Chickadee Gardens 2022: A Year in Review

A wind storm rages as I write. We had a freezing-rain Christmas holiday followed by 2.61 inches of rain Monday. Yep, more weather records. That's the rhythm around here; record everything, all year. Record dry, hot, wet, cold and windy. Nevertheless I garden on. In fact, I found while putting this post together (my favorite of the year) I did not seem to photo-document the perceived downfalls in the garden from 2022. There was more emphasis on the miracles and the beauty that exists side by side with extremities. Well, mostly.

I notice also from looking at former "year in review" posts that favorite vignettes and plants change. So much of my garden I feel I have already presented on this blog, so to avoid repetition I try to move on to something else that feels inspirational, be it the first arctostaphylos flower of winter or a tiny pollinator unseen to my eye but captured on a flower photograph. I wonder what 2023 holds for us and the garden, what weather records will be broken, what will thrive and what will perish, and how my bean crop will fare? Incredible, important things to ponder. Stuff that matters.

For today, however, I want to look back to capture the flavor of this past year at Chickadee Gardens. It's a long one as usual, so I recommend grabbing a cup of something wonderful (coffee, for me!) and come along on my garden journey.

JANUARY & FEBRUARY
The first two months are combined here because, frankly, I did not take one photograph last January. That's notable, surely. You see, I was disgruntled about the weather. Still, February counts. Here are sweet flowers of Arctostaphylos 'Sentinel', a plant to get the bumble bees moving even in winter. All of the arctostaphylos around us are wonderful and deserve celebration.

Hellebores are a quintessential winter flower. There are many fantastic cultivars out there, these are simply seedlings I dug up from Joy Creek Nursery gardens years ago. The dark foliage is rather stunning.

Hebes really stand out in the winter landscape. Left to right, Hebe 'Karo Golden Esk', H. anomola 'Purpurea Nana' (background, dark foliage which, by the way, had a bad round of verticillium wilt; two were removed, the third was moved), the silver blue-ish foliage on the right are Hebe pinguifolia 'Sutherlandii'.

Fatsia japonica 'Spider's Web' in the shady woodland garden. As it finally gains some height it stands out in a rather dark corner of the garden. Little moments such as this carry me through the dark, wet, cold months.

I potted up a great many strawberries in the greenhouse. These are 'Hood' and they sold out at the couple of pop-up plant sales we had. I also donated a bunch to the House of Dreams Cat Shelter plant sale, which I will do again this year. Being in the greenhouse, although unheated, is a treat in winter. It gets me outside without getting too terribly wet on a rainy day.

Spiky Yucca gloriosa 'Variegata' is another plant that adds a necessary zing to the winter garden, providing shape and texture in what is mostly a sea of browns. Yucca, agave and other spiky forms contrast beautifully with softer rounded shapes of hebe, for example.

MARCH
My dearest friend came for a visit in late March and as she's the queen of bouquets, I encouraged her to help herself to the garden's early spring bounty.

Chaenomeles x superba 'Hollandia' is a slow grower, but we got our first actual quince fruit this year, a rather exciting happening. Purchased six years ago or so from Gossler Farms Nursery. Gorgeous color.

Erica carnea 'Rosalie' and Agave neomexicana, and Rosemarinus officinalis 'Huntington Carpet' beginning to spill over the edge of the retaining wall as you step out of our front door. To have color and flowers this time of the year is incredibly rewarding. I often spy bumble bees on the heath on sunny winter days.

Ribes x gordonianum's two-toned flowers read as coral from a distance. I spy some small insect on this flower cluster, something I did not notice when taking the picture.

The garden begins to green up this time of the year and gets my blood pumping.  

Erythronium revolutum, our native trout lily, in the woodland garden. This is a fairly new introduction to my garden. My former boss Mike of Joy Creek dug up a bunch of small plants for me last year so hopefully we will soon have a good sized colony of this sweet native.

For a bit of blue in shady locales you can't beat Pulmonaria 'Benediction'. The color makes me swoon.

