If your New Year resolution involves spending more time in your garden, whether working in it or enjoying some valuable downtime, you’re not alone. These popular garden experts have big plans for 2016...
TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh, Waitrose gardening expert, says: “My New Year resolution is to be more restrained when I visit nurseries and garden centres. Like all gardeners I can’t resist an impulse buy and so I end up with a group of plants in containers that sit alongside my potting shed for weeks or even months waiting for a home.
“This year, I will only buy a plant if I know where I can put it. It’s a noble aim, of course, but I very much doubt I shall live up to it. I mean, if you see a gorgeous plant – especially if you don’t already have it in your garden – it is hard not to take it home. As Oscar Wilde famously said: ‘I can resist everything except temptation’. Especially when it comes to plants!”
Garden designer and TV presenter Joe Swift, who will be designing Horatio’s garden (www.horatiosgarden.org.uk), a charity garden at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 2016, says: “I’ve only got a small garden and have put in a tiny garden office and I’m hoping to do some of my writing and garden design from the garden to change my perspective.
“I will be changing the garden significantly next year, putting in shrubs and some exotics, including a hardy Vietnamese schefflera and pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’, which is a lovely mounded evergreen plant, and a buddleia or two to attract butterflies. For years my garden has been quite grassy and flowery and I’ve decided I need more structure because I look out on it 12 months of the year and it needs a bit more permanence in the winter.”
Pippa Greenwood, a regular on BBC Gardeners’ Question Time, who offers advice from her website www.pippagreenwood.com, says: “This year was not my best gardening year and I’m determined to make 2016 so much more productive.
“First I must stop putting off boring jobs and start tackling problems immediately. This includes putting up a better deer barrier around my vegetable plot. Last year, the runner beans were eaten to ground level and, because I wasn’t quick enough in my attempts to find and block their entry point, they got in again a few days later and did a lot more damage. I ended up having to buy runner beans from the supermarket – horrible compared to my usual delicious beans.”