Fireside planning involves sitting down with a notebook, a seed catalogue, a few good gardening books, a gardening magazine or two, and, who knows, even maybe some recorded episodes of Gardeners World! For this is the time to plan your gardening for 2015.
The plan may be a schedule of the things that you intend to do, or which need doing. Or it could take the form of a ‘design’ – perhaps you want to plan a new flowerbed or border, and you need to decide exactly where to put the plants.
If you’re drawing out a design for a part of the garden, you’ll want to know where to put certain plants. For example, where should the lettuce and beetroot go (if it’s a kitchen garden or veg plot), or where should the tall sunflowers and hollyhocks go (towards the back of the border, so that they form a backdrop to the smaller plants in front)? Graph paper is best for drawing your new feature, as it will be to scale.
Anyone wanting a good, basic range of plants can do no better than to make a visit to their local garden centre, to get inspiration, and to find out which plants are most appropriate to their own situation – soil type, flowering period, height and width of plant, and so on. But sometimes you’ll want something just that little bit different – perhaps something more specialised, and this is where seed and plant catalogues come in to their own help.
Seed catalogues are available from Unwins Seeds and Marshalls Seeds, two seed firms with a long heritage of quality plants and specialist knowledge that is passed on to gardeners. It is worth getting on the mailing lists of these companies, as the catalogues are beautiful and inspirational in their own right. Use the catalogues to get inspiration, and then make your flower or vegetable seed choices.
Believe me, after an hour or so of this, you’ll be itching to get outdoors, sowing and growing for this year’s colourful and productive garden!
Now is a great time to go to the garden centre and buy compost. You will get the pick of the best because stocks will be high, and many garden centres offer half prices or other worthwhile compost-purchasing incentives during January and February. Look out for the Westland and Gro-Sure brands to be sure of the best start for seed sowing and potting.