Original Article – https://www.countryliving.com/uk/homes-interiors/gardens/a38641390/new-years-resolutions-gardeners/
January is the perfect time to start planning what to do with your garden in 2022, and what better way to begin than by committing to some New Year’s resolutions?
Perhaps this is the year to reduce the amount of plastic in your garden by buying biodegradable plant pots or wooden compost bins, or to eliminate the use of pesticides and embrace organic gardening. If you have a large garden, you could look towards creating natural habitat to support declining wildlife in the UK, or use the extra space to create a ‘shoffice’ to better adapt to home working.
Regardless of the space you have, your level of gardening expertise, or the time and inclination you have towards working in your garden, there are always improvements to be made.
Read on for 8 New Year’s resolution ideas to help transform your garden in 2022…
1. Reduce your use of plastic
Plastic is a major component in the garden, from plastic plant pots and seed trays to watering cans, and compost bins. Most plastic gardening equipment will end up in landfills, where plastic pots alone can take up to 500 years to decompose. There are a few easy swaps you can make in going plastic-free:
– Only buy biodegradable pots that are made from natural materials such as coir, bamboo, wood chips, or seaweed.
– Plastic plant labels might be convenient, but they are very difficult to recycle. Swap them for bamboo or slate, or simply reuse wooden lollipop sticks.
– If you use plastic string, make the swap for a natural jute or hemp, and protect your fruits and vegetables with metal mesh instead of plastic netting – it lasts for years.
2. Go organic
There are many benefits to organic gardening – avoiding pesticides means providing a safe source of food for pollinators, and avoiding any potential toxic effects on your own health and that of the wider environment. Plus, switching to organic methods usually makes gardening easier.
For pest control, use copper rings around your plants to naturally repel slugs, and a fine metal gauze over fruits or vegetable crops to deter flies, caterpillars, and birds. Instead of pesticide sprays, try neem oil, which is biodegradable and nontoxic to pets, birds, fish, and other wildlife. It’s effective against common pests, as well as being a natural fungicide to combat mildew and other fungal infections on plants.
3. Invest in a rainwater butt
Watering plants correctly is fundamental to a thriving garden, and you can improve the health of your garden simply by using rainwater. Connect a rainwater butt to a downpipe to collect the rain that we will likely have over the coming months, to water your garden in spring. The PH of rainwater is naturally more suitable for plants than tap water, especially if you live in an area with hard water.
4. Encourage wildlife
Hedgehogs, sparrows, and song thrushes are amongst a number of declining species in the UK, but a garden designed to provide food and refuge for wildlife can help to boost their numbers. Increasing biodiversity is a relatively simple task, and doesn’t have to compromise the look of your garden. There are a few simple ways to start:
– Borders filled with flowering plants and shrubs provide food for butterflies and bees, as well as seeds and much needed shelter for birds and small mammals. Try our very own Country Living Perfect for Pollinators bulb collection at Homebase.
– Ponds and water features are the perfect habitat for a huge variety of species from frogs and newts to garden birds.
– Woodpiles, compost, and trimmings can act as spots for small animals, bumblebees, and slow worms to live.
– Climbing plants on fences or walls make nesting and roosting sites for birds. Choose plants with nectar-rich flowers such as honeysuckle.
5. Get composting
If you don’t compost already, make it a priority in 2022. Compost is invaluable to a healthy garden as it speeds up the natural recycling of nutrients, as well as providing wildlife with much-needed shelter during winter months. Avoid plastic compost bins, and instead go for an inexpensive FSC-certified wooden compost box.
6. Reduce your lawn
Whilst they may look attractive, lawns are incredibly high maintenance, requiring two to three times more water than a natural mixed landscape, whilst at the same time crowding out native plants and wildlife habitat. Replacing part of your lawn with shrubs and perennials means less time behind the lawnmower, and less time watering, fertilising, and re-seeding. To reduce the size of your lawn without too much disruption, consider areas where grass doesn’t thrive easily – the shaded areas under trees is a good place to start – or anywhere that is difficult to mow like steep banks.
7. Invest in a shoffice
With flexible home working set to continue into 2022, the office-in-a-shed, or ‘shoffice,’ provides a peaceful and permanent working solution. The shoffice comes in many shapes and sizes, from compact wooden summerhouses to bespoke garden rooms costing in their tens of thousands. The Country Living range of affordable, sustainably made outdoor buildings with Homebase are a quick and easy option for those who don’t fancy any protracted planning or construction.
8. Garden for wellbeing
We’re all aware that gardening has a positive effect on both physical and mental health, and designing a garden to be a restorative and restful space will bring benefits throughout the seasons. In gardening for wellbeing, pay close attention to:
– Scent. Incorporate fragrant plants wherever you enjoy sitting or working. Hyacinth, magnolia, sweet peas, and wisteria all produce a strong scent.
– Sustainability. Get more satisfaction out of your gardening by making rather than buying – grow your own vegetables, create your own compost, and tackle small DIY projects like a wooden bird house.
– Sensory stimulation. The sound of trickling water from a water feature, or a gentle wind chime will provide soothing background noise.
– Seating. Nestle a bench in your favourite spot in the garden to sit and appreciate its beauty.