First things first: Emma Townshend reveals her gardening New Year's resolutions

Our gardening correspondent's opening resolution is to tidy up. After that, she can get down to her World Cup window boxes and learning how to cloud-prune...

1. Tidy

I'm going to tackle the eternal problem of how to store the hosepipe so it doesn't need a military-style clean-up to use it. I have a dream that it will be possible to get it out without moving 14 large plastic toy vehicles first. I'm mainly going to tackle this by freecycling all the vehicles. Don't tell my son.

2. Muckspread

This is not so much sharing any pertinent gossip I possess in the case of Charles vs Nigella, as it is me putting down a load of manure. Although those two activities can be successfully combined, I've established, after some experiment.

3. Nourish

My neighbour Leanne says that watering is her New Year's garden resolution, and frankly I'm fully in support, especially in view of all the living things she brutally massacred this summer. Basic food and water go a long way with plants. As does sunshine.

4. Buy what you need and not just what looks nice

Surely it's not just me who wanders to the garden centre clutching a sensible list in a Sunday-morning daze, and winds up carting home a load of great big flowers. I am going to have to implement a simple rule, whether it be for flower shows, village fêtes, school summer fairs and drive-bys through tempting Devon hamlets with plant-stand honesty boxes: until I live in a vicarage with a four-acre garden to fill, I will stop buying plants on impulse.

5. Buy what looks nice

On second thoughts, I'd like to recant on the previous resolution. Occasionally it's very successful to do a Marcella Hazan and shop for plants a bit like Italian housewives working their way through the market, seeing what looks good on the day. There must be a way of amending resolution four so that it can allow the very, very occasional purchase of something gorgeous and heavily seasonal.

6. Expand on what works

There is no denying the following: I am good at growing exotic plants with big leaves. I have a much worse record on softer herbaceous planting. And window boxes. Wouldn't it be great to live in a world where we could just concentrate on using our strengths? Work to your good points, guys; it's not rocket science.

7. Window boxes

Having said that about killing the window boxes, it is a World Cup year, so I'd just be letting down the neighbourhood if I didn't plant Brazil-themed ones, surely?

8. Don't take on more than you will actually enjoy

Of course my garden would look great if I planted it with 500 tulips, but how many cold winter afternoons am I going to spend doing it? The older I get, the more I think that gardening never seems to involve nearly enough enjoying sitting down in the actual garden. Next year, more sitting, less pruning.

9. Don't let the wisteria get so big this summer

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.

10. Stop being nice to that idiot who nicks my plants

I can't help it. He's 80 years old, he wanders around with carrier bags full of loads of plants picked from other people's front gardens, and I'm not even totally sure he knows he's nicking them. BUT I SAW HIM. Yet I still cheerily say hello to him. OK, maybe I will carry on saying hello. Maybe amend the resolution to say that I can still greet him, but I will certainly NOT send him a Christmas card.

11. And one more because I couldn't fit them into 10: make a Battenberg cake

My friend Katy had this as one of her traditional 4,000 New Year's resolutions sometime in the late nineties. Straightaway I fell in love with the concept. The celebrated Battenberg Cake Resolution represents something crazy, time-consuming and completely pointless you'd nonetheless still like to master. Twining willow branches into rustic seats, air-layering your magnolias, that type of thing. Or how about taking a course on cloud-pruning, led by world expert Jake Hobson on 26 April at West Dean in Sussex (westdean.org.uk)? Happy new year!

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee