The Stopwatch Gardener

A gardening blog from Sheila M. Averbuch

Garden resolutions 2011: hug a tree, sit for a bit


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Before I blogged, I never made New Year’s resolutions, much less wrote them down. It’s funny to look over what I resolved a year ago. Happily, I managed two of the four resolutions I made: I don’t scream at toads anymore, and I even knocked apologetically on a few tiles I had to shift earlier today, hoping nothing was asleep beneath it. I also managed to grow food pretty successfully for the first time in 2010: just lettuces, spring onions, a few tomatoes and herbs, but it was exciting, and the children seemed genuinely interested and dragged visitors over to examine the raised bed at every opportunity.

So briefly, for 2011:

Don’t look back: never mind about the two resolutions I didn’t manage last year. I’m giving up on trying to make the November border fabulous for the moment, and I didn’t quite manage to bring everything into the cold conservatory that should’ve come in, but, onward!

Sit down more:
if you’re like me, every seat in the garden is a hotseat. Jobs call to me wherever my eyes land, and I’m up again in a few seconds. I’m going to strive to make an area of the garden very sit-friendly: it’s right outside our kitchen and conservatory, and it’s almost completely enclosed by the house walls and boundary fence. I’m thinking serene green, hostas, and a rambling, thornless pale rose (“Lykkefund”, already ordered from Peter Beales) that I’ll train sideways instead of up to cover the cottage walls. There’s a vigorous deep purple clematis, “Polish Spirit”, already in this area and I need to tone it down. I’m unsure whether to put up a pergola or awning or anything at all: the space is narrow, so maybe I should keep the sky above open. If the whole area is simply planted and unfussy, surely it will be easier to sit for more than 60 seconds in the garden?

Give the children what they want:
I told my daughter and son (4 and 5) they could have their own raised bed in a good, sunny spot to do whatever they want with. He’s not so keen, but she is. She said she wants to grow “cucumbers and pink poppies”. We may have to work on that plant selection but I really do want it to be hers. And I’m not going to give up on trying to interest him, either.

Hug the trees: I planted two pears from Ken Muir this year, and I resolve to mind them and the two cobnuts I’m planning to get from Ken this year and plant in half whiskey barrels by the garden gate. @MarkDoc says it’s iffy, but it may work if I keep them pruned and well watered. I can feel an automatic drip irrigation system in my future. I am a neglector of containers, but a lover of nuts. I want these wee trees to live.

What are you resolving to do in your garden this year? Do you think it’s achievable, or are you going more aspirational with your resolutions?

11 Comments to

“Garden resolutions 2011: hug a tree, sit for a bit”

  1. On January 1st, 2011 at 12:31 pm frazzledsugarplummum Says:

    All the best for a happy and productive 2011.

    Mmmmmm, I think I will sit and enjoy the yard more.

  2. On January 1st, 2011 at 9:08 pm Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens Says:

    I have done a lot of gardening with children, both my own (now 21, 20, and 13) and at a homeless shelter in N. Philadelphia. Your resolution to give the children what they want is perfect but you have to stick to that. If your daughter wants cucumbers and pink poppies, don’t try to change that in any way, even if you think she won’t succeed. She will find gardening most rewarding if her successes and failures are her own. I always found handing over a seed or bulb catalogue (Cook’s Garden, Brent and Becky’s) with permission to buy within reason to be quite an inspiration to reluctant gardeners. If that fails, free rein at the garden store among the showy annuals or hens and chickens or even the cacti always works. How about a water garden in a glazed bowl with papyrus (very historical) and fish? Happy New Year, Carolyn

  3. On January 1st, 2011 at 9:12 pm Toni - Signature Gardens Says:

    Well, Lord willing I’m resolving to finish a shade bed area I started in my backyard last year. I’d like to add more seating areas, too. Winter dreams of spring reality 🙂

  4. On January 2nd, 2011 at 12:07 am The StopWatch Gardener Says:

    Thank you Carolyn your comments will stay with me! I was thinking cucs wouldn’t grow outside here in scotland; but I will just let her go for it. my boy today said he will do it too…he wants plants that look like aliens. I will facilitate them and try not to be a butt-insky. Great advice about a trip to the garden centre too, I will let you know how we get on.

  5. On January 2nd, 2011 at 12:10 am The StopWatch Gardener Says:

    Good luck Toni & Frazzled, and thanks for your comments.

  6. On January 3rd, 2011 at 10:46 pm Jean Says:

    Happy New Year, Sheila. I don’t really make resolutions, but I always have a longer list of projects-in-waiting than I can ever accomplish in the time available. This year’s project is to make significant progress on the new serenity garden that will go in a secluded area under some tall white pine trees at the edge of the woods. Your “sit-friendly” area sounds like a wonderful plan.

  7. On January 5th, 2011 at 7:28 pm Christine Laennec Says:

    How wonderful to discover your blog! And thanks so much for stopping by mine. I hadn’t realised there had been a Foggie exhibition in 2005, and I’m sorry to have missed it.
    Gardening – another passion of mine. I have a garden at home – parts of which are shared with our downstairs neighbours – and I also am the chief gardener at my church. Gentle suggestions to self for 2011 are: focus on what’s been accomplished rather than the things that haven’t yet been done; try to work with the cycles of the moon; and lastly, I like your idea to SIT DOWN once in a while. I did try that once last summer, and it started to rain… typical Aberdeen. Edinburgh is a tropical paradise compared to us!

  8. On January 5th, 2011 at 7:59 pm The StopWatch Gardener Says:

    Jean, serenity garden, how wonderful. Are you planting known favourites there or experimenting? I find myself drawn to new plants rather than what I already know for my sitting space.

  9. On January 5th, 2011 at 8:06 pm The StopWatch Gardener Says:

    Christine, thanks for that! Aberdeen weather is challenging. My French friend always gardens by the moon, taught to him by his grandmother. I’d love to hear how you get on. At the moment I am bewitched by dreams of a pergola and paving stones for my seating area, but what I want to be getting on with is the planting plan.

  10. On January 31st, 2011 at 11:20 pm The Stopwatch Gardener | A gardening blog for time-poor plant fanatics » Blog Archive » Why pay for garden design? Says:

    […] New Year’s resolution to sit in the garden more has been on my mind constantly, and I’ve finally resolved to get a garden designer in to help […]

  11. On October 18th, 2011 at 1:17 pm A New Years Garden Resolution List | Glenns Garden Says:

    […] you have because there is always someone who is not as lucky as you are and have a whole lot less.Each year as Christmas starts to fade and the new year is rushing towards us people all over the wor…weeks or months into their resolutions.I myself have done this as long as I remember and I guess […]

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