Garden Planning is about planning to enjoy your garden all year round.
In my New Year’s blog in 2015, I suggested as one of our gardening resolutions that we should plan to enjoy our gardens.
I expanded on this particular garden theme in January 2016. Partly, it must be said as a response to my students. In their gardening lessons, planning is one of the topics that we cover; whether the course is about grow your own or basic gardening.
Whilst Plews gardening lessons are bespoke to the individual and to their garden, where the lessons take place, there are plenty of general tips that I can share and suggest to increase your enjoyment of your garden.
Now, let us be clear from the start – garden planning is not quite the same thing as planning a garden. The emphasis is slightly different as you, the gardener or owner of the outdoor space are the focus.
When you are planning a garden, or have asked myself or another garden designer to plan your garden with you, the garden itself is the starting point. There is obviously overlap, but the distinction is there.
Garden Planning #1
Firstly, ask yourself – What would you like to achieve in relation to your garden by the end of the year?
As a working number, I thought twelve aims, one for each month of 2016, would be neat. The gardening aims do not each need to be planned for or achieved in a particular month. If you can only think of seven, then start with those, and add another five if they appear important to you.
Keeping your aims specific is important. Here are a garden planning suggestions to get you started:-
Learning how to correctly prune an espalier apple tree. Or as simple as learning what an espalier apple tree is and how it is different from other ‘ordinary’ apple trees.
Deciding that you would like to have more colour in your garden is too vague for this exercise. But refining it to ‘more colour in the rear border during July and August’ is fine.
Having a scented plant or flower by the front door. With a bit of ingenuity, and by changing the plants in the pot this can be achieved year round. It is likely to give you daily pleasure so it’s a good aim to choose if you’re not sure where to start.
Growing potatoes for Christmas dinner. I’ve put this one in as an example, as last year I said I would have another go at growing new potatoes for Christmas dinner as the crop had been poor. However, I gave in to the family’s demands and grew King Edwards for roast potatoes to go with the goose instead. So it is okay to amend your aims as you go along if you find you were too specific or the situation changes. This garden planning is about you after all!
Write these garden planning aims down in a notebook or on your computer. Where you can refer to them and note down when you have succeeded in achieving your aims. It is always satisfying to give oneself a well-earned pat on the back.
Garden Planning #2
Do you have photos you took of the garden last year? This will help you to remember what you liked and didn’t like at any particular season and give you a basis to work from.
If you can’t find any, then all is not lost. Take photographs this year. In fact, this is a suggestion for all of you. The photos should be taken regularly, say once a month so that you can see how the garden changes. This makes a useful record of your garden and will help remind you what you enjoyed and what you didn’t.
You may like to amend this to taking photos of a particular area of your garden if you’re focussing on it.
This part of garden planning also has a use when you come to planning your garden or having it designed. It enables you and the garden designer to look back and have a broader picture of the garden, both of the plants and how you are using the garden.
Garden Planning #3
Do the chores first – and by chores I mean the gardening tasks that you don’t enjoy doing. Also, where possible, do them little and often. This way you will leave yourself time to do the gardening tasks that you do enjoy. If you really hate certain things, is it possible to find an alternative?
For example, you don’t mind mowing the lawn but hate having to separately trim the lawn edges. A fairly simple adjustment of adding a mowing strip may resolve the issue.
If you decide to get someone in to mow the lawn for you, do make sure they have the necessary insurances as a bare minimum. Otherwise you could find yourself paying to have your neighbour’s window replaced when a stone flies out from under the mower and breaks it…
Garden Planning #4
Make time to sit in your garden. One of your aims could be to buy a new garden seat in the sales so you have something comfy to sit on.
If it’s your seat, make sure that it is situated where it will catch the sun at the time you are going to be sitting down. Surround the seat with scented plants or colourful plants or edible plants – your favourites. One of your aims could be to create a new border planting scheme for your seating area. We have plenty of planting suggestions on the website for you to look through, in Plews Potting Shed and the Garden Design Portfolio. If you would like more inspiration and help, we are able to offer long distance planting schemes as well as creating planting designs locally.
Wishing you pleasure in your garden in 2016 and a Happy New Year from all the Plews Team at Plews Garden Design and Plews Garden Landscaping