New Year, New Garden?

Actually, to a gardener in the South, that’s a bit of a fantasy. With so many sunny and pleasant winter days outside, the garden never really does get “put to rest.” Tools don’t quite make it to storage in the tool shed well-oiled and cleaned, and the gardener herself only has a few indoor days by the fire to contemplate next year’s seed catalogs.

For the many of us who would gladly exchange a long winter nap for the chance to smell flowers and feel warm sunshine on our backs in January, the gardening season that never ends is just fine!

That doesn’t mean, however, that resolutions for a new year in the garden are not made at this time. The list might include a few items that reappear every year, but something about rolling the calendar over inspires us to make some changes in how, when, or why we do what we do in the garden.

First on our list for 2017: add more plants to feed a variety of birds, giving especial thought to native plants. From past experience we know that every one of these will add years of pleasure to our gardens and lives.

Second resolution: keep up the search for new tools or ways of working that can save on garden labor and time in an ecologically responsible manner. The newest generation of battery-operated tools, updated irrigation or making drainage improvements can all make garden time less laborious and are worth checking out.

Third, but hardly final, resolution: set aside a little time every day to really look at our gardens, photograph them and take notes — this time often gets lost in the rush to complete chores, but pays big dividends in how our gardens stay fresh and enjoyable.

Happy New Year and Happy Gardening!

– Julian, Fearrington Gardener

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