Louise Curley

23 Mar 2023 09:13

Garden Plans for 2023


For me one of the joys of gardening is always having ideas buzzing around my head about what I’d like to do, whether that’s tweaking the planting or finding another area in the garden where I can grow more flowers. I start to mull over ideas in January and February, but it’s March when I start to put my plans into action.

Water-wise Containers

Last summer’s heatwave and drought made having to water lots of pots hard work, particularly as we were trying to conserve water instead of using the hosepipe we were recycling washing up water. So this year I’ve decided that fewer pots and ones that are a decent size is the way to go. The larger containers will hold on to moisture for longer, so I should need to water these every three to four days at the most, rather than every day which I was having to do for the smaller containers last summer.

I’ve just bought this large metal trough from a local agricultural supplier. I have a few of these already along with some old zinc baths I bought at flea markets. I like to stick to one or two materials for pots as it creates a more unified look across the garden and the metal troughs are a feature of the local landscape where they’re used for livestock, so it makes the garden feel like it sits within its surroundings. They do take a lot of topsoil and compost to fill but once I have I don’t need to empty them each year, instead each spring I scrape away the top 5cm or so of compost and replace this with fresh. The plan is to plant it with pollinator-friendly plants such as agastache and scabious and the wafty grass Pennisetum villosum. This grass would probably struggle on my heavy clay soil over winter, so it stands a better chance of survival in a container with good drainage.


Climbers and Fruit

Another plan is to plant a climber to scramble up a wall of the shed it’s a sunny spot so I’m thinking of a climbing rose, one that has a wonderful scent and open centres so that it will attract wildlife.

I’ll also be rejigging the productive beds where I grow a bit of food and flowers for cutting. The strawberries have supplied us with good crops but last year they ran out of steam. This is normal for strawberry plants which ideally should be replaced with young plants every three years. So late last summer we pegged down runners into pots and when the runners had developed decent roots we severed the long stems from the parent plants and planted up the new strawberry plants. I now need to dig out the old strawberries and refresh the soil where they are growing so that I can grow some lettuce and spring onions there this summer.

Indoor Blooms

I normally grow annuals for cutting, but this year I’m going to focus more on perennial plants instead. Again this is a sustainability decision. Annuals take a lot of time and resources to get them from seed to flowering and they only survive for one year, whereas perennials come with an initial outlay but will come back year after year. The plan is to focus on wild, naturalistic plants such as ox-eye daisies, scabious and salvias for pretty meadow-like arrangements.