The article below is written by a local professional garden designer, Gary Baverstock, who offers a range of gardening services and Rye News has been considering ways to support local businesses during this difficult time.
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This past year has proven to me just how important our gardens and outdoor spaces really are. We need them for our mental health, exercise and for the simple joy of being amongst plants and nature. Whether it’s a community garden, window box, estate or courtyard garden, stepping outside and pottering in the garden are truly delightful and rewarding experiences.
For me, as a full-time gardener and designer, winter is a time to relax and reflect upon the gardening year. Taking advantage of the winter evenings to cherish our gardening successes of this past year and, yes, sometimes failures, as we all have them!
Winter is the perfect time to cast a critical eye over our gardens. As the abundance of summer plantings are cleared away, the structure of the garden is revealed, offering opportunities to tweak bed lines, add new borders, paths, benches and other focal points that set the stage on which the garden is built. Plants are clearly the stars of the show. However, each and every element of the garden is built upon the foundation of the one before.
Seeing the wood for the trees
It’s hard to “see the wood for the trees” sometimes. This is where the services of a professional gardener and designer, like myself, can help. I can take a fresh look at your garden, bringing new ideas, insight and solutions. Often a full design is required. But sometimes it is simpler than that with a few a few hours of “walking and talking” in the garden or some plain old fashioned “hands in the soil” gardening.
Drawing from my many years of practical experience and professional expertise. I’m sensitive to the needs of my clients and their gardens. I’m also respectful of the environment, animals and insects that share our gardens with us. I encourage the use of organic-biodynamic, veganic and earth-friendly gardening practices.
There are many ways in which we can work together. Take a look at the “garden galleries” on my website, a series of inspirational photographs of projects large and small. This year I’ve embarked on a new venture. Designing and making garden products using found, re-cycled and repurposed materials, including oak, at my workshop in Hastings. These can be found on the “shop” page of my website.
As plant catalogues begin to arrive, signalling that winter is here and spring not very far off. Bursting with new cultivars and sumptuous images of flowers, they tempt us with a buffet of plants that are hard to resist! But resist we must….to a point! I’m guilty of buying plants and then struggle to find room for them. I need their inspiration. I can’t help it! It’s necessary for the gardener’s soul. But planning is key. Pick a place and then find the perfect plant for it.
Take the time to enjoy these winter months to reflect, plan and rest. Get ready for spring!
Here are some practical things to do this winter in the garden:
- Think about adding scented winter flowering shrubs, trees and
perennials. Such as mahonia, sarcococca, hamamelis and daphne.
Placing them near entrances and pathways.
- Plants with colourful stems are also great for adding winter interest. Cornus, prunus, betula all have fantastic winter bark.
- Review the structure of your garden
- Plan what to plant and where
- Winter prune apple and pear Trees
- Empty and clean out pots in readiness for spring
- Organise your seed packets
- Mulch borders to prevent weeds
- Welcome more wildlife to the garden by adding a water source, roosting
and nesting sites and plants that provide food throughout the year.
- Visit gardens that are open to the public. This a great time of year to
look at the physical structure of the gardens.
- Local gardens to visit in Spring include include Sissinghurst, Great Dixter, Batemans and Pashley Manor.
See also the image gallery on Baverstock Gardens
Image Credits: Baverstock Gardens , Gary Baverstock .