Mistakes...I've Made a Few

This is the best time of year to analyse your garden and see where things can be improved. It’s when gaps appear in beds and borders, crops tussle with each other for space and the panes in the greenhouse crack under the ever-burgeoning force of foliage, flowers and fruit.

Of course, I would like to say that my own plot is perfect. I’d like to say that but I would be lying. This is, after all, gardening and we all must realise that nothing is ever perfect nor is it complete. We are only curators easing and coaxing our plots towards an untouchable end game. So, in the interests of progress, here are my own improvement notes on my own plot, as it stands in midsummer:

Plan more: I get a bit excited when it comes to planting time. My current passion is for dahlias. I love them but have crammed too many plants into too small a space. They are blooming marvellous but a devil to pick, water and feed. And the stalks holding the flowers are ever so slightly thin and watery. More space = squatter and stronger plants (but they do look good this year!) A little bit of planning will sort that out. And self-control. 

Remember what’s in a family: I’ve previously mentioned that I was missing growing brassicas. I’d forgotten about a short row of turnips. They are brassicas, not the big blowsy individuals I was on about, but brassicas all the same. I had forgotten but spotted cabbage white butterflies hovering over the plot and on inspection found the small orangy-yellow eggs on the underside of the leaves. Oh yes, they are brassicas all right. If I had remembered, I might not have a lacy leaf problem on my hands. 

Label: I always convince myself that I can remember every variety I’m growing. I am sadly deluded. Actually, I can for about a day and then, in the melee of spring gardening tasks, I can’t remember the particular variety of carrot, tomato or hollyhock. Labels are the answer. And they don’t have to be white plastic, but they are cheap, as posh looking versions will add a touch of sophistication to any garden. Gotta label more next year (and this year for autumn-sown sweet peas etc).

Get in early: I have electricity in my greenhouse so I am definitely going to get heated propagators in use. They will get the season off to a flying start and help my anguish watching the weather forecasts. 

Move: not house and garden but a few plants. I have a row of roses that just haven’t got growing, are always first to succumb to diseases and, to be honest, will do better anywhere else in the garden than where they are now. I’ll do it in autumn when the plants won’t notice the move and get them settled in elsewhere. Same thing goes for a few herbaceous. Verbena bonariensis is falling over the pathway and needs to be nudged back a bit; my lupins are in the wrong place as they are a focal point and fade once into July; and my catmint needs a rejig. Looks like autumn is going to be busy. 

Just add water: I don’t currently have a pond in the garden. I need one. I want to encourage the newts, frogs and toads back in. I need that wild life balance. It’s a perfect winter project. 

It’s looking busy over the next year. And then I can do this exercise of self-analysis all over again and the list will be longer.

And that’s the beauty of gardening. It never stops evolving.