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.
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!
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.