Happy New Year 2017

Happy New Year to You!

I’ve already been thinking about what I’d like for 2017 and as usual I have a long list of places to go, people to see and lots of things I’d like to do. Writing such a huge list always means that I never manage to complete everything on it. Usually that doesn’t worry me at all because it’s easy to carry things over to the following year and I know that sooner or later I’ll make it happen.

We have plans for our garden too. We are planning to rejig a couple of well established borders, remove some old shrubs that are past their best and update a planting scheme or two. My lovely husband will help me. But I’m not kidding myself … I already know that I’ll probably have to carry some less urgent things over until 2018. But there’s something important on my list that just can’t wait.

In 2017 I want MORE.

  • More Bees
  • More Butterflies
  • More Hoverflies
  • More Birds
  • More Small Mammals

new-year-collage

Dreaming about a beautiful garden full of flowers and wildlife is lovely but I know that action is needed too. I’m saddened by the decline of our native wildlife. Someone has to do something about it! So in 2017 I’m doing more for wildlife than ever before.

agastache

I’ve decided that I’m growing and planting more:

  • Annual Flowers for Cutting such as Cleome, Agastache and Snapdragons in a dedicated cutting patch
  • Wildflowers and a strip of Long Grass at the bottom of the garden for crickets and butterflies.
  • Hedgerow Shrubs including Hawthorn, Elder and Wild Roses to provide berries for birds in autumn and winter.
  • Early Flowering Perennials such as Aquilegia, Viola and Nepeta for an early supply of food for visiting Bees.
  • Companion Plants in the Veg Plot to attract Hoverflies and Ladybirds which will feed on aphids.
  • Sweet Peas & Flowering Herbs in containers and our herb bed for Hoverflies and other beneficial insects
  • Ornamental Grasses, Teasels and Sunflowers which produce masses of seeds for wild birds and small mammals.

new-year-image

It won’t cost a great deal. I love to grow my own plants from seed and cuttings. It’s easy and quicker than you might imagine.
I’m starting with hardwood cuttings this month to add to the hedgerow. I rather fancy growing some more Willow for their colourful winter stems and beautiful fluffy catkins which also provide an early source of pollen for bees. I’m also sowing Sweet Peas again and Cleome and Antirrhinum (Snapdragons) too.

sweet-peas-jar

I know that whatever we do here in our garden has a massive impact on wildlife. Despite lots of mature trees there were virtually NO wild creatures here when we moved in. We’ve added hedges and a pond, distinct planting schemes for specific areas and lots of nest boxes. We don’t use any chemicals at all. I believe that they harm our wild creatures. Our flowers are scented and draw in bees, moths and butterflies just as we hoped. Now we have hedgehogs, bats, wild birds galore, masses of insects and small mammals including wood mice and voles visiting our garden. If you’d like to know more about our garden and wildlife you are welcome to read more.

Just imagine what we could achieve if everyone ditched the chemicals and gardened with wildlife in mind! As well as the most gorgeous colourful scented gardens I am sure we’d all have clouds of butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects too.

verbenabutterflies

Love GillianWhat are your plans for your garden this year?
Are you growing plants specifically for wildlife?
Will you be ditching the chemicals?

Wishing you a Very Happy & Flowery 2017!

 

 

26 thoughts on “Happy New Year 2017

  1. These are beautiful plans for 2017.. Anything that boosts our insect and wild life is wonderful. And your plan sounds great.. Loved your photo’s and I hope all of your Dreams for your Garden come to fruition..
    Love and Blessings for a wonderful Happy Healthy, fun filled 2017..
    Happy New Year
    Sue

  2. Happy New Year Gillian! Your message is so important and I hope we can convince more and more people to garden organically for the wildlife. Most of my plants are chosen for their value to the wildlife. I definitely need to plant more shrubs with berries for the birds this year. Good luck with all your projects!

    1. Thanks very much Cathy. Cutting out chemicals is so easy and insect populations recover quickly with the right food plants and habitat. It amazes me that some gardeners still spray poisons around and then wonder where all the bees and butterflies have gone! I’d love it if what I write here encourages readers to try going organic and see their gardens improve in the process.

    1. You know me and my long lists of things to do! We can always squeeze a few more plants in… especially if it’s time for a border edit. I should have overhauled one big border last year but gave it one last season. It’s well past it’s best now so now is the time. I’m sure the wildlife will love it all Eliza!

      1. Gillian, don’t you think it is better to have many ideas than just sittin’ around thinking you have nothing to do? I do! When I see your lovely flowers I think, “I want those too.” There are so many lovely plants that I see in the UK, but when I look for them in the US they are not available. Bummer! I am just going to have to get a teeny tiny spot there!

      2. Yes I do! I’ve noticed that creative people have ideas spilling out of them all of the time. The trick is learning to focus on the ideas and projects that matter most I think. Otherwise nothing gets done! I’m sorry you can’t find some of our plants in the US. The thing is that our mild climate means we can grow a lot of plants from all over the world… especially China, Japan and the USA so some of the plants you’ve spotted here may not actually be British!

      3. I’ve never even heard of it! Just looked it up and you are right it’s quite lovely. It looks like we’d have to grow it indoors in a Conservatory or Orangery with it being from Australia.

      4. Thanks Cady! Just had a quick look and liked your suggestion. I must admit that I don’t spend much time finding good gardening blogs to follow!

  3. Gillian I’ve never put any chemicals in my garden. I love the bees that come to my Lavandas and the other flowers. In 2016 some Campañoles ate the roots of six large Lavandas and five vivacious flowers. This spring I have to re-plant that part of the garden and I planned to do it with honey plants, Rosemary, Echinacea, Aquilegia, Sweet pea and various annual flowers. And create a new garden area with 6 or 7 Lavandas surrounded by low annual flowers. Reading your list has given me great ideas for the garden. Happy New Year full of love, peace and happiness. My best wishes for the new 365 days ahead, without forgetting the flowers! Greetings from Margarita.

    1. Thanks Leah. It’s human nature to want more! I always want more plants anyway so if I can combine what I love with all the best food plants for wildlife then we all benefit.

  4. Great resolutions for 2017. I’ve never used chemicals on the garden and like you, the amount of wildlife in the garden has increased so much since we began gardening here. It is a practical step we can all take.

    1. Not so much resolutions… just part of a exceedingly long to do list really! I agree that chemical free gardening is the way to go Christina. I think that wild creatures know if you are friendly towards them or not. I’m sure that I can wish to see a bee on a flower I’m photographing and one will arrive and turn towards the camera!

    1. Thanks very much Allison. Happy New Year to you too. I’ve been busy in the garden today collecting leaves again accompanied by a robin and a wild duck snaffling any tasty morsels I uncovered! Looking forward to the warmer weather and lots more lovely insects.

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