2016 is now well and truly here. The excitement of New Year celebrations should have by now worn off (or at least I hope they have) and people up and down the country are faced with the grim realities of returning to work and sticking to their latest New Year’s Resolutions.
At one time or another we are all guilty of not sticking to our New Year goals much beyond the third week of January. The problem usually isn’t just a lack of willpower but more a problem of setting unclear or unachievable targets for ourselves.
This year though, we have come up with an easy to achieve resolution that will help you get fit, lose weight, spend more time with loved ones and learn to appreciate the everyday beauty that exists all around us.
All you have to do is spend a few extra hours in the garden each week.
Discover the joy of gardening in 2016
Gardening is great fun and it comes with a whole range of physical and mental benefits. The act of planting and maintaining a lush and healthy garden gets you up and outside drinking fresh lungfuls of clean air.
Becoming a gardener also means you get a good, non-strenuous workout each week and it’s a great way to meet and interact with people – both online and in local community gardening groups.
Don’t be put off by thinking that your garden is too small or the wrong shape. As long as you have enough space for a plant pot or a window box then you can join in the ranks of green fingered Britons.
Top tips for spending more time in the garden this year
Make a garden calendar
Have you received a truly awful One Direction or Gogglebox calendar for Christmas in 2015? Why not turn it into something positive in the New Year.
Keeping track of what you plant and when you need to tend to them can be tricky but thankfully there are hundreds and thousands of great resources online that tell you what to plant, where and when.
Plan your calendar out in January so that you have lots of little bits of work to do throughout the year. Your garden should ‘peak’ around summer time so that you can make the most of it.
Choose some funky plants (but not too funky)
Before you finish your garden calendar you’ll need to choose what you are going to plant. To keep your garden interesting you can fill it with lots of vibrant and colourful flowers that aren’t usually seen in other British gardens. Be warned though, because these plants are usually more difficult o grow than their classic counterparts.
The trick is to find a balance between what’s attractive and interesting and what is easy to do. Too much towards either extreme and you risk losing interest in your gardening. This brings us on nicely t our next tip.
Spend more time in the garden but less time gardening
This is probably the most important advice if you are going to keep up your gardening resolution all year long. Gardening is nice, but you have to remember to put time aside to enjoy the fruits of your garden as well.
When you are drafting your garden calendar be sure to include plans for a couple of barbeques and outdoor events to help you show off your fancy garden to your nearest and dearest.
Ditch the lawn
Mowing a natural grass lawn is one of the longest and most tedious of gardening tasks. There’s not much to it apart from pushing a lump of machinery before you while shielding your ears from the noise.
Obviously we are slightly biased in favour of artificial turf, but it does solve a lot of common garden problems. Installing artificial turf will also free up some extra time to work on the more enjoyable aspects of gardening.