Hooray, the elections done, and we are all excited at the prospect of a new and bright beginning, well those of us who garden are anyway. I love packing up the old year and preparing for new adventures. The tidying up is taking forever though, the weather having been a tad challenging. The wet has been one issue, but the wind has been the real beast for me, it just cuts you in half. Anyway, progress has been made and a blank canvas awaits my attention. I have made something of a start, having planted some very late tulips, (that I picked out of a dump bin in a supermarket). They were cheap and will give a show in April. I am hoping to get in some bare root hedging in the coming days too. I’ve a strip of about 20 feet to close in. It awaited my attention throughout December. I will plant a staggered double row of mixed field hedging and will probably spend less than £20. Plants are dormant, so they will not mind the disturbance and as the temperature lifts and leaf appears, they will quickly look the part.
Having had a fairly dull December, I am keen to stir new life and am getting some early sowing done, Antirrhinums and Pansies as well as carnations and sweet William will all germinate on a window sill at quite low temperatures, indeed my grandfather would have started them just under cold glass every January. These old varieties are great value, can be set out at the end of March and will perform for weeks. Some early vegetables can be started at the same time, a pinch of lettuce and summer cabbage will perform. All of these things will need transplanting to pots trays, when they have two leaves (after about two weeks) but their liberation as they are given space will see them romp. Kept cool they will reward.
When time permits, you can be getting in the shopping in readiness, scouring seed racks, poring over seed potatoes and planting out onion sets and shallots. The nights are extending.
And finally, as society becomes evermore focused on technology and gadgetry, make it your mission in 2020 to introduce a child to the mysticism that is the remarkable journey of a seed. As a kid I was spellbound by the wizardry of my elders. The extraordinary, under our noses and I was introduced at the age of 9.