Naomi plans her year ahead
It’s a time to reflect and see the opportunities that lie ahead
While the weather is cool and the plants are growing slowly, early January is perfect for reflecting on the garden. And having spent much of last year chasing it and reacting to its foibles, this now seems very necessary.
A year into the project I’m quite pleased on the one hand – there’s a far greater variety of plants and wildlife than there was to start with. Recently, I have even (whisper it) seen some birds.
On the other hand, the obvious problems that needed immediate attention, such as the now-departed fake grass and lack of planting areas, distracted my other issues. For example, the two raised beds that are filled with completely spent compost: dry, clumpy and devoid of nutrients. The plants that I put into the smaller one shrank rather than grew and had to be rescued before it was too late.
There have been other challenges too. Rose sawfly has been a massive problem and vine weevil has raised its ugly snout. Still, I’m reasonably confident that a decent balance of garden predators will level the playing field in time.
But there’s still loads to do. Paths need to be instated so that I can be sure where to plant things on a permanent basis. The soil needs work across the board. And there’s plenty of scope to be creative with planting, for a proper sense of structure and depth.
Looking back, there have been some real performers. Plants that have stood everything that the year threw at them. Verbena bonariensis, sweet peas, ferns, Geranium phaeum and foxgloves should all take a bow. Other plants are still awaiting their time to shine and, having cut back the annuals and dug up the dahlias, I popped the potted perennials into the new central bed – they’ll do better in the ground and it’s not really a problem if they stay there for a season.
The first couple of weeks of January is the leanest, most meagre part of the year. Everything has died back and very little is getting going. Yet, if you look hard enough you can see where the plants are going to be and, just as importantly, where you can improve and make additions. It may seem bare and bony, but really it’s a party waiting to happen!
I’ve been bulking up borders to bring in more colour for 2019
Geranium phaeum was one of my summer stars