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chickens2014 was the year where I discovered the joy of growing crops (except squashes) from my own saved seeds; three characterful, mischievous chickens joined me at the allotment – and did wonders for my compost bin as well as my breakfasts. Floods in May were followed by a heatwave in July and a gorgeous September.

Yellow summer raspberries became my new favourite fruit, and I vowed to give Florence fennel one final try in 2015 (it always fails for me, flowering before it makes a bulb). Successes and failures, every one has been a joy and a learning curve. Thanks for sticking with me! Now it’s time to curl up by the fire and get plotting for 2015, catalogue in one hand, cup of tea in the other, by a roaring fire.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

PS: If you do fancy getting your hands dirty, here are my top 5 Yuletide gardening jobs:

  1. Deadhead flowering houseplants to keep them going for longer
  2. If you’ve got clay soil and it’s not too wet, burn off a few calories by digging over vacant areas in the vegetable garden
  3. Give apple trees and currant bushes a prune
  4. Don’t forget to keep feeding the birds
  5. And finally… get your orders in for new plants and seeds as early as possible to be sure of getting your pick of the best varieties

Or, for the ultimate in armchair gardening, here’s a why not browse through the results of to the International Garden Photographer of the Year – plenty of wonderful images to inspire you and bring hope for the coming year.

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