End-of-season stock taking
Before you read the rest of this post I want you to take a quick walk around your garden – don’t worry; I’ll still be here when you get back. If you’re not near your garden, or the weather’s too vile to venture outside, do a virtual tour in your mind.
I took a little turn round my garden this morning and, if I’m being totally honest, it looks a state.
Don’t get me wrong, there are pockets of loveliness, but generally it needs a bit of TLC. There are spent tomato plants on the patio, a dahlia that’s in desperate need of staking, leaves littering the pond and a great branch of Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ has fallen right across the path. I could go on, but I haven’t really scratched the surface and I’m sure you get the general idea. But you know the most irritating thing about it all? I was in exactly this position last October – I haven’t learnt one thing from my mistakes of 2009.
Now, I’m not going to get all het up about the mistakes I’ve made this year. In fact, I see them as an opportunity to take stock and make a few decisions about things I’ll do differently next year. Monty Don has always said he considers October to be the start of the gardening year, and if it’s good enough for him, it’s certainly good enough for me.
The new regime starts right here which, when you think about it, makes perfect sense. The mistakes and failures are fresh at the moment, staring me in the face. I’ll only forget them after a winter of sitting by the fire, and make them all over again come spring.
So, I here now declare (very publicly so I can’t squirm out of anything) that my 2010 end of year gardening resolutions are as follows:
I will feed my plants throughout the growing season, not just at the beginning when I’m all excited and raring to go
I will repeat sow salad leaves – the second half of the summer was severely lacking in all things homegrown
I will take cuttings from bedding plants to save cash
I will have more barbecues
I will only sow as much seed as I can use
I will not create hanging baskets and go on a three-week holiday
Right then, now it’s your turn. Remember the walk you just took around you plot? What did you spot that needs to be different next year? Post your end of year resolutions in the comments box for the whole BBC online gardening community to witness. We’ll be checking up on you come autumn 2011.
Kevin Smith is a garden writer, blogger and former Commissioning Editor of BBC Gardeners' World Magazine.