January 25th, 2021 by
Set some goals for your garden for 2021
While 2020 was the year that nobody asked for, we should all try and take some positives from it which could include valuing our friends and family more, appreciating additional time at home, and focusing more on our health and well-being. For those of us lucky enough to have some outside space, our gardens have been a real blessing: a haven for when we couldn’t go elsewhere, and a venue for limited socialising when indoor mixing was restricted.
This, coupled with more time on your hands, may have led you to take up gardening as a hobby or, if you were already a bit of a horticulturist, pushed you to further improve your skills. It may be time then, as we look into a 2021 that still has some uncertainty but all the promise of an end to 2020’s gloom, to set some New Year resolutions for the garden.
Your specific goals will vary according to the kind of outside space that you have, but here a few ideas that most can implement this year:
1. Make your garden more wildlife-friendly
We are in the middle of a climate emergency but there are very positive things that we can all do to make an impact beyond using less plastic and reducing our energy consumption. Providing food and shelter for wildlife is not only an excellent way to help the planet, it can bring great joy as your garden comes alive with visiting creatures.
You can do this in a number of ways, including:
- Planting flowers favoured by pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. They especially like the flowers of lavender, buddleja, red valerian, and verbena but there are many to choose from so with a little research you can find specimens that will please the bees and your garden vision
- Dedicate an area to grow wild. This will not only allow wild flowers to flourish, which are attractive to many insects, but offer some shelter for hedgehogs and other small mammals (it also requires minimal work!)
- Add bird feeders. Winter can offer slim pickings for food for the birds so they will appreciate bird seed and fat balls to keep them going. Remember to keep them well stocked and, if you have a bird bath, remember to defrost with boiled water in the mornings when the temperature hits freezing
2. Plant some trees
If you have the space, there are a great number of benefits to planting trees: they absorb carbon dioxide, help to reduce flooding, can provide sustenance for birds, produce beautiful blossom in the spring, and are a great long-term project. You could choose fruit trees, to give you an added bonus in the summer and autumn, or very decorative trees to enhance the look of the garden. As with plants, research what grows best in the kind of soil and weather you get in your garden.
3. Perfect that lawn
We all tend to give attention to the ‘pretty’ elements of gardening – the flowers and plants, but nothing quite completes the look of a garden than a beautiful, lush green lawn. Many lawn maintenance jobs really start in the spring but you can start adding nutrients, such as iron sulphate, now and that will really put you ahead of the game when the weather starts to improve.
4. Grow some food
Growing food is not as difficult as you may think and doesn’t necessarily require a lot of space. Potatoes can be planted in buckets, tomatoes and strawberries can be planted in hanging baskets, and herbs can be started in pots indoors and then transferred outside. There is a great deal of satisfaction in eating food that you have grown yourself plus it’s organic and you know exactly how it’s been grown.
5. Change things up
Many of us, when we start something new such as gardening, will simply do things like planting into established borders or treating the weeds in existing paths. To move your gardening skills on a bit, why not try your hand at some garden design? Perhaps do some research and create a garden scheme. You don’t have to fully re-landscape it, but you could move planting areas, create some raised beds, or even add a feature such as a pond or rockery. Winter is a good time to do things like this as most plants are dormant and it allows you to get things in place before spring planting.
If your garden has given you some pleasure and comfort this year, pay it back by investing some time and effort in 2021. You will reap the rewards by creating a lovely outdoor space.
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