The vegetable patch still giveth. Kale is especially cold hardy and is delicious nearly year round. This is the time of the year when I really start dreaming of the summer vegetable garden and what goodies we will grow.


APRIL
Our best girl, our mascot, Frida the Speckled Sussex hen. We lost her and a few of her sisters to predation this year, hawks or eagles. Especially heart wrenching is the loss of an animal. We do all we can for our girls (and Sweet Pea the tom turkey), but you can't keep your eye on all of them all day. It happens. We did, however, adopt nine more hens so we are up to 18 and, wow, do they keep us busy (and laughing). In winter, their egg laying slows to a crawl but pretty soon they will be back at it and we'll have plenty of quiches in our future.

Buds of a columnar apple tree are a glorious sight. Unfortunately in April we had 8" of snow mid-month, very unprecedented, and the fruit trees suffered. Blossoms froze off, we had basically no fruit from most of our orchard. I took no photos of the snow, I was too heartbroken to see hebes flat on the ground as well as ceanothus and even arctostaphylos. Just too wet, too heavy, too late in the season. Most bounced back, gratefully, but there was a lot of damage that continues to show up even now.

April saw the start of FM's large spring project, replacing our rotting deck. FM finished the shown portion of the deck in May, and then finished the lower deck (behind him in the photo) in July. The prime redwood planks were stained gray and then coated with marine-strength clear coat. It is not slippery at all. With all of the rain this year, that's important. 

I also had a couple pop-up plant sales and donations. This lot went to the House of Dreams Cat Shelter plant sale. It was a good year for growing plants for sale and to do garden consultations/coaching, something I enjoy.

Spring scene with emerging foliage of deciduous trees and flowering shrubs.


MAY
There is something quite special about warm-ish overcast days in spring, the light gives a very particular sensation. Couple that with fresh foliage and a few wildflowers and it's about perfect.

Winter and spring yielded record rainfall, a fact with its issues. On the bright side of the coin, the Helianthemum 'Brilliant' and other cultivars had never been so floriferous. They seemed to really appreciate a little extra moisture in this, a well-drained sandy site.

The sweet white flowers are just one patch of dozens of Limnanthes douglasii, our native annual Douglas' meadowfoam. The orange in the background is Geum 'Totally Tangerine', a very rewarding perennial in what is an orange/hot pink area of the berm garden.

This year the Clematis recta 'Purpurea' was the best I've seen. Deep-colored foliage early on eventually changes to green tones. An upright clematis with white flowers, its dark foliage in a white flowered section of the berm garden definitely stands out.

Those heavy winter/spring rains were a boon for the shade garden. The plants seemed to soak it up and really accelerate growth in what has been a very tough environment to get anything established due to root competition from Doug fir trees. This competition would prove to be a huge issue later in the summer, but more on that later.

Another sweet patch of Limnanthes douglasii among Carex comans and fresh new foliage of Miscanthus sinensis 'Cabaret'. The wildflowers went for a very long time this year, eventually turning brown and disappearing all together leaving behind thousands of seeds.

Iris tenax, which popped up around the fire pit a few years ago, improves with age.

In May FM finished the deck which we are both really happy with. Great job, FM, biscuit for you!


JUNE
The sun came out mid-June and the garden warmed up rather quickly. This photo was taken standing in the orchard looking west towards the edge of the labyrinth garden. The "lawn" area where the robin stands is the area that turns brown about mid-June and is the site of the newest garden expansion.

Native goat's beard, Aruncus dioicus was especially pretty with extra spring rains.

At the top of the driveway it all looks especially lush in June. Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, our native kinnikinic spills over the retaining wall while Parthenocissus henryana, silver vein creeper, climbs up the support post.  

The edge of what I affectionately call the "meadow" transitions into a mixed garden with evergreen shrubs behind the cardoon. Pictured is our native checkermallow, Sildacea campestris (the pink flowers) with California poppies, Epilobium (Zauschneria) 'Solidarity Pink' not yet in bloom, grasses, herbs, and a whole host of wildflowers.

