January, it’s a bit of a weird month; after all the hype of December and despite the start of new beginnings, it can seem a little grey and drab. At times I can be quite a fan of January, especially those crisp, frosty, blue-sky, walking outdoors kind of days, but often it feels too long of a slog til the first taste of spring. For me, it feels like, ‘head-down, work hard’ and plan for brighter times ahead; here’s just a few of my Green Plans for 2022:
Whilst my Grandma’s Garden had really taken shape by the end of summer ’21, we now need to rethink & design the ‘other side’ (remember it’s the size of a postage stamp, we both have delusions of grandeur!). Thoughts for that area at the moment, include herb garden, fruit & veg patch, with Mediterranean style planting.
Our home garden
Meanwhile in our garden at home, there’s signs of life popping up. Snowdrops are a bit slow, but the mahonia is looking rather majestic and the pulmonaria already has a few flowers, which will be great for those early bees in spring. Soon we’ll be making our annual pilgrimage to Hulme Community Garden Centre for seed potatoes, and we’ll be planning & preparing the veg beds ready for the growing year. There will be nothing new growing in the veg beds this year, we’ll just be sticking to the stuff that grows well, onions, peas, broad beans, that kind of stuff. I’m giving up on sweetcorn though, we give it a try every year, but I don’t think we get enough sun, and it takes up so much room, for such a disaster.
I feel like I’ve nailed caring for carnivorous plants, so this year I’m going to dabble at growing sarracenia from seed. Mum & Dad gifted me a kit from Hampshire Carnivorous Plants and I’ll keep you posted on how that grows.
Speaking of gifts, Mum put in a request for a ‘rhododendron luteum’ after she’d spotted one whilst on holiday in Scotland and kept sniffing its heady aroma. The power of Twitter soon ID’d the plant and a nursery were in touch to say they could supply it (thanks Charlie at Grenville Nursery – not an ad, I paid for it). We’re going to eventually plant it in this new space in the lower garden, but there’s a lot of work needed to do there, so for now, it’s in a pot.
The Great Outdoors
I have grand plans to continue exploring the moors on my doorstep, many a night you can find me and my Dad checking out OS maps of the area. There’s plans for high-tides at the Dee Estuary, booming bittern spotting in spring at RSPB reserves (fourth time lucky?!?!?) and fellow nature nerds to hook up with. We’ve also booked holidays to our fav UK places – Llangrannog, the Cairngorms, Kintyre peninsula, New Forest and Dorset – we remain optimistic that we’ll get there!
I returned to sixth form college this week and unlike the dread I used to feel at school, I was actually looking forward to it. Testament to the fact that I’m a full-term in and I proper love it. Lots of people ask, ‘what you studying?’, the answer ‘A’ Levels in Biology, Geography and Drama. Do I have plans for University? at the moment, no. My future ambitions change all the time, whilst I’ve always wanted to do TV presenting, I’m still aware I need that ‘extra bit of knowledge about my subject’ and therefore would perhaps like an apprenticeship at a garden. It’s a watch this space though – something else will pop into my head by next week!
Campaigns & Ambassador Roles
Covid has stopped some of the school visits I had planned as part of my Ambassador role with the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, hoping things settle soon, as I really enjoy doing them. **If you work in a school or children’s community garden perhaps, then please get in touch I’d love to visit, it really is something I enjoy doing.**
As the Young Ambassador for the British Dragonfly Society I do a bit of writing and record videos to help raise awareness of the benefits of a wildlife pond & garden – looking forward to PondWatch this year.
I’ll also continue to get involved in conservation & environmental campaigns, such as the one about banning the retail sale of peat-based products.
Some of you may know, I got myself a job at the shop of dreams, Heyrod Food & Floral. It’s my local shop and my boss and the staff are great. It’s like the perfect job for me. Blimey, it was WELL busy at Christmas.
I’ll also be picking up my voluntary work for RSPB Dovestones soon, I know there’s lots of willow pinning and sphagnum planting to do – that’s pretty hard graft too.
I have to say I’ve missed sitting staring in the pond, checking out the life that lives below; I absolutely cannot wait for the first sign of frogspawn and emerging dragonflies. There’s a bit of landscaping and planting work still to do in the new section of the pond, Dad and I are ready to go with that when the weather improves.
It’s the Big Garden Birdwatch 28 – 30th January, now that’s always something to look forward to.