Planning next year’s garden
I love planning. I love making list of things to do. And after the year we’ve just had, what better way to spend the Christmas and New Year holiday than planning next year’s garden. We’ve lived here for 20+ years so the planning doesn’t take much time as most parts are well established. However, it’s good to stand back every now and again and move things about. But when it comes to actually growing an attractive garden all my planning and good intentions seem to go out the window!
Here’s what I’m going to plan for my garden for 2021.
1. Assessing the space:
With no leaves on the trees and bushes and no flowers to “obstruct” the view, Winter is the best time of the year to stand back and take a look at the shape and structure of the garden. It give you the opportunity to plan any major changes you want to make, like changing the layout of a path or creating some raised beds. Taking photographs and drawing the garden to scale on graph paper can help too.
2021 will see a few structural replacements in my garden. At the far end is a Summerhouse on some decking, sadly the decking is starting to go soft and has rotted in some places. The Summerhouse, on the other hand, is still in good condition so is being re-homed and will be used by the grandchildren. It will be replaced by a new purpose built shed with patio, this will be used as an office / craft room and for drying flowers.
The other change will be the path that leads to Summerhouse, currently it’s a grass path but I’m looking to change it to gravel and brick. The shed plans have been drawn so hopefully all this will take place in the Spring, weather permitting!
2. Figuring out what to grow:
Being of a certain age and having lived here for so long, I know what I like to grow and what grows well here. It’s good to try new things each year and every year I write a list of things I’d like to grow, sadly not everything makes it. One of the things I really want to do in 2021 is create a dyeing garden and make a herb trough so some things on the list won’t make the basket.
3. Narrowing it down:
Knowing your garden measurements and having a list of things you’d like to grow is useful if you have limited space. Only you can decide what you REALLY, really want to grow? Produce to eat? A cutting garden? A wildlife garden etc, the list is endless but the space is limited. This is also the time to work out when things grow best. Verbena, for example, flowers late Summer through until Autumn, do you want to underplant it with something that flowers in early Spring like Forget-me-not? Or will each bed be colour co-ordinated? This step can be fun trying to work out but it can help get your shopping list under control as well.
My beds all have structural trees or bushes in them so my annual plans involve filling the gaps. Personally, I like it this way as it means I can grow different flowers each year, more often than not I the same plants but in different beds.
4. Mapping it out helps:
You don’t have to draw out a garden plan, but I often find that a rough plan and photographs help me to envisage things more clearly. If you’re not great with a ruler and pencil then you could look at an online garden planning tool or some dedicated software. This will help you work out how many of each plant you need for the available space, making it easier on your shopping list!
5. Buying Seeds/Plants:
Time to grab your list and head to your favourite garden centre or online store, like Grandma’s Garden. You still have to chose between buying plants that will add instant impact, or growing them yourself from seed. If you decide to grow from seed, do you have all the equipment you need?
Personally, I’ll go with a mix of both. I was lucky enough to inherit a greenhouse when we moved here so it gets put to good use. Although I can’t help but feel that this year I might need to add one of those grow frames to the garden.
But I have to say, there’s something very satisfying sowing seeds and watching them blossom into gorgeous flowers. This feeling is only beaten by spending hours watching the bees and other garden pollinators enjoy the garden too.
6. Figuring Out When to Plant:
Next, create a sowing or planting schedule, based on your plan of when to plant everything. Most seeds can be sown over a couple of months, this gives a succession of plants and flowers over a period of months instead of all at once.
I guess that now the planning for next year’s garden is done, it’s time to practise what I preach!!