Agave bracteosa, Euphorbia rigida, Geranium renardii, Hebe p. 'Sutherlandii' and Hebe 'Quicksilver' under an Arctostaphylos 'Saint Helena' at the base of the deck. Since an Olearia lineata 'Dartonii' right in front of all of this fell over in the April snow and was relocated, more light gets into this little corner. These particular plants are quite happy about it.

In the center of the labyrinth garden many sun lovers begin to bloom.

The edge of the labyrinth garden with many hot pinks and oranges in the flower department.

Digitalis lutea among other sunny flowers edge a path through the labyrinth.


JULY
Flowers in our garden come a little at a time throughout the year, July being a high point. In the hot pink and orange section of the berm garden a Penstemon 'Firebird' (although I think it was mislabeled) with Diplacus aurantiacus 'Jeff's Tangerine' in the background. The white bottle brush flowers are Itea virginica 'Henry's Garnet', which will have amazing autumn foliage color in a few months.

Acanthus spinosus, a spiny form of bear's breeches continues to grow larger and more spectacular every year. Dorycnium hirsutum foreground left, hairy canary clover, is a great dry garden plant. Plants on this path are now in need of a trim as they are closing in on the path, even though it's easily 6' wide. 

The edge of the labyrinth garden in late afternoon light. All of these are drought-adapted and most look pretty great year-round.

Agave neomexicana with Androsace lanuginosa blooming on the left and an opuntia and liatris blooming behind it all in the berm garden.

Lobelia tupa gets larger every year (this photo is taken at the top of a slope where only the flowers are visible). This specimen is about 6' tall and as wide, it is a handsome plant right up until the first frost. Hummingbirds covet these red tubular flowers, there are sky battles above it regularly throughout the summer months.

Romneya coulteri, Matiija poppy with its charming flowers in varying stages. This is a plant that I tried a few times in other locations before one finally took. The successful specimen is in mostly full sun (the shadow of a large maple passes by in the afternoon) on a berm with poor to average soil.

Our handsome boy Hobbes enjoying warm pavers. This kitten at heart is 17 years old, so anything warm suits him. One of the biggest joys we share is taking him and his sister Annie out in the garden together to share silly moments like this.

AUGUST
Arctostaphylos silvicola 'Ghostly' appreciates what is now, by August, incredibly hot and dry conditions. It took several years for it to grow to any considerable size and to look this healthy. My guess is that it does not like being crowded, which it is due to cistus and ceanothus growing faster than it has.

Just a shot of the veggie garden, the area where we sometimes sit in the evening with Hobbes and Annie after dinner on summer evenings. The veggie garden was a challenge in spring due to the incredible amount of rain and cold weather. I had crop failure of my onions and shallots and had trouble getting broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower to take off, but it finally did after a few replantings. We will continue planning and planting next year with optimism and will share the bounty with friends and family. I'd love to sell some produce too along with plants I grow in the greenhouse next year. Goals. I'd love a small farm stand but our street is not suited for one. We'll have to do some creative thinking.

Also in August, FM recycled the wood from the deck to make raised beds for a new crop of raspberries, the old ones died from root rot this spring. With raised beds there is better drainage and with super wet winters and springs, raspberries could use a little extra help. We haven't given up. He built two rather large beds at 16' x 4' plus a third at 10' x 4' so we can try growing potatoes next year.

Under the oak tree looking down towards the orchard and vegetable garden. August light is often warm with an almost orange tinge to it. I love it.

Many of the warm weather grasses are in full form this time of the year and asters, teucrium and Verbena bonariensis join right in. This is a transition area between the "meadow" and the labyrinth garden. The silvery plant of the left is Teucrium fruticans, an excellent evergreen plant that I never water and can be pruned hard or shaped like its cousin Teucrium chamaedrys (foreground, purple/pink flowers). Both are at the top of my list for easiest and most forgiving plants that have had no issues with either ends of our weather extremes.

