I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, seeing them as a tool for making children do their homework or helping adults to forswear inelegant or insanitary habits. I refuse to beat myself up on the last day of December, because I still drink, swear and all of the holiday feasting has done nothing to shift any excess weight. Outdoors is a different matter; while I’m waiting for my champagne hangover to recede, the tiny part of my brain that is still functioning is full of horticultural determination.
Rain soaked back garden
As soon as I can face the chill, I’m going to clear my potting shed of all of the crappo which I’ve kept through umpteen house moves, on the grounds that it might be handy in the future. Bizarre equipment and carunculated containers which have been stored for twenty years will be passed to a charity shop for someone else to curate in their collection of useless scrot. I can use a power drill but my constructs are neither level nor durable, therefore I propose to butter up Attila, in order to acquire a sturdy, horizontal shelf for practical storage of effective kit such as flower pots. Strange soil mixtures will be evaluated ruthlessly and evicted to the compost heap if found wanting. I shall install hooks around the walls for hanging up my extensive compilation of spades, forks, rakes and loppers. Then each may be seized in triumph, without the customary loss of temper upon finding that the shears I need are buried beneath a modern sculpture of rusting rubbish.
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern)
I’m going to fix the lawn. I’ve had a relaxed attitude in the past, thinking that if it’s green, it will be adequate. I paddled with it all last year, spritzing about with weed and moss killer in a desultory fashion. I have applied fertiliser on odd occasions but this just encourages the dandelions, which also seem to relish the selective herbicides. I’m determined to dig the bastards out, if poison doesn’t do the trick. Many gardeners channel extermination when dallying with a trowel, so I’m going to see if that works for me. I mean to untangle and rationalise my hoard of strimmer line. Don’t hold your breath for this one, it’s a vow that I’ve made before.
Pieris (lily of the valley shrub) & Ammi (bishop’s weed)
I shall tackle my seed library in a calm, rational manner. I plan to scatter the contents of all of the old packets on to the empty Dahlia bed in spring. I will not label them, or get my knickers in a twist about what has failed or is growing in the wrong place. I love surprises so go on garden, thrill me. The remainder will be cosseted in appropriate conditions for germination, according to the right time in the instructions, and will be kept in the cold frame for no more than a few months. I promise not to keep any more trays of festering compost in the slim hope that despite all evidence to the contrary, they might sprout something pretty. That should do for a start; if I can encompass these intentions, I could try for others. Behind the house it doesn’t matter but exposed to the gaze of neighbours in the front, I should stop scratching where it itches.