The start of a new year and the clock is reset in the garden. Bare earth is like a blank sheet and the imagination can run wild. This year it will fill with a rambling cacophony of colour and texture, that will burst open in layer after layer of foliage and petals for months on end. This year it will spill forth with a feast of fruit and vegetables, a glut of cut flowers, scented with swathes of verdant and silver-hued herbs.
Of course, the reality may not always meet expectations. There may be delays; a late spring, a spell of inconveniently-timed, inclement weather. There may be disappointments; unwelcome pests, experiments gone awry, no rain, too much rain and everything in between. But in the calm, pensive months of January, the imagination still runs, none-the-less.
For my part, I need to make an extra effort to reign it in, given the amount of work that needs doing to get my garden how I’d like it. Instead, I’m trying to set my sites on a few areas each year. Our first Spring, the first thing on my list was the construction of two raised beds. I was pregnant at the time and desperate to make sure there were crops in the ground before the arrival of my son. We used timber from a local yard, and stripped the turf from the ground before mixing it with compost and manure. Looking back, anyone watching the rather immobile women entering her 3rd trimester, kneeling on the ground while she frantically shook soil and worms from strips of turf, would have wondered if I’d got my priorities straight! Perhaps a subject for another post, but the point is it was my main goal for the year and achieving it made me feel like progress had been made. Whilst confined to the house with a very small and hungry baby, being able to pick fresh salad from those beds whenever I liked, without trying to get out to the shops, felt well worth the effort.
This year I want to keep the raised beds filled, but try to expand the working part of the garden to other containers and I also need to start tackling some pretty extensive gaps in the border. So I have a lot of planning to do.
To the gardener every year brings a new leaf. This one is young and green and I’m turning it over…