31st December 2016: the end of the gardening year.
1st January 2017: the start of the gardening year.
With this weekend’s blog from Plews spanning both of these dates, the Gardening Year – Quotes and Thoughts from the Garden seemed an appropriate subject.
Yes, it is in many ways a less busy time of the year for outdoor work, but there is still plenty to plan and to do. For example: –
- spring flowering bulbs need planting;
- vegetable beds need digging;
- seed potatoes need to be ordered;
- bare-root trees need planting;
- apples and pear trees need to be pruned;
- tender perennials are taken inside and looked after in greenhouses and cellars;
- planting schemes for spring are planned;
- new garden designs are discussed and created;
- gardening lessons are given – both practical and theory;
- raised beds to be built;
- fencing to be repaired and replaced….
And that’s before I wander round my own garden or someone else’s, sniffing the winter flowering shrubs and admiring the topiary covered in frost. Coffee in one hand, notebook in the other, of course!
If you believe that gardening begins in spring and ends in early autumn, you’re missing so much pleasure that your garden could give you.
The gardening year begins with a dream, an anticipation, and follows through with hard work, rewarded with fruits and flowers.
We’ll follow the calendar year, and start at the beginning, on New Year’s Day. And find some tasks to do, quotes to amuse and photos to enjoy. Links to relevant blogs are within the text, and you’ll find further suggestions at the end.
Quotes and Thoughts from the Garden – Winter
Traditionally known as ‘the digging month’. Which to my mind has always seemed ironic, as it’s the month when gardeners are most likely to find hard frosted soil in the vegetable garden.
But if you are able to get into the garden and break push your garden spade into the soil –
To dig in one’s own earth, with one’s own spade, does life hold anything better?
And when you stop digging to rest your back, enjoy the sight of: –
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun
Alternatively, spend time in the potting shed, sharpening your garden tools.
Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour.
The days are noticeably longer now. Winter aconites add a spark of sunshine yellow to misty frosty days.
There’s a rummaging around for empty egg boxes to make chitting potatoes an easier task. Well, I rummage, anyway. I’ve found seed potatoes roll around and damage their young shoots when placed in open trays.
Some indoor seeds can be sown too. And the last of the overwintering vegetables harvested from the kitchen garden.
Quotes and Thoughts from the Garden – Spring
My heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils
It has been said that the March winds are necessary to encourage the trees to bend and flex their trunks and encourage the sap to rise and fill the dormant buds with new life.
Depending on whether we have a mild March or a wild March, affects how much in the way of outside gardening we can do. Generally speaking, in the UK we get most of our annual rainfall over the winter months. So March be drier, allowing us gardeners to get seedbeds ready.
If you have hens in your garden, this is when you’ll notice egg production really begins. Even if you only keep a couple of hens as pets, if they’re laying they will need the correct diet as it takes a lot of protein to keep laying eggs.
April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.
Seeds are sown, seedlings transplanted, tulips burst into vibrant display in between April showers. The Easter weekend is one of the busiest times of the year in garden centres.
Fair-weather gardeners feel they might venture out in to the garden and join those of us who are already busy planning and planting.
There is nothing like the first hot days of spring when the gardener stops wondering if it’s too soon to plant the dahlias and starts wondering if it’s too late
There’s plenty of activity in the garden now – and not just from the gardener! If you have a pond, take time during a May evening to go and look for newts and frogs. They’re active at dusk, having snoozed during the day. Wildlife areas are easily incorporated into family gardens and are great for humans and beasts alike.
Quotes and Thoughts from the Garden – Summer
June – Midsummer. The month with the longest days in the northern hemisphere. Which is just as well. If you thought May was a busy month in the garden, June out-busies it! Weeds and garden pests keep the gardener on full alert. And then there are flowers to deadhead, sweet peas to tie into their supports, strawberries to harvest…
I appreciate the misunderstanding I have had with Nature over my perennial border. I think it is a flower garden; she thinks it is a meadow lacking grass, and tries to correct the error. Sara Stein
A rule to remember when dealing with garden pests: if it is slow moving, stamp on it; if it is fast moving, leave it alone – it will probably kill something else.
