Was 2016 full of the joys of spring for you in the garden? Did you have a successful growing year? Chances are some bits worked well and some failed miserably – as is the plight of most gardeners, expert or not! Often the weather is a force to be reckoned with, surprising us at every turn with unseasonal tidings. It was a crisp and frosty spring, a changeable summer and warm autumn – the elements alone can affect what works for you and what doesn’t.
As we’re all making resolutions now, though, how about making some garden ones too, and start as you mean to go on? There’s always room for improvement!
The first is not to make too much work for yourself. This is always a problem that comes hand in hand with being a really keen gardener, as we tend to go a bit overboard in the planning, envisioning beds and beds of glorious veg or blooms – and it’s often simply not feasible.
Start small and only sow and plant what you know you can maintain easily. Rows and rows of potatoes are unnecessary. Leave some areas natural, perhaps sown with perennial wildflowers that will need barely any maintenance at all. Or you can plant up a rockery feature, filled with pretty creeping plants that will simply relish growing for you with little encouragement.
Secondly, there are always what seem like little things to remember, but if forgotten are sometimes disastrous!
Always label your plants every time, or its name will fly out of your head – it’s important to know what varieties or species you’ve grown so you can choose – or avoid – to grow them every year accordingly.
Next is effectively attending to all those pesky garden beasties such as slugs, caterpillars and aphids. We know they come to visit our plants every year, but it’s always a chore to keep them away. Prevention is better than cure, so be on hand with your slug traps, vine weevil spray and bird netting at the right time, or you’ll end up like me: with pots full of nibbled heuchera husks, completely depleted at the roots by vine weevil as I didn’t act soon enough.
Always try something new every year, too. Consult catalogues, browse nurseries and find something to grow to get excited about. Be sure to mug up on how and where it likes to be in your garden first, though. And lastly, try to spend more time in the garden enjoying its beauty and less time actually gardening!
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- Karen writes for Garden News magazine which is packed full of tips, inspiration, plant and product news and great money-saving offers! On sale every Tuesday or subscribe and try your first 4 issues for just £1 – Call 080858 438884 and quote YFIG, or visit www.greatmagazines.co.uk/YFIG. T&Cs apply.