A Gardening New YearAlison Marsden
We are a month into the year and I am musing about when is the start of the gardening year? February certainly sees the beginning of Spring which is generally accepted as time to sow and plant and, of course, when we see new shoots and the first flowers after winter. However there is also a good argument that Autumn is the start of the gardening year after the culmination of a year’s efforts is harvested and preparation starts anew.
In truth, gardening does not really have a ‘New Year’ moment, more of a continuous ebb and flow rather than beginning and ending. There is always something in flower, something fading and plenty still to come. Through growing and nurturing our gardens we stay connected to the seasons and the progress of nature’s year. And this is just one of the ways that gardening is good for us: research shows that connecting to, and feeling part of, the natural world, supports our mental health and resilience as well as making us more likely to consider the environmental impacts of our everyday choices. Gardening encourages us to focus on the present with flowers to admire and fruit and veg to harvest, and on the future. We sow, plant and prune now for rewards in the months or even years to come. Gardeners do look back but with so much outside our control it is a lesson not to dwell on past failures. We look back to appreciate afresh the joy of a beautiful summer border or to laugh and learn that no single family can keep up with eating the produce from a whole row of courgettes. We reminisce with a fellow gardener that it was a vintage year for Roses and hope that next summer is the same. Because gardening also makes you an optimist. However disastrous your Sweetpeas / Runner beans / Insert your personal disappointment here, there is always next year and always a friendly soul to offer the odd tip.
There are signs that 2021 may eventually turn out better than 2020 and I can assure you that whatever happens in the wider world, down in my garden the tomato harvest will be spectacular. How do I know? Well surely I must have perfected the art after all these years of “experimenting”, surely this must be my year for tomato success!
Happy Gardening from Alison
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