A perfect summer’s day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing and the lawn mower is broken
Come July, it can be a welcome relief to go away on holiday and let your neighbour deal with the demands of the garden on your behalf. Be generous though. Prepare your garden beforehand so it’s not all chores on your return. That makes it easier for your neighbour to maintain, too. And remember to offer them the garden produce as a thank you whilst you’re away. And maybe a nice bottle of wine on your return.
We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
Traditional rose gardens were at their best in late June / early July. These days, modern repeat flowering roses enable us to enjoy scent and colour for many months. The rose is regularly voted as number one of the world’s favourite flowers. A fresco (wall painting) of a rose dating back to c 1500BC was found at the palace of Knossos in Crete.
With over 400 varieties of different types of rose, there’s a climbing rose to suit a shady north-east facing wall as well as a sun-loving hybrid tea. Annual pruning is not difficult if you know the type of rose you have.
Quotes and Thoughts from the Garden – Autumn
Gardens are not made by singing “Oh how beautiful” and sitting about in the shade
September is full-on harvest time; where your earlier hard work quite literally bears fruit. Apples, pears, autumn fruiting raspberries, runner beans, sweet corn, pumpkins…the list goes on.
Nothing smells better than harvesting in your herb garden. You cannot help but be surrounded by sweet, spicy fragrances at every snip of your secateurs.
Oh and those dahlias we angsted about in May? They are now the stars of the herbaceous border – assuming the slugs didn’t eat them!
October’s poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter.
Nova S. Blair
Autumn us a second spring when every leaf is a flower
For me, October in the garden sees the last gathering of the harvest and the beginning of the glory of deciduous foliage.
Trees are the longest living land species on this planet earth. They deserve our respect and admiration. Without trees, our air would not be fit to breathe.
Even small gardens can find room for a tree. I would suggest a cordon fruit tree if space is really tight. These patio sized trees will quite happily grow in a container. Imagine picking and eating your own sun-warmed peaches.
Harvest is over. Although there are still hardy crops that will stand through the winter. Swiss chard, for example, with its rainbow leaves will add a jewel-like feel to your winter vegetable patch.
There’s work to be done. Gardening is largely about planning and preparation. Digging over borders and applying mulch or compost are important tasks.
The unmulched garden looks to me like some naked thing which for one reason or another would be better off with a few clothes on.
Quotes and Thoughts from the Garden – Winter (again)
Winter pruning of many deciduous trees and shrubs can begin once all the leaves have fallen. Not all should be pruned now. Flowering shrubs are generally pruned straight after they have finished flowering.
The vineyard country, russet, reddish, carmine-brown in this season.
A blue outline of hills above a fertile valley.
Grape vines are pruned when fully dormant in December and January so they don’t ‘weep’.
Bare root trees, fruit bushes and roses begin to be delivered from specialist nurseries – early Christmas presents for gardeners. Hyacinths that have been grown from forced bulbs in September fill greenhouses with their powerful scent.
The Gardening Year – Quotes and Thoughts from the Garden
Of course, the gardening year never really starts or ends. It is one continuous, entwining circle. A succession of tasks and pleasures; where one plant dies and another grows up to take its place. A balance of planning for tomorrow (and next month) whilst living for today.
No two days are ever the same in your garden, and that’s one of the reasons gardeners are not bored. There’s always something to do, including taking time to look, listen and smell.
To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.
Related Gardening blogs you may enjoy
Cold Weather Gardening – Questions and Answers
Why are there Changes to Your Garden Growing Season?
First Day of Spring and the Spring Equinox
Shakespeare – Midsummer Nights Dream – Garden Design Inspiration
Harvest Festivals, Autumn Equinox and Your Garden
Yule and Winter Solstice
Winter Solstice and Your Garden