January is the month of OPPORTUNITIES – the time to plan for the year ahead and to take stock. Without the visual impact of the plants, you can see the garden infrastructure, warts and all. So now is a good time to check:
- sheds – roof, floor and window frames.
- fences – wobbly posts or panels, will they withstand strong winds?
- decking – once it goes it rots quickly.
- trellises – I have one kept up by a clematis and climbing rose. One day its going to come down and damage them both, and I’ll kick myself.
- frost damage to pots, brickwork and paths – can this be prevented?
- slippery patios and decking – they may need to be jet washed or cleaned with an algae removing liquid and then sealed.
Now plants have died down it is a great time to get in amongst the beds to make necessary repairs. But consider REPLACING instead of repairing. For example
- can the decking be replaced by a new bed or ornamental stone slabs?
- instead of repairing the fence how about trellising and planting evergreen climbers or an ornamental bamboo?
- can the shed be replaced by a potting shed that gives you more than just storage?
January is the best month for being imaginative. Walk around the garden on a bright sunny morning with a cup of tea and take stock. Appraise from different angles and search for new opportunities. Simple touches can be made – for example:
- new paths
- re-shaping the lawn
- adding an arch or pergola
- raising a bed
- adding outdoor lighting
- framing and screening areas to divide the garden into spaces
- even adding a hammock or a barbeque wall – summer will be here one day…
As gardeners we look at new opportunities for planting all the time. We go through seed catalogues looking at new vegetables and buy new variations and cultivars of flowers. Just as we are inventive and creative with our planting, so we should be with the garden.
January is the perfect time to cast a critical and also imaginative eye over our beloved outdoor space and to ask if we are making the most of it. Can we not do that little bit better this year for our garden? I think the answer is yes, and on that note, I’m off to find the drill to fix the wonky trellis.
BYE FOR NOW
Look out for my next posting on 5th February – ECO GARDENS ARE THE FUTURE