the summer weeks. However, we had some smashing evening openings in July when the atmosphere of the garden changes, with visitors bringing picnics, enjoying live music surrounded by a glorious backdrop of summer perennials.

The main borders in autumn at RHS Garden Harlow CarrThe end of the year

Autumn by comparison, did what it should. As the daylight hours shortened and the nights drew in, temperatures dropped and we had an exquisite display of colour on the trees and shrubs. Many were so vibrant they didn’t look real.

November was without doubt a very soggy month. We have a weather station monitoring the conditions here, and since 10 November we had only three days without rain. The weather station reliably informed us that we’d had 17cm (7in) of rain during that time, compared to 9cm (4in) last year. We didn’t really need confirmation of this as we knew that rain had pummeled the garden; but I love these sorts of statistics.

Garden highlights

So what of our highlights as the year draws to a close? Well our lovely rare breed chickens are doing well and laying attractive blue eggs. In the morning, before the gardens open, they go on little outings round the vegetable patch. Sometimes they venture quite far, but they all stay together and only occasionally rebel when they’re supposed to be returning to their run.

Colin the spider in the young explorers play areaThe young explorers play area was completed in time for the school holidays in July. Entering through the Wishing Gate you meet Colin the big wooden spider, who has totally adapted to being sat on and loved by many small children.

We have planted 60, 000 bluebells and snowdrops in big swathes in the woodland for all to enjoy come the spring (note to all squirrels reading: 'Keep off those bulbs')! All in all a busy, but good year in the garden.

So it only remains for me to wish you all a merry and joyous Christmas and Happy New Year.


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