It’s winter, but it’s not cold.
Little green shoots are appearing – but they’re too early.
Hellebores are emerging, the witch hazel is blooming and we even have a couple of snowdrops almost fully out in the front garden. It’s SpringWinter – not cold enough to be properly winter but not light enough to be properly spring. Also known – on Instagram at least – as #thatwinterspringthing.
The mild weather and green shoots are not unwelcome – in fact they’re a wonderful reminder of what’s to come. I just wonder if we’re being lulled into a false sense of security, only to be shocked back into the depths of winter by a lengthy icy blast…
In any case there’s not much going on in the garden just yet, and I’m glad of the time to plan ahead for the coming season. The main projects for this year will be:
- the white border in the front garden – I’m redesigning one side of the front garden as it’s currently looking the most bare and in need of rejuvenation. I want to drastically increase the planting and hopefully stick to a mainly white theme, as it’s partly in shade and its backdrop is much larger trees and bushes within the wooded area next door. The plan is for some lush green/white planting which will lift the whole area during spring/summer
- planting and sorting the area round the chicken coop – this area needs replanting after we switched the smaller chicken run for a much larger, covered run. The grass needs fixed and there’s plenty of room at the front of the coop for some new hen-friendly plants
- growing/selling plants from the Secret Garden – this project began last year when I sold the surplus plants I’d grown for my own garden. I put the extras onto Facebook Marketplace and they were snapped up by quite a few local folk looking to support a small independent nursery. I got the best buzz from growing healthy plants for others to enjoy so I definitely want to repeat the experience this year! (The Secret Garden is so-called because it’s the space I have for raised beds and greenhouse behind a rather unobtrusive-looking door at the bottom corner of the garden.)
So the planning and designing is getting into full swing – I’m researching, drawing, reading and checking my seed stocks to get ready for what is likely to be a busy growing season.
This preparation includes testing out a couple of online drawing/design tools alongside the online systems I already use. I use a range of different tools for different things – Evernote for clipping and saving articles, photos and plant information; Google Drive for plants/seeds spreadsheets and keeping track of budgets; Microsoft OneNote for drawing and saving designs. I’m also currently trying the Suttons veg planner tool, which will hopefully help me to plan my fruit/veg growing for this year, as well as my cut flower bed. And I’ve downloaded an app for my laptop called Bamboo Paper which also allows me to draw and create ‘mood board’ style notebooks.
I did contemplate starting an actual physical notebook as a garden journal, and using a real-life pen and ink…but for some reason I seem to get on fine with the online methods. I think in fact I’m more likely to access these electronic records and keep them updated than a diary-style physical notebook, as lovely as it is to hold and treasure a well-thumbed, dog-eared notebook…
Oh and one more goal which I hope to achieve imminently – sitting two more RHS Level 2 exams in February. I’ve already been hitting the books again to swot up on plant biology and soil nutrition. Wish me luck!
Happy 2019 – here’s to a great gardening year!