If there's one thing that I can say came good in 2009, it was the soil.
Over the years I've gone to considerable effort trying to improve both its structure and pH, adding horse manure by the sackload, barrowloads of compost , leafmould and practically anything that I think might give it some benefit.
It's good stuff now. I'm really pleased that the pH is now in a range which is more suitable for roses. It's the roses that prompted me to really improve the soil. It was thin, unloved earth when I first arrived here. The pH at that time read at about 7.5 or so, too limey or 'sweet' to get really good rose blooms. Not so now, at about 6.8 the soil is moving in the right direction which I'm sure was a major contributor to 2009 being a 'good year for the roses'.
Having good soil does bring its problems. I never understood the wisdom of planting woody herbs, or sub shrubs such as lavender at the feet of roses. Sure enough as a pairing the aesthetics are spot on. In fact my favourite is Nepeta, Its just that all these plants actually benefit from a little neglect. Too rich an environment and they don't bloom too well, but roses, heavy feeders right? You take my point.
I guess it's all about balance. I neglected Geranium 'Johnsons blue' and Campanula 'Elizabeth' and they took off, simply romped away.
I will incorporate a bit of compost into this little bed later in the winter however. I mean, there's neglect and then there's neglect, so I'll not divorce myself from all responsibility.
The red rose, 'La sevillana' responded to a little earth TLC. I can honestly say that this is the most floriferous it has ever been. Just add horse manure and stand back.
So if there's one thing that 2009 really highlighted for me, it was the wisdom of working a good soil.I say working loosely. I never dig. I simply scatter or mulch and the worms and beetles do the rest.
So anyway, I wish you all a prosperous, healthy, happy and peaceful 2010.
May your gardens bloom and your compost be alive!