I imagine I am not alone in finding January the least appealing month of the year. Although this year it has been mild by comparison to some, the short days and cool weather make it all feel like a bit of a struggle. Like many keen gardeners, and especially those with an allotment, there is also the massive impatience of wanting to get on and sow some seeds for the forthcoming season. Frustrating though it is, I know from experience there is little to be gained from giving in to that impatience. Instead, this time of year is all about planning and preparation.
Although January is a pretty quiet month in the garden, there can still be features to enjoy. This blog includes twenty images from our own tiny garden capturing a few of the details that have caught my eye in January 2020.
To start the year I’ve set myself a little project for 2020. I will aim to publish 20 photos each month of our small city garden on this blog. I hope that this will allow me to appreciate the details of our little green space and capture the way it evolves and changes through the course of the seasons. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing how the plants I have added to the garden during 2019 establish and mesh together. It will also provide a record of any new features added to the space so I can see what I actually achieve in amongst the juggling of everyday life. Finally, it will hopefully provide a connection to the bugs and beasties I am trying to attract into the garden.
What makes a garden ‘good for kids’? This is something I’ve been pondering since becoming a parent almost two years ago. Disclaimer: this isn’t going to be a post on ten steps to making your garden child friendly. It’s more of a personal musing on what value our tiny urban garden could have to our little boy. The received wisdom on designing a garden with kids in mind is focussed on removing hazards, ensuring your child is contained, and finding sympathetic ways of incorporating play equipment into the space. This all assumes that you have a large enough area to be concerned about these things. With a garden which is less than 30m² there isn’t enough space for running around and playing games, let alone accommodating swings and trampolines!
London is a city in which I have spent plenty of time over the course of my life, but it’s been a couple of years since my last visit. This recent sojourn was prompted by the birthday of one of my oldest and dearest friends, providing a rare opportunity for a day out unencumbered by parenting responsibilities. There are few things I love more than walking around a city – navigating your way through its streets you really get to experience the details and fabric of its life. So, before I joined up for an afternoon of craft beers, I took the chance to have a meander. The area around Kings Cross, which I remember being fairly grotty in the past, has been undergoing major redevelopment. It is now awash with smart new office and apartment buildings, surrounding public squares with trickling fountains, interspersed with designer shops and high-end restaurants. However, the place that I wanted to seek out was the antithesis of these symbols of modern living.
18 months ago, shortly after the birth of my son, I wrote a blog about my intention to redesign the planting in our tiny back garden. The best laid plans of mice and men! Of course in the general melee of life, parenting and the dreaded return to work, little of consequence occurred during 2018 to progress these grand plans. I did give some thought to the plants I might potentially like to use and did a spot of research into their characteristics and preferred conditions which at least helped to narrow things down. Quaint notions of fully developed planting plans however never materialised.