Reasons to be cheerful in 2010:

1. It’s so bloody cold at the moment we’re sure to have a lovely warm spring. (I hope the gardening gods are taking note).

2. I’m going to Borneo in March. (yay!)

3. Against all predictions, the Chelsea Flower Show is looking like it’s going to be a corker this year.

4. We’re all still here! I wonder what we’ll get up to…

Reasons to be a bit apprehensive in 2010:

Say it quietly….

I’m going to be moving house…. probably.

Yeah, I know. Scary. The “probably” is because from where I’m sitting at the moment, the chances of getting someone to agree to buy our slightly dog-eared (and dog-haired) not to mention small-children-soiled semi, and at the same time finding something that’s a) ridiculously cheap, b) stunningly beautiful and c) satisfactory not only to me but also to hubby and small people seem vanishingly small. But anyway, I shall be sharing every terrifying twist and turn with you in mind-numbing and gruesomely gory detail through the year, since of course I’m looking not for a house, but for a garden. But don’t tell my hubby that.

Now, it has come to my notice that I made the advent calendar just too damn difficult, as I haven’t had a single correct answer. So I’m going to go the other way now and make it just pathetically easy by giving you the answers to what’s behind the windows. I shall then sit back and wait for the deluge. Once you’ve unravelled the anagram, send me the name of the prize (three words, two of them a well-known designer, you know the drill) plus the plant genus I’m looking for (one word) and if you’re first off the mark you can have a nice late Christmas present from me.

So: with the letters you need highlighted in bold, here are the answers to the 2009 Garden Bloggers’ Advent Calendar:

1. Rus in Urbis (http://www.rusinurbis.com/)
2. The Urban Gardener (the-urban-gardener.blogspot.com)
3: Urban Wild Plants (urbanwildplants.blogspot.com/)
4: Spook (of course): the Sock’s adorable if mischievous kitten
5: Another pussycat: this time Pushkin from Victoria’s Backyard
6: The Inadvertent Gardener (http://www.theinadvertentgardener.com/)
7: The Artists Garden (www.artistsgarden.co.uk/)
8: One of the many Chilean guavas to turn up at Mark Diacono’s rather gorgeous Otter Farm (http://www.otterfarm.co.uk/)
9: Look closely and you’ll see VP of Veg Plotting fame
10: Ryan’s Garden (ryans-garden.blogspot.com)
11: A Digestive biscuit: its merits as the perfect dunker are discussed at length during Encounters with Remarkable Biscuits.
12: The Fat Rascal, one of this year’s prizewinners at the Emsworth Village Show (emsworthvillage2009.blogspot.com)
13: I wanted the name of the blogger for this one: it was of course the inimitable Arabella Sock (sea-of-immeasurable-gravy.blogspot.com).
14: This competition taught me that garden bloggers have a lot of cats, but also a lot of amphibians: this one is Nina the Lizard from Plants are the Strangest People. I appear to be the only garden blogger to admit to having a dog.
15: In the Toad’s Garden (toads.wordpress.com)
16: The Garden Monkey (thegardenmonkey.blogspot.com)
17: Ros Badger (http://www.rosbadger.blogspot.com/)
18: The Mini-White Cucumber, star of many an unaccountably violent film at Cleve West’s blog Tilth and Tillage
19: The Inelegant Gardener (inelegantgardener.blogspot.com)
20: Tricky, this one: it’s the Nasturtium from Esther’s original blog Esther in the Garden.
21: The greenhouse is called Wendy, she lives at Silvertreedaze, but she is of course owned by the wonderful Nigel Colborn.
22: The Patient Gardener (patientgardener.wordpress.com)
23: The multi-award-winning Blogging at Blackpitts (web.me.com/blackpittsgarden/Site_2/Blog/Blog.html
24: The delectable but not altogether horticultural Sabrina Duncan International, star of this year’s Malvern Spring Show and the first woman/man ever to deprive James Alexander Sinclair of the power of speech. Appeared first on the Sea of Immeasurable Gravy, I believe.

That really is it now. If you could email your answers to sally[dot]nex[at]btinternet[dot]com I can get rid of the parcel currently cluttering up my desk. And if you don’t do so by next weekend (Jan 7-8) I shall donate it to the Constant Collection of Horticultural Yummy Things.

Happy New Year everyone!

STOP PRESS: We have a winner!

VP, who must have been sitting poised and waiting over a hot keyboard as I typed the above this morning, was first off the block with the correct answers.

They are: Dan Pearson, Spirit – his new book, which was the prize and will be winging its way over to Chippenham shortly. The plant genus was Viburnum.

Well done VP! And commiserations to anyone else who also sent in their answers or was on the point of doing so. You’ll have another chance next year if I can muster the energy to do it again – with a bit of luck and some technical advice, it will hopefully be a bit better, too!