August is sunflower month. We never bother planting them any longer for they serendipitously show up in the best places in the veggie garden. Thank you, birdies! 

Looking through the branches of Oleara lineata 'Dartonii', an evergreen large shrub from New Zealand that also does very well with our extreme weather seasons. I have pruned the lower branches off to be able to see through it, creating a canopy and making more room to plant underneath it. Its leaves are narrow and silver and evergreen - it's just so pretty and tough. I will admit that I do have to keep the lower branches cleaned up or it fills in quickly. I do this a couple times a year, so it's not zero maintenance if you want this look. 

More of the orange-tinged atmosphere on a hot August morning.

My little buddy here is a chestnut backed chickadee having a bath. They love this tiny birdbath above all others (I think we have some 15 water stations throughout the garden for wildlife), so it's a ritual to fill it almost daily in summer. I think this is their favorite because they can grip the rough ceramic surface, it's really shallow and also has a lot of vegetative cover close by to hide in. Purchased at the Backyard Bird Shop years ago.

SEPTEMBER
By September, the heat and dry started to take a toll on all of us. It was just so arid that whatever water we gave the garden seemed to disappear before it even hit the ground. The garden in general really started to look ratty in areas and had me seriously replanning parts of it to adapt to this type of weather. Here, however, in the middle of the labyrinth, these plants all did very well. The golden flower is Solidago rugosa 'Fireworks', a fantastic pollinator plant. It adds warmth, color and pollen and as you walk by the buzzing is audible. The Salix eleagnos var. angustifolia center left is surprisingly tolerant of its dry location.

At the edge of the labyrinth garden, one of the hottest and driest of our property. The "grass" (weeds and field grass, really) has been dormant since late June but the rest of the plants fare very well on low water in well-drained soil on a south facing slope. There are arctostaphylos, hebes, fescues, agaves, ozothamtnus, eriogonum, diplacus and others in there.

This view is looking east towards the labyrinth, meadow and other dry gardens. The tree in the foreground, right is Cornus nuttallii, our native dogwood, that has looked healthier in years past. It was a rough year for it, many of its leaves turning brown and dropping in September, weeks before it normally happens. There was no autumn color for it, either. It is pretty stressed out.

The view out of our front door has a few water-lovers. Although difficult to tell in this photograph this is a sloped area that flattens out and is fronted by a retaining wall. That means this flat area stays wet most of the year, so Hesperantha coccinea is very happy here, as is Fuchsia speciosa and Canna musafolia.

September is the beginning of aster season. One of my absolute favorites is this Aster ericoides 'First Snow', a short in stature but incredibly floriferous plant loved by pollinators.

This was the extent of our apple harvest this year; as mentioned earlier the April snow did away with a lot of fruit blossoms on all our fruit trees. We were happy to have any. We made and canned applesauce this year even with this small harvest, which is quite tasty. We are crossing our fingers for a better crop next year.

As the afternoons wind down in September the shortening day-length becomes more obvious.

OCTOBER
The dry season continues in October with record hot days in the 80's. These and many other plants love it, however, my watering arm hated it.

Case in point - the shade/woodland garden, as mentioned earlier, could not be watered enough this summer. I'm talking daily - and it's a stretch of garden that is the better part of 200' long and 20' wide at its widest. Watering by section, it seemed pointless as it all went to the stressed out tree roots before understory perennials got their fair share. By the time I reached one end the one which I started with needed more. Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty', despite buckets of water, would not return to her former glory. Just too dry with so many water hogs surrounding her. Hydrangeas in this area flagged every single day. Not everything looked awful, sarcococca and Vaccinium ovatum, for example, were not phased in the least.

