For some, gardening is a labour of love, and time is invested in nurturing treasured plants. For others, the garden is a design statement, and is treated as another room to the house. Most garden lovers, however, agree that gardening is made up of a mixture of pleasurable activities that they would like to do more often and chores to be got out of the way.
1. Be Efficient
A busy gardener must be an effective gardener. So, even if you are dissatisfied with the garden you have, do not rush out to try to put everything right at once, but spend some time thinking and planning. What you want to get out of your garden determines what you have to put into it. Not just in terms of the plants, hard landscaping and other features, but your time and the way you spend it.
2. Keep a Garden Diary
Try keeping a ‘garden diary’ for a couple of months. In it, log how many hours you spend in the garden, and what you do when you are there. Note how long you spend on different tasks as well as the time you spend relaxing in it. Then tot up the hours spent ‘enjoying’ your garden – doing pleasurable tasks or relaxing – and the hours spent ‘working’ in the garden. Compare the two totals in order to find out the ratio of pleasure to work that your garden offers.
3. Make a Pros & Cons List
Next, list the features that you like about your garden and those that you dislike. Then list the things you must have and the things you would like to have. Take your time assembling the lists and number the items in order of importance. Keep your lists and go back to them periodically in order to make changes and to add new things.
The results of your research may surprise you. The information will help you to decide on your gardening priorities and to arrive at an action plan, which may cover the next six months or the next 10 years – and which doesn’t have to be followed to the letter. Whether you are wavering over impulse purchases at the garden centre or planning to stagger the cost of expensive improvements, it will act as an on-going reminder of your personal goals, and help you to use your most valuable asset – your spare time – the way you want to.