Fireside planning involves sitting down with a notebook, seed catalogue and a few good gardening books or magazines. Or the more technology savvy individual may prefer using an app on the iPad or a garden design software package, and who knows perhaps even some pre-recorded episodes of Gardeners World will provide inspiration! For this is the time to plan your gardening for the year ahead.
The plan can be a schedule of things 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 be planted, (towards the back of the border, so that they form a backdrop to the smaller plants in front). If you decide not to go down the digital route then graph paper is best for drawing your new feature as it will be to scale.
Anyone wanting a good basic range of plants should make a visit to their local garden centre for 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. However, sometimes you may want something just that little bit different – perhaps something more specialised, and this is where seed and plant catalogues come in to their own for 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, 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 pick up some compost from your local garden centre. You will get the pick of the best as stocks will be high, also many garden centres have half price offers 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.