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Gardening Plans for the New Year

The new year is a perfect time to reflect on your garden and look to the future. Make changes and be inspired to try something different. Winter is also a great time to look at how we garden. Here are some ideas.

Plant a treeā€¦or two. Planting a tree is like planting the future. Trees are essential to life as we know it; their benefits are endless. Trees provide winter structure and a home to biodiverse wildlife and fungi. Ornamental and fruit trees provide crops for insects, birds and us.

Pussy willows, with their fluffy silver catkins, are packed with nectar and pollen for early emerging bumblebees and are a hit with caterpillars and moths; crab apples produce clouds of blossom and generous crops of fruit and are brilliant pollinating partners for other apple trees. Large trees like London Plane and Common Alder are great for screening.

Tree planting in winter

These incredible carbon sequesters give us oxygen, mitigate atmospheric and noise pollution and prevent soil erosion, reducing flooding. Trees are natural windbreaks and air conditioners, keeping us cool, shaded and shielded from the elements.

Go peat-freeSwap peat compost for peat-free alternatives. It is vital we protect our precious peatlands; globally they hold twice as much carbon as forests so keeping them intact will help to combat climate change. Ashridge offers an extensive organic peat-free range by RocketGro, from nutritious BlackGold and Soil Improver to vegetable planters and mulch.

Grow your own soft fruitNothing beats the excitement of picking your own fruit and tasting that delicious sweet juice for the first time, and many soft fruit bushes can even be planted in a container on a patio. Plant blueberries, blackberries, raspberry canes, gooseberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants for a zero-miles home harvest.

Raspberry picking in July

Go organic. Protect pollinators and wildlife by using organic methods of weed control. Neudorff WeedFree Plus and Neudorff Organic Moss & Algae Killer utilise Pelargonic acid, an organic approved extract from plants in the Pelargonium family, rather than harmful chemicals. Use organic feed like Vitax Organic Rose Food, Neudorff Organic Rose Feed and Neudorff Organic Tomato Feed. Our gardens are biodiverse ecosystems so keep them healthy and let nature do the work organically!

Encourage wildlife into your garden. Help insects by planting pollinator-friendly plants. Grow viburnum, mahonia and ivy for winter habitat, pollen and nectar, spring flowering bulbs, swathes of lavender for bees and butterflies in summer and berberis, dogwood and cotoneaster; birds will love the autumn berries.

Bumble Bee on Hidcote Lavender

Spend more time gardening. This is the most important resolution of them all. Modern life can be busy, but try to make time to enjoy your garden. Gardening is immensely beneficial for your mental and physical well-being, so get out in the garden and feel energised. Take stock of what you achieved last year, and look forward to a fabulous new year equally full of plants and possibilities.

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