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2011 in the garden


by James Alexander-Sinclair

Rather than pestering you with annoying resolutions which few people outside a hilltop monastery can manage, I will, instead, give you a list of wishes...


Cast of the head of Michelangelo's David, covered in snowJanuary already: Christmas neatly tucked away and another year of fabulous gardening stretching away ahead of us. The beginning of the year is the time for fresh starts and change but, rather than pestering you with annoying resolutions which few people outside a hilltop monastery or without the rugged dedication of Chris Beardshaw can manage, I will, instead, give you a list of wishes…...

May this be the year that your roses remain untroubled by aphids.

May your courgette plants produce exactly enough fruit without ever making you despair of finding ways to eat them.

May you never accidentally bury your favourite trowel and only find it a year later.

May your pumpkins swell to the size of small hippopotami.

May your carrots spit in the eyes of carrot flies.

May the hairy bittercress develop a social conscience and stop reproducing itself in such a profligate manner.

May your seedlings never dampen off.

May your compost miraculously turn while you are not looking.

May the rain only fall during the hours of darkness or when you are at work: never at the weekends.

May your bindweed throttle itself.

May your neighbour's cat be less generous with its toilette.

May all your trees grow straight and true.

May all your post-digging back aches disappear after a hot bath and a glass of something restorative.

May the caterpillars discover that synchronized swimming is infinitely preferable to cabbage munching.

May your tomatoes be strangers to blight.

May you always have just the right number of pots to hand when pricking out.

May the mice be so full of cheese that they have no room left to fill up on your tulip bulbs and sweet pea seedlings.

May the autumn leaves fall into a neat pile.

May your wheelbarrows never get punctures and the handles of your spades never snap at inconvenient moments.

OK. I suppose most of these are all a bit fanciful and unlikely. And anyway, if there were none of the problems then gardening would be just plain dull!

Happy New Year to you all.



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Talkback: 2011 in the garden
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Gardeners' World Web User 01/01/2011 at 06:47

Much as I loved Monty Don's Round the World in 80 Gardens, and much as I am delighted to hear that he is well enough to be able to present a popular show like Gardeners' World again, I am very disappointed that Toby Buckland and Alys Fowler will not be in the new series. What's going to happen to Greenacre? For those of us who still have a lot to learn, Toby and Alice were essential viewing. My heart sinks at the thought of more grandiose plans for making tropical gardens in areas the size of a postage stamp, not to mention the endless trials of lawn mowers, etc.. It seems that the way we award accolades to our gardening presenters is by comparing them to the great gardeners of the past. If we truly want a successor to Geoff Hamilton, it has to be Toby: above all, Geoff was a practical man who brought gardening within the grasp of everyone, however small their plot, however small their wallet. Could we not agree that there is space for all these different approaches, and if there are so many people interested in gardening, why can't we have two Gardeners' World programmes a week - a hands-on, get down and dirty one with Toby and Alice, and an Extra one with Monty and the rest of the team? I'm keen on gardening, not just garden-related items, and I shall dearly miss Greenacre and watching it develop.

Gardeners' World Web User 01/01/2011 at 08:24

I liked your 2011 wishlist, especially: "May the caterpillars discover that synchronized swimming is infinitely preferable to cabbage munching." That is my garden problem number one, no I mean challenge.

Gardeners' World Web User 01/01/2011 at 11:27

I have one wish - that more people will think like Matthew Wilson(I had his book"New Gardening" for Xmas) and our own Kate and see their garden as part of the greater picture of nature. Happy New Year everyone.

Gardeners' World Web User 01/01/2011 at 19:25

I enjoyed that book - I have even made the wildlife bench in my wilder area of the garden. It is enjoyed by the visiting gang of pheasants as anything up to 16 of them jostle on it.So I will agree with your wish completely. Equally good in the garden were the insect boxes I copied from Toby (although one was used as a snack bar by a woodpecker). So my wish would be to see Toby back with some of his great ideas too.

Gardeners' World Web User 02/01/2011 at 08:19

Love the post. May my polytunnel with stand the weight of snow.

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