Mid-day heat in October. The dry hot weather continued on with seemingly no end in sight. While I love summer and the warmth, we were so exhausted from taking care of two acres in a drought and keeping certain plants on life support alive with daily watering that I was cursing it all. I needed a day off, an afternoon off, any kind of break. This garden is primarily a dry garden, made to deal with our dry summers, but these past few years of intense summer heat have taken their toll even on plants that never required summer water before. Some plants were just outright dying - never mind looking terrible - so a big rethink was forming in my head. The Great Autumnal Rearrange would be ruthless this year to save my sanity next year. More on that later.

Silphium perfoliatum, while its foliage was long gone, the stems provide a few more months of interest. They are hollow stems too, so perhaps some insects overwinter in them, another reason I leave them. I simply stripped off the leaves with a gloved hand - it took a total of about five minutes. Well-spent time for me.

Fennel umbels in the veggie garden attracting lots of flying activity.

Just an interesting point of view through the labyrinth garden.

One pretty plant that asked nothing from me even during the driest, hottest times is Muhlenbergia rigens, our West Coast native deer grass. It's definitely a warm weather grass meaning those glorious flower spikes don't emerge until late in the season but it's so worth the wait. The basal foliage is evergreen (though I do cut them back in early spring to refreshen them) and the spikes sparkle in the sun. More of this in my life would be a good thing.

Phlomis russelliana pom poms with Santolina virens flowers, smaller pomp poms at its feet. Both plants are very drought-adapted, the santolina being an evergreen sub shrub while the phlomis has evergreen basal foliage. The brown colors are quite attractive this time of the year right through winter.

October is, of course, the season of the squash. These Winter Luxury pie pumpkins make the best pies, cakes, custard, breads - ask anyone who has tried them. I always grow way too many of these so hit me up next October if you want one. Delicata and butternut squashes are also favorites, I'm just on the last of the squash right now (late December). So good for soups, roasted, curry, you name it. Very dense and nutrition rich, they are some of my favorite foods. I'm lucky to have the space to grow them.

NOVEMBER
Autumn color doesn't really arrive here until November and I am lucky enough to not only have a lot in my own garden but to have surrounding neighborhood trees that are full of rich tones. Here a pretty Quercus hypoleucoides, silver oak is backed by some outstanding gold colors. By the time November rolled around we finally had rain and cooler temperatures; it was outright cold, actually. The transition period of autumn is so short-lived, it seemed like about two weeks tops before launching right into unpleasant winter weather.

Berberis jamesiana, a wickedly sharp-thorned huge shrub gets better with age. The berries start out a pale green yellow then morph to this. The foliage also turns pretty tones of gold before dropping in late December. Small songbirds really love hanging out in this shrub, they use it as a landing pad between the sunflower feeder and larger trees above. The 2" thorns must serve as some layer of protection.

Japanese maples - Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku' specifically - adds a real punch to my silvery-green dry garden. They actually fare quite well, they were one of the few plants that was here when we bought the property and we have loved having them. Muhlenbergia rigens flower spikes in the foreground.

Our native Spiraea betulifolia var. lucida has incredible autumn color plus sweet, clean white flower clusters in early summer. A small shrub at only a few feet tall at maturity, it is one I recommend for low maintenance and at least three seasons of interest.

Frothy autumn meadow with Amsonia hubrichtii and Stipa arundinacea  (syn. Anemanthele lessoniana). Old allium flowers add a little contrast. The asters are still going in the meadow though out of frame. Birds love this part of the garden and are seen all winter popping around, I assume looking for cover, eating insects and seeds. I leave all of this until early spring then it's time for a good clean up.  

Golden autumn

Itea virginica 'Henry's Garnet', the same plant photographed in July with white pipe cleaner flowers has the richest color in autumn.

As rain did show up in November the main event for me was to put into place the action plan for The Great Autumnal Rearrange. This included planting a new garden bed that was formerly dormant grass/clover for at least five months of the year. The new area is outlined in rope in this photo. I moved and divided a rather large clump of Eriophyllum lanatum (Oregon sunshine, a great sun-loving native) to this area as well as planted Teucrium chamaedrys and Dorycnium hirsutum with some Madia elegans and other native wildflower seeds. It is an extension of our labyrinth garden and since this area is generally a wasteland we thought we would put it to good use for pollinators. We look forward to watching it fill in.

