In Spring I wrote about a reluctant gardener just starting out and you can read about that here. Well now it’s soon going to get dark and cold and I would imagine some will be even more reluctant so here are 6 tips for you to think about doing before you come inside and close the door till next year.
What if you don’t really want to be out there between now and March and you still want a nice garden next year? I’m not a fan of thinking about gardening as a series of jobs. Hearing or reading about that just makes me feel guilty or lazy or both.
So what is worth doing before winter sets in though?
1. Make a compost corner
Chuck decaying stuff in a corner to make a compost heap cum wildlife home. We need bugs and insects to keep a garden alive and it all starts with the stuff we can’t see and the creepy crawlies. Just throw veg peelings, cardboard, grass, anything green in an out of the way corner and leave it. It’ll turn into a heaving city of tiny bugs that will give your garden the life it needs.
Plant some cheap and cheerful daffodils either in the ground where you can see them from indoors or in some pots, plastic will do, and put them where you can see them. I wrote about that here and here
You needn’t bother planting stuff so far from your back door that you have to walk down the garden, think “oh that looks nice”, and walk back indoors. What’s the point?
3. Don’t tidy
Please leave the leaf litter and the dust and stuff. Just leave it. Step away from the broom and the leaf blower. The bug life so vital for a living garden is lurking and living in that leaf litter, under those wet leaves, in those corners. Leave it alone!!!!
In fact I’m thinking , just leave the poor garden alone. It’s had a funny old year: too hot, too dry, too wet. I’m going to experiment with just leaving it alone and see how it looks come February. If it’s a horrible mess I will own up at once.
4. Plant some tulips
Any time up to Christmas will do. You could even plant them after Christmas if you find them lurking in your shed when you’ve forgotten to plant them. They will still flower in the spring but a bit later. Many tulips don’t flower for more than one year so I buy quite cheap ones from GeeTee Bulb Company
I usually buy some bigger more expensive bulbs for some lovely pots and do my best to protect them from being eaten by squirrels. This year my latest wheeze is to grate very smelly soap around the bulbs and on the top of the pot.
I’ve read that the smell and taste puts them off. I shall report back on its success or failure (probably through a red mist of rage and disappointment).
5. If you’re a reluctant bulb planter
Even easier to pop in are tiny bulbs of anemones, Scilla, muscari, or crocus. Buy them mail order or in bags from a garden centre. They’re the size of a nut and you can poke them in with your finger. It really is worth it. The packet says soak them before planting so that’s why they’re in a bowl of water.
If you want to remember where you planted bulbs you can sprinkle some grit on the area or pop in one little viola or similar to stop yourself digging them up again by mistake.
Then come indoors- from where you can watch the birds on your bird feeder that you’re going to think about getting. The birds will come all day every day all through winter. They like seeds and suet nibbles. You may find that watching them becomes one of life’s small joys.
Next year you might not feel reluctant any more – you might feel passionate and quite bonkers like the rest of us.
This Six on a Saturday is part of a theme from gardeners all over the world and you can see more here