New Year, New You, New Garden
Taking a fresh approach to life at the start of a New Year can be seen as having a new outlook. Whilst there are many spiritual aspects to this it can also be taken literally and there is no better start than improving the view from your house so that it is more uplifting all year round.
The motivation and resultant gain for improving your garden is diverse. For naturalists there are opportunities to enhance its appeal to wildlife and pollinators, whether for conservationist reasons or simply for the joy of observing the myriad patterns of daily natural life. It’s still a good time with all this cold weather to put out bird boxes and food for over-wintering birds. And though log piles and insect houses should have gone out in the autumn, hibernating wildlife can take some time to get used to their presence before feeling comfortable enough to use them so they are worth putting out at any time of year.
Another approach is to consider how your garden can make more of a contribution to your life this year – so how about some gardening New Year resolutions? Making notes throughout the year can help you in this but perhaps you recall how your favourite spot for basking in the evening sun was let down by the surrounding planting. Maybe it lacked the additional dimension and soothing effect of perfume so this year could be a good time to introduce more scented plants. Or was it that the flower colours that didn’t perform well - red and orange flowers, which stand up well to the harsh light of midday sun, look insipid in the evening whereas some yellow, blue and white flowers will glow. Whilst a review of shape and functionality of your garden are valuable, all too often we forget to consider that the uniquely restorative effect of our outdoor spaces - whether that is wafting scent, the buzz of natural life or soft soothing sounds emanating from swishing grasses or bamboo and trickling water. It’s hard to replicate the beauty of nature but we will nonetheless try.
For the uninitiated the New Year could be the opportunity to take a deep breath and dive into the therapeutic world of gardening – it’s never too late to recognise the simple joy of being outdoors tending to plants that blossom, create dappled shade or fill the air with scent and colour with barely any interference at all.
In a busy, troubled and sometimes confusing world the garden can offer refuge so perhaps think about introducing somewhere to escape to - a little corner that is completely your own, where all the worries of the world can wash away. If there is any place in the world right now where I would love to introduce a garden to give peace and harmony to people in distress it would have to be Aleppo. Now there’s an idea…