This photo represents a bunch of changes, though difficult to see. I cut out a corner of the field grass to add Salvia 'Celestial Blue' and took out all the Rudbeckia hirta in the labyrinth. I also removed most of a Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' as it was taking over. All of these plants were relocated to the chicken yard where the soil is denser and holds water better. I also moved Helenium 'Mardi Gras' as it was unhappy where it was. Where holes needed to be filled I did so with Diplacus aurantiacus, a variety of yucca and an agave or two. These should thrive in this hot dry site. In the shade garden all the hydrangeas are either removed (potted up for sale) or cut back really hard. They will be replaced with Vaccinium ovatum and sarcococca species. I find that as I remove unhappy plants I tend not to replace them as there is so much plant material out there already. The visual pause the hole creates is welcome, it allows for the stars of the show to shine such as the now-maturing arctostaphylos sprinkled throughout the garden. There are a lot of other changes I addressed to help with extreme weather in the future, I crammed in a summer's worth of changes I wanted to make in a matter of two weeks.

DECEMBER
Oh, figs, how you elude me. Pretty to look at, not sweet at all. I have had some good ones, so not all was lost. We have had snow and freezing rain and flat out ice this month, none of which I photographed. Needless to say the ice did a bit of damage but overall we were spared. A quiet month in the garden, not much is going on but a few moments here and there were photo worthy.

Oranges of Carex testacea in winter really shine against broader foliage.

The center of the berm garden still holding its own in mid-December. The Phlomis russelliana in the foregeround was a volunteer. 

Color surprises from Callicarpa 'Profusion' with yellowing leaves of native hazels behind.

Fairy land woodland mushrooms are a welcome sight.

As December is also a month of giving, earlier this summer I made bird houses out of gourds we grew last year, they take nearly a full year to dry and cure. These are gifts for friends and family, I donated a bunch to the House of Dreams Pretty Kitty Craft Bazaar this year as well. They are a joy to make.

We grew Oaxacan green and Peruvian black corn successfully this year, it was dried and ground into corn meal to give as gifts. It makes incredibly tasty corn bread.

I also made salve using beeswax from our hive and calendua-infused olive oil, flowers from the garden of course. It was all labor intensive but an absolute joy to put together. This photo is from last year when we also had luffa sponges we grew on the farm, this year the weather didn't cooperate. I'll try next year again.

December is about looking at small things for me, little moments of moss and berries, mushrooms and leaves. If the weather holds it is a most enjoyable time as I can relax without too many chores (chickens are constant, feeding wild birds and hummingbirds is constant). It's a time to begin planning next year's veggie garden (hoping for luffa gourd success!) and to watch chickadees hang out with ruby crowned kinglets. 

At the end of the year, however challenging, I am grateful for the garden and my time in it. I am very lucky to live this simple life which I cherish. I hope you too find joy in nature and that the year ahead will be a healing one for us all.

Happy New Year from all of us at Chickadee Gardens

Comments

  1. So great to hear you close out the year on a high note. Judging from the photos, there was lots of beautiful successes to cheer you on despite the extreme weather. That salix in the labyrinth reminds of of Acacia iteaphylla -- I bet I comment on it every time you feature it! I'm thinking it would love my coastal rain. Thanks for the review, there's lots to learn from. Happy new year!

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    1. The salix - yes - it has that feel about it but is totally hardy for us. It would probably love your coastal rain, give it a go! It's in the very center of the labyrinth - in other words it has pride of place. I did prune it up a little to give a canopy look but no other maintenance. Happy New Year to you and yours, Denise!

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  2. Your garden and your magazine/book-worthy photos are joys to behold, Tamara. I always read your posts with my Sunset Garden Book at my elbow, checking what might make it in my climate that I haven't already tried. I look forward to seeing your new garden area evolve. And I'm beyond impressed by all the work you put into making gifts and food-stuffs from materials in your garden. Best wishes for a healthy, happy and productive new year!

