One year I set myself a task, to not only have each day, something growing in the garden, that was interesting (leaf/flower/seed/colour) but to also post a photo of it on Instagram. The Garden Photo Challenge was born on the 7th April 2017!
When I first told my husband of the Challenge I was setting myself, he was somewhat incredulous. This spurred me on to prove to him that it could be done. And to prove to everyone that even a small Garden can be interesting all year.
And so on 7th April 2017 I started posting on Instagram every day! Ok, I know, I started in the Spring, so it was relatively easy but it also challenged me, (and gave me the time too), to make sure that my garden could meet the challenge for the whole year!
So did I do it? Well I gave it my best shot, (Haa! Haa! No pun intended!) and 365 days later, on 6th April 2018 I posted the final photo of the year. I had managed to find something of interest in the Garden every day of the year. Even when we had snow……
Where to Find The Garden Photo Challenge Pictures
You can look over all the individual Photos I posted by clicking this link to my Instagram Account. I collated the pictures and created a Collage of photos for each week. You can find those Pictures on the links listed below:-
The Garden Photo Challenge Milestones
As I posted the photo’s each day, I was able to tick off some important milestones, as I worked my way towards the goal of completing the challenge. Of course the first milestone was when the first 100 days were completed. You can read how I felt about that one in the post I wrote for the occasion 100 Days of The Garden Photo Challenge
The next milestone was when I reached over half way through the year, and I published a post entitled 200 Hundred Days
I imagine like many who have set themselves a lengthy challenge, whether of time or distance, you do ‘hit a wall’ of questioning. Is it worth it? Will I manage it? Am I ever going to get there? Honestly, there were times when I really disliked it! Such a simple thing became quite burdensome when other tasks pressed in for my attention.
My year-long Garden Photo Challenge ended on the 6th April 2018.
The Result of The Year-long Challenge
As I worked my way through the year, I was constantly looking to see what I could photograph next. Much of the Garden had already been planted up, prior to the start of the Garden Photo Challenge. There wasn’t an huge amount of room to add more plants.
Choosing plants for the Garden
The challenge did teach me some important lessons though about choosing plants (including Trees, Bulbs etc). Before purchasing any further plants I did stop and consider how much ‘value’ the plant would bring to the garden. You can read about ‘How to Choose Plants’ in the post The Benefits of a Garden Challenge
I like my plants to work ‘hard’ within the layout of my garden. As we all need to do, if space is limited. On the whole it must have more than one attribute if it is to contribute real value to the garden.
Life after the Garden Photo Challenge
So was it a worthwhile exercise? Absolutely! I observed my garden in far more detail, and learnt things about it that I probably would never have seen, unless pointed out to me. I realised the importance of structure within the layout, of features that would be interesting, whatever the time of year. The weather conditions not only influence when we can use our Garden space but also how we view it.
Some plants gave of their best for far longer than I realised. Two shining examples were the delightful little Speedwell that flowered virtually all year. Its cheery little flowers delighting me, every time I went through the Garden gate.
And the other plant which gets my award for year-long interest was the Heavenly Bamboo – Nandina domestica. The evergreen leaves. The white buds and flowers that lasted for what seemed like ages. And then the red berries which cheered many a Winter day. Sadly, I have since discovered that they are extremely poisonous to Dogs. I have given one plant away, and another is going to need a good home. The third plant will be moved to a safe place away from inquisitive canine noses.
It took a surprising amount of time to get out of the habit of reaching for my phone to snap the plant for the day. I found myself looking at the garden and thinking”…ooh I could post that on Instagram for the Challenge!” Some days I do post photos from the garden there, and now you will also see other plants and gardens that catch my eye too. You can follow me on my Instagram account through using this link
Whilst many enjoyed and followed the Challenge from far and wide, the lessons I learned from the year will probably influence my gardening for the rest of my days.