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January in the Garden 2021

Thursday, 14 January 2021  |  Alison

With renewed hope for the good health of everyone worldwide in 2021, the vastness of those words still seems a little optimistic sitting her, warm and cosy, in front of my scribbling machine, thinking about my garden, its summer flowers & veggies and plants in general.  But it has been in our gardens that the everyday tasks of sowing, growing, nurturing, harvesting and eating of vegetables and growing flowers have brought millions of us great comfort over the past downright scary COVID-19 pandemic year.  

So, with preparation in mind, here are my indoor ‘to do’ gardening notes for January –

Planning what to grow, possibly altering borders, moving plants or choosing a new fruit tree can all be researched on the cold and uninvitingly dull days of January. Looking through old copies of gardening magazines, reference books, online trawling of Pinterest & Instagram gardening pages or seeing what your favourite gardener is doing on their website all bring inspiration and possibilities to your own slice of heaven.

If you can’t visit any of the RHS or National Trust gardens or other large visitor gardens, look on their websites to see how their gardening ideas have changed over the last year. Take out a subscription to a gardening magazine so you have something to look forward to dropping through the letterbox every month.  

Colours that you may not have had in your garden before, like yellows or oranges, can be planted either in a pot for a pop of colour or used in a large swathe of repeated colour in a long border.  Dahlias, petunias, foxgloves, pansies and begonias spring to mind. Remember too that yellows are not just for sunny borders. They bring light to shady areas too when used with silvers and soft blues. We have some fabulous new plants for 2021 on our website so take a peek when you have a moment www.brooksidenursery.co.uk

Planting soft fruits - is one of the things many of us would like to do but don’t think we have enough room.  Well, the easiest way to grow soft fruits is firstly to choose the ones you like to eat and then grow them in a large pot. 

***At Brookside Nursery we have, for the first time, a small but comprehensive range of easy-to-grow established soft fruit plants that will keep you picking all summer long. Look on our website Fruit for Winter Planting - Brookside Nursery to pick which ones you would like to try. Maybe also choose one you haven’t tried before like the unique Jostaberry, a cross between a black currant and a gooseberry.

Houseplant care - I am betting many of you had a new houseplant over Christmas and New Year and are now thinking ‘what the hec do I do to keep it alive for at least another month?’

Christmas Poinsettias will invariably fail as they hate cold, draughts, too much water and too much heat so a bit tricky but make the most of them whilst they look good then pop them onto the compost.  

Orchids are more forgiving, but are tropical plants so make sure they have warmth, humidity, a bright spot but not in direct sunlight and enough water during flowering but less once flowers have faded. 

Ferns have gained in popularity now as houseplants but do not like to dry out, especially the more delicate looking fronded varieties, so mist them regularly and place them in a hanging basket or macrame rope basket to showcase their beauty and position in a partly shady spot.

Air Plants –A little maintenance required to keep these little beauties thriving but its worth it as they are so unusual, growing without soil.  Place in a bright but not south facing spot with good air circulation and if the air is not humid, like in a bathroom, mist regularly with rainwater preferably.  Every month or so give them a half an hour. dunking in tepid rainwater to revive them and boost with some orchid feed added to your mister.   A bright bathroom/shower room windowsill is ideal for air plants as it mimics the hot and humid conditions of a tropical climate.

Microgreens - Easy and quick to grow from seed indoors on the windowsill. Cut and come again young seedlings are packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients that our diets may be lacking in winter and are invaluable when added to salads and sandwiches. Choose microgreens that have coloured stems like micro rainbow chard, sweet corn shoots and red amaranth - they are a fun way to introduce children to growing and eating their own food. Look on www.wildgreens.co.uk  site for more ideas.

(Photo Credit Graham Thomas)

Birdwatching from our windows has surged in popularity over the last year of confinement and has increased our enjoyment of our outdoor garden space.  It can be done from anywhere and it is remarkable how many bird species can be seen when you put a peanut feeder or fat balls up in a tree or hanging from a bird feeding station.  In my garden I regularly feed the birds (and squirrels) and have seen flighty families of long-tailed tits, blackbirds, blue tits, a solitary wren, squawking starlings, great tits, thrushes and the territorial thugs that are robins. I know, but I still love them.  Magpies like to swoop in and my fat pigeons wait patiently to pick up the titbits that fall to the ground.  

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2021 (See their website for details) is on from 29th -31st January so get your binoculars and a mug of hot chocolate ready to join in with the count.

Happy Gardening to all of you in 2021

From Alison (Your Brookside Blogger) and the whole team at Brookside Nursery

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Thursday, 10 December 2020  |  Alison
December in the Garden 2020

Looking back, and more importantly, looking forward - Well, who would have thought it, we have made it this far folks.  With the current lockdown due to be eased somewhat for December, as I write, Christmas is in the running again.........

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Monday, 16 November 2020  |  Alison
November in the Garden 2020

November is that in between month when we gardeners dash out into the garden for twenty minutes before rain stops play for a while and the housework or house maintenance beckons. This year, however, with more time being spent at home, gardening and just being in a green space has become even more important to our well-being.  An inner need to reconnect with the solidness of the earth and the everchanging natural world has given us the chance to be aware of our surroundings and many of us have been able to appreciate the seasons in all their glory............

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Wednesday, 7 October 2020  |  Alison
October in the Garden 2020

I like to think of October as late summer rather than autumn. It gives me a more positive feeling, like summer is still carrying on.  But the fact is, this month sees a lot of change in the garden.  The light is more dappled as the sun becomes lower in the sky and the days and nights become cooler. It is darker a bit earlier every day and usually it’s a windier, rainier month.........

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