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    1. *blush* gosh, you are too kind, Kris! What a compliment, I am humbled. I too am looking forward to watching the new garden bed evolve - the days of adding new garden areas have slowed to a crawl so it's nice to have this baby garden to watch. Happy New Year to you and yours as well, Kris! Cheers.

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  3. I don't know how you do it, put together such a gorgeous and thoughtful post with so many fantastic photos. As always I am in awe of what you and the FM accomplish.

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    1. Gosh, thank you Danger, you humble me! I will admit this post took me a while to put together but I love doing it, it's a kind of end-of-year therapy for me I suppose. I'm in awe of what YOU accomplish, my dear! Happy New Year and yes - would love to see you next year! Cheers

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  4. Anonymous10:01 AM PST

    A rollercoaster ride of a post, for me at least, going through a years worth of gardening and weather: no records breaking in the year ahead please.
    I adore the quince's bright blooms on bare wood, and Helianthemum 'Brilliant' exuberance made my heart sing. I hope FM wasn't too sad about the Hydrangea removal, I remember he liked them, and I agree about leaving some 'holes' for the eye to rest.
    I'm excited to see how the new bed/s will take form in the coming year.
    I am very impressed with your handy work: from gourds to corn meal and salve, and canning that you mentioned in the past. (All excellent posts' topics).
    I'd been happy with just the photo of Hobbs, (I wish I could rub his belly), may you get to love him for a long time to come.
    Have a wonderful New Year. I hope it's all you dream of.
    Chavli

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    1. Hi Chavli, yes - gratefully FM is okay with hydrangea removal, he understands.

      Thank you for your kind words, Hobbes wishes you could rub his belly, too! It's very rubbable. Happy New Year to you and yours, may it be blessed with lots of love and gardening.

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  5. So lovely reading this; you are always inspiring. Much love and happy New Year to you and the FM, my friend. xoxo S

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    1. Aaah, merci mon ami - Happy New Year to you and Miz G! Sending hugs and wishes for a wonderful, love-filled 2023.

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  6. What a treat to spend some time this morning reading this post. And, yes, a cup of coffee was at hand. But I've also been making notes about plants to consider for our garden. You are inspiring!

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    1. Thank you Linda! Ooh, what is on your radar to add to your fabulous garden this year? Would love to know! Happy New Year!

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  7. A lovely recap of a challenging year. There were lots of highs and some lows but over all the garden (and it's gardener) did very well. Let's hope 2023 is a bit kinder. Happy New Year

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    1. Happy New Year to you and yours, Elaine! Yes, let's hope for a kinder year.

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  8. Anonymous4:34 PM PST

    A banner year despite the challenges (have become accustomed to seeing such miracles in Chickadee Gardens). We saw a flock of robins 40 or so strong in a field on our walk yesterday. Can spring be far behind? A pleasant thought as we hunker down to watch the rain fall.
    rickii

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    1. Wow, Rickii! That's quite a site! 40 robins at once? I love seeing large groups of birds like that. Well, I'm thinking we have a few more snows to go before spring is here, but I admire your hopefulness! xo

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  9. I love the concept of 'A year in review' post. If I hadn't taken a break from blogging over the last few weeks, I might have done the same. Your Arctostaphylos 'Sentinel' is looking lush. Ours has thinned out over the years, allowing us to see all that beautiful bark. No blooms yet this January, but I can see they are on their way. That's also a beautiful color on the Chaenomeles - I like those clear, true reds more than the orangy-red varieties. Love the idea of growing/making gifts. I always struggle to figure out what to give.

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    1. You could still do a year in review, just skip a month ;)

      Any posts you publish are a treat. Sentinel has been an interesting arcto in that its growth habit is all over the place. I suppose that makes it more interesting? That Chaenomeles color is why I fell for it - got it at Gossler Farms several years ago. Swoon...such a good one. Color shows up from miles away, too.

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