I don’t go in for New Year resolutions as I think they are unhealthy and put you under pressure to achieve something which you will no doubt fail to achieve as you have never achieved it before.  But I have projects, plans and aspirations for 2013 many of them garden related.

In practical terms there are a number of projects that I want to carry out or even complete.  To start with the front garden project, started Spring 2012 needs finishing.  The weather and allotment just conspired against me and what should have been a fairly quick job of reshaping the lawn dragged on all year and still isn’t complete.  I have one more edge to straighten and a stepping stone to lay.  Then I need to finish preparing the borders followed by some plant moving.  This is still a work in progress plant wise as I haven’t quite  got the planting completed in my head.  The front garden will be the focus of this year End of Month View posts so you will see for yourself  how  I get on.


I also want to extend  the steps up the garden.  I am forever slipping on the ‘grass’ at the top of them even when we haven’t had as much rain as we have had this year.  I am still trying to work out a purpose/identity for the corner border and I think extending the steps up to the gravel path will help define this space better and help my thought process.  The extended steps will no doubt mean that the ‘lawn’ has to be reshaped but this will mean more planting space.  I am also still toying with the idea of digging up the whole back lawn but  am dithering because due to the slope I would need to add in more steps to help with access and it would also be a huge planting space for me. I think I need to focus on finishing off  other  projects first but who  knows it might be a project for 2014.


The final project is a small one and that is to sort out the patio.  I can’t afford to replace it  but I want to pretty it up.  In particular I need to address the area near the bike shed which has become a dumping ground.  There is a wooden planter here which my son made me years  back which is now falling to pieces and now he is a cabinet-maker he isn’t that proud of it.  This will go and I want to replace it with a rectangular pot which will be the focus point with a climber in it to cover the fence.  I then intend to use the cleared space as a display for pots with plants that need a little shade.  Well that’s the idea.  I also intend to paint the fence a dark brown to show off the plants and I am thinking of doing this to all the fences – though that does sound daunting.

disguising the boundary is an ongoing challenge.  Over the last year I have planted a number of shrubs and climbers but I hadn’t really taken into account winter and as many are deciduous  it all looks a little bare so I  need to look at adding some more evergreens. I also need to address the compost bin situation as it is completely out of hand and a sign that I need to improve the way I do things which leads me on to my real driver this year.

I want to learn to be a better gardener and move towards my aspiration  to become a plantswoman; this is my real focus and challenge.   Now the  allotment has gone I feel more focussed and am finally seeing my garden properly for the first time in years.  My  urge to buy  plants is still there but it is not the most important thing  now; maybe this means I have matured as a gardener.  I  want to learn about plants in detail.  I have looked at various  courses and I know enough about propagation, naming plants and the component parts for now.  There aren’t any courses that fulfil my need so I have decided to roll up my sleeves and teach myself.  I have joined a number of specialist plant groups so I can learn directly from the experts and I am reading – a lot.

I am pleased to say that due to the drier weather I  have started the New Year with two good gardening sessions including starting to empty out the compost bins.  It is lucky I have an appointment at the chiropractor on Monday as I think I will need sorting out by then.

Author: Helen Johnstone

I live in Malvern, Worcestershire and am a very keen gardener. I started the Patient Gardener Blog in January 2008 as a way of recording what was happening in my garden and connecting with other like-minded people. I started a second blog PatientGardener 365 January 2013 in order to try and post a photo a day to capture what is growing in my garden or places I have visited

17 thoughts on “Plans”

  1. Oh to be able to work outside in any capacity. We are under almost 2′ of snow so I can barely get to the compost, coops and barn. Have fun – we will enjoy reading about your endeavors because reading about gardening is all we can do right now.

  2. It’s the perfect time to choose your garden projects for next year. You can see the structure of the garden better right now, and have time to do some plant research. Although with no snow, you get a head start, assuming things stay dry out for you. It will be interesting to see the changes you make in the front garden over the months.

  3. I’m with you on the resolutions bit – can lead to much disappointment. Far more realistic to think about making some plans but not being too harsh on yourself if they don’t happen or take longer than a year. I was out briefly yesterday but there was such a cold wind blowing that I only lasted for half an hour before running back in.

  4. The earth here is totally saturated. I could be scraping up mud, but am not very motivated for that. Seed catalog, now that is setting on the table. 🙂

  5. Judy I too am thinking “Oh to be able to work outside..” I guess it’s possible here in SE Queensland but only briefly early morning and late evening. Yesterday it reached over 37 C – the poor plants are frizzling in the intense heat. I’m longing for autumn. Keep warm. It’s a wonderful world. May everyone have a happy, satisfying year in the garden.

  6. I also need to plant more evergreens, I tend to neglect them because I am so focused on flowers and fruit. Sounds like you have some great plans, please make sure to post plenty of pictures of your progress.

  7. It’s good to make time to mull over your options – and who knows, another blogger may inadvertantly suggest just the very thing that will suit you and your plot. Look forward to seeing your ideas progress into practice

  8. I look forward to seeing those plans come to fruition. There are lots of skinny evergreens available to help you with those boundaries. They would certainly add a dimension to your plans.

  9. There is always something to be done isn’t there – we gardeners are never satisfied – but that is what it is all about – challenge. Every aspect of gardening is a challenge and it sounds like you are going to roll up your sleeves and face your challenges head on. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

  10. Happy New Year, Helen. Plenty to keep you busy (and out of mischief). I read loads too and also buy up cheap gardening videos and DVDs from charity shops and then donate them back afterwards. Working in a Garden centre though was probably my best teacher. Customers were forever asking questions (terribly inconvenient) about this shrub or that plant and if I didn’t know the answer (er, like always) I’d look it up in the RHS bible. Info tends to stick after a while. I’ve yet to join any groups but I’m veering that way. And I revere my chiropractor. No, I worship him. Dave

  11. You might want to consider using a tinted stain for your fence, as opposed to latex paint, as it eliminates the need to scape off old paint in the future. We used it on all of the fencing and wood trim on the outside of our old house and have been pleased with it. Though there was one area on the top of a railing that I ended up priming and painting anyway because the stain refused to stick in that one spot.

    I have made some similar vows to myself about my own garden education for the year, and am considering studying myself of the RHS level 2 certificate… though I am probably crazy to throw it on top of being a mommy, etc. But perhaps I will finish in the next 10 years. 🙂
    Happy New Year, Helen!

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