Six on Saturday: 2020: A year of gardening sustainably

What is sustainable gardening? Is it choosing locally or ethically sourced materials? Is it avoiding buying any more plastic pots and reusing those you already have? Is it propagating your own plants from seed and choosing diverse varieties, then at the end of the growing season saving seed for the following year? All of these things and much more.

That’s why my New Year’s resolution for 2020 is to spend 12 months working out what sustainable gardening means for me and then hopefully sharing some of those ideas with others and learning from fellow gardeners along the way.

This Saturday our garden, like the year, is at a low point, but it’s all up from here. That’s why this week’s Six on Saturday shows my neglected winter garden in the hope that come summer I will have turned it around.

As ever, I am joining in with The Propagator, whose plant rearing skills and generous social media sharing are an inspiration to all of his followers. Thanks for hosting this meme in 2019 and look forward to joining you in 2020!

1. Compost chaos

My composting area is looking rather sorry for itself. One of the first jobs of the new year will be to tidy this area up and construct a new bin using recycled materials.

2. Untidy corner

I am really at a loss about what to do with this bit of the garden where ivy, cranesbill and Crocosmia have run rampant in the cracks between paving stones.

3. Hellebore

There is always hope in a garden as this hellebore flower about to unfurl reminds me.

4. Buddleia

With its blackened flower heads this Buddleia dominates this part of the garden from summer onwards. But the butterflies love it. Not sure whether to get rid of it this year or not.

5. Hairy shed

This old tool shed is a bit of an eyesore. It lets in water and needs a good clear out, but we can’t afford to replace it just yet.

6. Viburnum bodnantense

My favourite shrub in the garden right now is this Viburnum with its pretty pink flowers on bare branches. A reminder of all the loveliness to come.

Our garden doesn’t look much right now, but over the next few months I hope to bring it gently back to life without spending a fortune and to go on a journey to find out what sustainable gardening really means. I hope you will join me.

18 Comments Add yours

  1. Love the hairy shed 🙂 . All the best for 2020 and look forward to your posts on sustainable gardening.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. fredgardener says:

    This hellebore is much more attractive than the messy corner … About the hairy shed, I hope you have some power because if there is a window it’s completely masked. 😉
    Good luck for the 2020 resolutions

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Noelle says:

    Just a little effort and maintenance goes a long way. Often people have rolls of roofing felt lying around maybe put out an ask on your local web pages…you could exchange for some of home propagated plants. I love the structure of your Viburnum and the scent must be lovely too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Keith says:

    I think all of our gardens look a little like this in places at this time of year – mine certainly does. January feels like a good time to have a bit of a think about sunnier days ahead though. Your compost pile looks interesting – I have also tried unsuccessfully to compost an old broken steel wheelbarrow!

    If the shed is going to stay for a while but not forever could you clear off the ivy and make a green roof for a couple of years? For the area with crocosmia and cranesbill could you turn this into a wildlife corner without tidying it up all that much? I suspect it is already home to a lot of little creatures. Kate Bradbury’s excellent book on wildlife gardening has some really good ideas for how to encourage more visitors into corners of your garden by not ‘tidying’ too much and is a lovely book to browse through on a wet January day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the ideas – I will look up Kate Bradbury’s book. That certainly would be a simpler option!

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  5. Jim Stephens says:

    Not only are there myriad elements to sustainable gardening but every gardener has a view on which are most important. I look forward to having my bad behaviours challenged.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Intrigued now as to what some of those bad behaviours are…

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  6. If you are taking votes on whether to keep the buddleia, I say “Yes”. Mine has appeared behind the garden shed and does attract butterflies. I am rethinking my gardening habits, hoping my ancient packets of seeds might germinate, rather than buying more new ones. Also, trying to extend the life of items in the house rather than buying new, even in the wardrobe! Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve got so many old seed packets – am going to aim to grow them all this year!

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      1. I say that every year!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Good luck with your sustainability plans. I’ve spent ths year cutting my peat use down. Gradually getting better at propagation through cuttings and managed much from seed.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My small garden struggled to accommodate a fully fledged buddleia but growing one as a standard has freed up no end of space. I’ve been attempting to reduce/eliminate peat in the garden. Plastic pots on the other hand (those acquired through accidental plant purchases) are proving tricky to cut down on, though they do all get reused. Looking forward to seeing what you decide to do with the various areas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A standard buddleia is an interesting idea – thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Heyjude says:

    This sounds like a good idea. I shall follow your progress with interest. My shed is a bit like yours though with less ivy, but definitely damp and a rotten floor. I’m going to try and have a year without buying many plants, so maybe buy a new shed instead. HNY 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I quite like your untidy corner. Nothing wrong with untidiness in the garden. I bet is great for wildlife.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lora Hughes says:

    While I agree about having an ‘untidy’ area for wildlife, I also hate to waste any area that’s got some sort of paving. I’d be torn, in your position. You could cover the area w/some sort of light barrier to kill off plants, but as Keith says, there’s probably already an eco system living there. You could manage existing plants by pruning or put in a few pots to keep things at a dull roar. I’d be so interested in seeing which direction you go, hearing what Bradbury has to say, & following your rendition of sustainable. What a great New Year’s plan!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. tonytomeo says:

    Ivy seems to be a problem everywhere. Is that English or Algerian . . . or both?
    Buddleia was such a fad here that I do not mind seeing them on their way out. I appreciated them more before they became so common. They happen to work well in our climate, so it was actually a good fad.

    Liked by 1 person

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