With every new year comes the inevitable new year’s resolutions, and whether we stick to them or not it is more than likely that gardeners up and down the country will be spending much of December thinking about how their gardening activities might shape up in 2020. For green fingered enthusiasts, each new year brings a new growing season and an opportunity to learn from last years work, pick up some new gardening tips and think about making some exciting gardening plans for an even better year ahead. Gardening resolutions will look very different for each and every gardener, for some it might be committing to more regular lawn mowing or finally learning how to dig a pond from scratch. For others there might be a slightly more ethical inspiration at hand, such as composting, reducing plastic usage or being less wasteful with water. Whatever the reasons behind your gardening resolutions, there is no better time to be thinking about drawing them up than right now. Here at Tates of Sussex Gardening Centres, our team of friendly experts have a wealth of knowledge and experience in all areas of gardening and are here to help bring your resolutions to light in 2020. If you would like a challenge for the new year but a little stumped at where to begin, here are a few of our favourite gardening new year’s resolutions for you to have a think about.
Gardening For Birds
For many gardeners there is nothing more relaxing and indeed more exciting than sitting back, enjoying the beautiful view of your garden and looking at some beautiful bird species enjoying your green fingered efforts. According to the RHS there are around 30 species of birds that regularly visit our gardens, whether we are aware of them or not! However, perhaps more surprisingly, it has also been recorded that there are over 140 bird species in the UK that could be visiting our gardens, especially if we make that little extra effort to attract them. Choosing the right feeder is one of the first steps to take, a wire mesh feeder is one of the best options for storing peanuts whereas a seed feeder will be perfect for all other types of bird seed. If you are hoping to entice some of the ground feeding bird species such as dunnocks or robins, then try placing food in a wire mesh that is positioned just above ground level. If you choose to use a fat block feeder, be sure to place it in a wire cage and remove any plastic mesh nets that it may have been packaged in as this can be dangerous to some species. Water is also important to encourage birds into the garden, whether that be bird baths or drinking water but try to remember to remove any ice in colder conditions to allow easy access. When thinking about attracting birds to your garden, it is important to think about playing a role in reducing infection and disease, mainly by regularly cleaning feeders and replenishing food. With a little extra effort you should be enjoying a whole world of birds and wildlife in your garden in no time.
Composting and Gardening
Cooking and eating is something we all do every day, whilst some of us like to grow our own fruit, veg and herbs others tend to buy, but either way natural waste of some form is bound to result and one of the best ways to dispose of this is through composting. More and more of us are choosing to compost as it is an incredibly environmentally friendly way of dealing with kitchen and garden waste and can also serve as a fantastic soil improver. What is wonderful about composting is that it can be done any time of year, in almost any sized garden, all you need is a small plot and a container that is fit for purpose. When it comes to setting up a compost bin, one of the most important things to consider is finding a position where the microclimate can remain constant. Any extremes in temperatures can make it more difficult for composting to take effect and of course, one of the most effective environments is warm and moist but with enough allowance for drainage and airflow. One of the best places in the garden to house a compost bin would bin in a shady or lightly shaded areas, which can be convenient as these are often areas where plants struggle to flourish. Getting a good balance in your compost bin can make all the difference, so try to aim for around 25 -50% green materials (such as grass or kitchen waste) with the rest being a brown woody material. The great thing about composting is that once it is set up, it becomes one of the easiest ways to not only dispose of unwanted waste but also potentially bring your gardens health up to scratch too.
Plastic Free Gardening
One of the most topical things a lot of gardeners will be thinking about in the new year will be how to live in a more environmentally friendly capacity, not only in their day to day lives but in their gardening practices too. One of the first steps is to consider a more plastic free way of gardening, and with so many alternative options available on the market now a great way to start is to simply stop buying plastic products. There are now many biodegradable alternatives to plastic pots and statutory, such as bamboo, coconut husks and wood chips which will be far easier on the planet that the sometimes cheaper plastic alternatives. Of course, whilst plastic might be bad for the environment it does tend to be a little less susceptible to damage than the terracotta or ceramic versions. This certainly shouldn’t put you off investing in plastic free pots though, broken ceramic parts for example can be added to soil layers for added drainage and can even help to protect your beloved plants from any unwanted pests. Choosing gardening tools that are made from non-plastic products can also help you in your quest to going plastic-free. Opting for a metal tool over a plastic one should certainly help make a difference, even if it does mean a little tlc is needed every now and then to stave off any potential rust. If like many of us, you already own a number of plastic products then please do continue to use them, use them until they can be used no more and can then think about some alternative products. Here at Tates of Sussex Gardening Centres we are very keen to do everything we can to be a more environmentally friendly business, and have recently at our Mayberry Centre decided to go green. Complete with solar panels, grey water recycling and LED light fittings, this split level shop is constructed from materials of the old workshops that closed in 2008.
Plant A New Tree
A lot of gardeners looking to the new year think about doing something symbolic to their garden such as planting a new tree. There are so many wonderful reasons to plant a tree in the new year, it is a permanent structure, something to commit to and something that you can watch grow and develop as each new year arrives. Planting a new tree in the garden can be a great way to make an instant upgrade to your existing garden design and is also the perfect excuse to get out into the great outdoors in the cold weather and get digging again. Growing a tree can have a lot more uses in a garden than perhaps first thought, it can serve as a fantastic wind break, a provider of privacy, a beautiful focal point and of course, a wonderful home for some stunning bird and wildlife species. Choosing the right tree can be a little confusing, especially with so many options available and it will of course require taking into consideration the space available in your garden to allow for growth over the years. If your garden is a little on the small side then growing something like a sorbus or acer could be a good option. A smaller garden can also be the perfect environment to start growing your own crops, something like a pear or apple tree positioned against a wall could actually be a great space-saving way of growing a new tree.
December at Tates of Sussex Gardening Centres
Of course we have not yet reached 2020 and still have the remainder of December to enjoy in our gardens. This December our team of gardening experts are excited to welcome the arrival of the festive period with you, whether that be caring for cut christmas trees or providing a few extra tips on keeping potted and container grown christmas trees. Across our centres we have a number of exciting festive events and activities taking place for all of the family to get involved with. At the Old Barn Garden Centre children and adults alike can book to have breakfast with Santa which includes not only a delicious breakfast but also a festive craft activity to get your creative juices flowing. If you are looking for a little festive magic, you can also purchase a ticket to visit Santa’s enchanted forest at the Old Barn Gardening Centre. Thanks to the Budding Foundation Charity, visitors can discover a magical christmas themed forest, which includes a number of exciting activities before meeting Santa and receiving a gift. Whilst at South Downs Nursery visitors can experience the magic of Santa’s toy factory, this truly magical experience is operated by The Budding Foundation Charity and tickets should be purchased in advance to avoid disappointment. Here at Tates of Sussex Gardening Centres we stock a range of gardening products and our friendly team are on hand to provide useful gardening tips to help get you going. If you would like any further advice with your gardening needs please do not hesitate to get in touch and a member of our friendly staff will be more than happy to speak with you.