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2013 in the garden

Posted: Monday 31 December 2012
by James Alexander-Sinclair

New Year’s Eve. A defining moment, the joys and traumas of Christmas behind us and the blank page of 2013 stretching ahead like a freshly hoovered carpet.


Tagetes flowers

New Year’s Eve. A defining moment, the joys and traumas of Christmas behind us and the blank page of 2013 stretching ahead like a freshly hoovered carpet. The question is whether, for us gardeners, that carpet will be lush shag pile or meagrely tufted economy blend.

Last year was not a good year as there was too much rain and general bleariness for anything much to thrive. Vegetables drowned and fruit never really came to much, roses were battered by showers and meadows were flattened. Thank goodness or the Olympics with all that stirring sportiness to occupy our minds - and also for the tantalising glimpses of the Olympic plantings of James Hitchmough, Nigel Dunnett and Sarah Price. Perhaps they will all be given baronetcies in tomorrow’s New Year’s Honours list.

This year will, we hope, be different and the sun will shine on all our endeavours. I am not really a fan of New Year Resolutions as I feel one is just setting oneself up for disappointment but, in the interests of fearlessly honest journalism, here are three:

I want to grow marigolds. I know they seem frightfully old fashioned and not at all sexy but I think it is time for a revival. In particular a tall (about 1.5m high) variety called a Tagetes ‘Cinnabar’, which is dark red.

I must go and visit more gardens. There are so many wonderful places in this country and I have visited shamefully few of them. Likewise I need to go to more small nurseries. The horticultural industry in this county is struggling and we all need to support our local suppliers. We also need to encourage young people to go into gardening: it is a fabulous profession. Perhaps not the highest paid, but undoubtedly one of the most satisfying. We have a grand tradition of great gardening in this country and this is something worth protecting.

I would like to learn how to weld. This is not really very gardenish but all the same I think it would be fun. All those sparks and Robocop masks.

I am sure you have your own resolutions - good luck to you all and Happy New Year.



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happymarion 31/12/2012 at 09:20

Happy New Year to you too, James and my resolution is the same as it has been for as many years as I can remember for just that - to make it is happy as I can and that goes for the garden too. I mean to enjoy it rain or shine but a bit more shine would be good as you say. I know "Into every life a little rain must fall" but this has been much more than a little!

flowering rose 31/12/2012 at 22:06

I love Marigolds,I grew the common old fashion ones this year and they such a long lasting show and were the only plant that did so well.I grew them on my front border and they looked stunning even if I say so myself.I wish you a very happy new year and may it bring you a lovely summer and happy hours of garening.

gardenning granny 03/01/2013 at 19:47

My alternative last year was to grow gaillardias which put on a fantastic show all summmer until November!

My new years resolution is to plant more self-saved seed, and more unusual seed collected as I travel around.  Only problem is knowing where to plant the successes when I discover what it is I have grown!  So far I have 6 golden rain trees, grown from sseed collected at a motorway service station in France, and probably far too big for my small garden and several Wisteria from pods of my Wisteria "Lawrence".  These I will grow on in pots out of curiosity to see what happens in ten years time!

Elizabeth Bellis-Sheldon 05/01/2013 at 12:06

Like you I don't like marigolds but I found an old bed beneath massive & dense weeds in the front of our French cottage bordering a road. The bed has very poor soil & is very dry, I chucked marigold seeds around with gay abandon & unfortunately I forgot them for weeks whilst making new borders around the rest of the cottage but when I did check on them they were magnificent & flowered abundently with very little care right through until the first frost in November. Bad soil, very hot, 2,500ft above sea level & they still performed - marvellous!

Andrew walton 28/02/2013 at 20:44

hi got a qweshton about sowing clematis seeds sowd twis but not havin g eny look i wood apeshea a bit of advisedif you have any thancks andrew