2020, the year of little travel and much gardening…

As we all know, 2020 did not turn out to be the year we planned! It started out with extreme heat, bushfires and a massive hail storm. Lets just say that our garden did not look great during Summer. We lost plants and trees that had been going great guns for 15 years in our garden.

By mid-January our garden looked a like this….

The reserve across the road, despite not being burnt, looked scorched and gum trees were dying. Then there was the smoke. Our air quality was the worst in the world many days and everything was orange for days at a time. The poor alpacas weren’t happy 🙁

Come late February, and the end of Summer, and the weather had improved somewhat. The forty degree days were gone. The bushfires were finally out and things were getting back to normal, except the world had gone a little mad with Covid……..


Autumn, arrived somewhat belatedly in 2020. It was still rather hot through March and we were all a tad pre-occupied with looming lockdowns and Anto getting stuck in the UK on a work trip. By April, the weather had cooled, it had even rained a little and we were all stuck at home for lockdown 1.0 – home-school and all. The garden had started to recover a little and had plenty of time to spend in it!

Our dahlias had again performed well and were producing flowers bigger than Zinnia’s head, well into April!

With some rain our daisies and potted annuals were going great guns too…

By mid-April our forest pansy was showing it’s amazing Autumn colour, and the dogwood wasn’t far behind.

Late April and yep those dahlias were still going strong, loving the cooler weather!

By mid-May we had the first olives off our new north-deck olive trees (one of the only of our potted plants to enjoy the blistering Summer) and the Japanese maples were a glorious riot of colour. It’s always an amazing sight, and with nothing to do on weekends we had plenty of time to clean up all the inevitable fallen leaves!

Come the end of May and our tubs of flowers were still going strong, brightening up the shorter and cooler days.


Who said Winter is boring in a Canberra garden? It certainly wasn’t in 2020! We might have gotten a little bored during lockdown and spent a lot of time planting seeds and seedlings. The kids had a ball planting everything they could their hands on (often a challenge as everyone was spending their time in the garden and at garden shops it would seem). All through June we had plenty of colour from poppies the kids had planted and the first of our spring bulbs (anemones and ranunculus) poking their pretty heads up.

The bees were having a wonderful time with all our early flowering spring bulbs. We had plenty for them to visit!

Our jonquils and mini-daffodils usually make an appearance in Winter, letting us know Spring is on the way, but they were out in force in July. Definitely earlier than I have ever seen them before. Probably due to our rather mild Winter by Canberra standards and ample rain.

Also in July we had yet more Spring bulbs, poppies and pansies. Followed by the very early arrival of buds on our blossom trees. Making an appearance, late July. Several weeks earlier than normal.

Normally the mid to late August blossoms on our flowering plums, Manchurian Pear, almond, nectarine and peach trees heralds the imminent arrival of Spring. This time they teased us, with a good month of cold and dark still to go, but the colour and fragrance was a welcome distraction from our late hit of ‘actual’ Winter!

We had to give our blossom trees their annual haircut, which always makes for some lovely inside displays for a week or so. The mess they make is a bit epic, but they are too pretty to put in the compost!

August and the final month of Winter arrived, with more Spring bulbs (were any going to actually flower in Spring?) and more blossoms.

The blossoms were doing so well that we had to take the kids annual ‘under the flowering plum tree’ shot a couple of weeks early in mid-August, rather than around Anto’s birthday. It didn’t stop them from looking about 2 years bigger than the shot from the previous year!

By the last few weeks of Winter, you’d swear it was the middle of Spring, there was colour and Spring bulbs everywhere.


After the most amazing Winter garden we’d ever had (although hours of lockdown gardening paid off) I wasn’t sure Spring could beat it. Luckily we still had plenty of bulbs to come up and our established trees put on a pretty good show too.

After not having seen some of our bulbs like the tulips and muscari make an appearance for a couple of years due to lack of rain, 2020 was the year they came back. We had a never-ending stream of cut flowers in to brighten up the house and plenty of garden colour.

2020 was clearly a confusing year for gardens as well as humans…… Our many (now increasingly large) magnolia trees decided to finally flower in September. Usually they are done and dusted during Winter. They were so late they were simultaneously getting their leaves while still trying to flower!

September was definitely the month of colour with different flowers to brighten our day, pretty much every day! We had tulips, pansies, poppies, spring stars, anenomes, and the the last of the hyacinths and daffs.

Our blossom trees were towards the end of their run, but not before the final burst of colour from the almond and nectarines.

By the end of September we had dutch irises, our evergreen magnolias, the last of the deciduous magnolias, plenty of daisies and a mass of fresias…….

No need for the kids to buys me flowers from the markets, we had plenty to collect from the garden. Our arum lillies were out along with plenty of the Spring bulbs.

It was October, our pots were overflowing with flowers….. literally overflowing and the garden beds were as green as I’ve ever seen!

Another day, another bunch of flowers from the garden to brighten up the house!

The alpacas were definitely enjoying all the greenery, especially all the off-cuttings from our fruit trees getting their Spring haircuts…..

By mid-October the dogwood was in bloom and the last of the blossom trees in our front yard had also put on their show………

The poppies still hadn’t stopped flowering and our shrubs were all bursting into colour too. The only downside of the wet but colourful Spring, was the weeds. So many weeds and weekends spent weeding and pruning!

At least the garden looked good for all that time we were spending weeding! That and the hours of spreading new mulch. A task the kids love but aren’t all that good at doing cleanly 🙂

At least the trade-off for moving 5 cubic metres of mulch was less weeding for a few weeks and a pretty front yard!

As November rolled around and a certain young lady was about to turn 2, the garden was overrun with plenty of pretty flowers, although her namesake Zinnias and Delphiniums were still not in bloom. Our tritonia patch was taking over the yard, the poppies were still going strong and the peonies were about to burst into bloom.


It was December and the temperature was on the way up. The days were gloriously long…………. and we were wondering how long until the garden turned into a crispy mess once again as the rain dried up and the forty degree days were upon us. December was suspiciously kind, so much rain and not too many warm days. We still had plenty of green, and our Summer bulbs out in force to allow for more cut flowers for the house and plenty of our grasses flowering and fruiting.

Our water irises and waterlilies in the pond love the Summer heat and it was the first year we’d seen the iris in a number of years!

We finished off the very end of 2020 with the flowering of our Zinnia’s, or as our Zinnia calls them, her ‘me flowers’ 🙂

…… and that was 2020 presented by our garden! I can definitely thank both the rain and lack of ability to travel for contributing to it both looking so green and having so much time to make it look good and take photos of it 😉 We might be in for more of the same in 2021 😛

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