All the best for the new year. Let’s all hope this year is less chaotic than previous ones. The pandemic did not do much for people, but the different lockdowns helped to remind them of the powerful and simple pleasures that a garden can bring.
As a means of reconnecting to the natural world, and as a space to grow herbs, flowers and vegetables, this relationship to a garden can be seen as an expression of gratitude for all that gardening has to offer.
What is the future for our gardens in 2022? There is nothing. They do not shift or change according to fashion. The same deep pleasures that have been a part of our lives for so many years will never be out-of-date or lose their power.
Monty Don (pictured) offers advice to gardeners in light of the effects of climate change on the UK
On the other side, gardeners will find existing items more important and timely. Of all the pressing issues, climate change is undoubtedly the largest.
For the past ten years, at least, all gardeners have noticed the effect of climate change on flowering times in spring, as well as strange behaviour like fruit trees blossoming in late summer – which is a direct result of insufficient cold weather in winter.
Winter is proving difficult for many insects and fungi. Extreme weather makes life more difficult. My garden floods more frequently and the east is becoming drier.
We are seeing a decline in our bird, insect and butterfly populations. Gardens are now becoming sanctuary for those creatures who used to live in agricultural areas.
Climate change and wildlife run hand in hand, and gardeners can – and I believe must – work hard to stop things getting worse. Start with the Ps. Pesticides, plastic and peat. You should completely eliminate the two Ps and change how you use the threerd.
Peat should not be used for plants by anyone, wholesalers or retailers included. It is important to ban peat-based soil compost. The peat ecosystem is unique because it can only regenerate itself every year at a rate of 1mm per year.
The work of a bulldozer can take an hour to complete, while a repair could take 1,000 years. Peat is not an option. There are many alternatives.
The ‘pesticides’ (and the fungicides), are an inefficient and crude way to control so-called “pests”. They are not always specific, and can cause too many collateral damages.
It is better to promote a diverse range of wildlife in your garden by using a pond and long grass, as well as plenty of cover. This will allow the plant to regulate its own growth.
Plastic is a problem for gardeners. They use way too much. Your black plastic pots can be recycled, but it is not a good idea.
If you are able, avoid buying single-use plastic pots for plants. Buy the most robust plastic pots you can find and reuse them as often as possible – and if you can find a viable alternative, such as terracotta, cardboard or coir, then even better.
We can all contribute in 2022 to climate change mitigation and the preservation of the natural world through our gardens.
While no one person can be able to do it all, everyone can make a difference. Many small steps can lead to big changes.
MONTY’S PLANT DU DEUX OF THE WEEK
Monty said Amaryllis should be put somewhere warm and dark, and as soon as a stem appears with a bud, bring it to a bright windowsill in a warm room
You’ll have many amaryllis presents for Christmas. If you don’t want to wait until spring, you may be able to plant them right away.
Make sure you choose the right size pot for your bulb. Make sure to use a finely ground compost mixture.
It should be kept somewhere dark and warm. When a stem with a flowerbud appears, place it on a sunny windowill in a warm area. Move the blooms to a cool place once they open. This will prolong their flowering. It should not be left to dry and you must give it a tomato-based feed about every ten days.
JOB THIS WEEK
Reduce Hellebore Leaves
The leaves of hellebores are kept until the new spring when they can be replaced with fresh ones. You can begin to remove the dead leaves by cutting them off now. All leaves must be removed by February end to avoid the virus hellebore black Death.
Monty Don’s Adriatic Gardens will be broadcast on BBC2 at 8PM on Friday.