Summer's dream: Leading gardeners reveal their grand schemes for 2008

The ground's too hard to dig, so now's the time to plan ahead. Here, seven leading gardeners reveal their grand schemes for 2008 to Emma Townshend
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The Independent Online

Gardening resolutions – whether made in January or any other time of the year – generally last about 10 minutes, but we still make them. There's something nice about mulling over plans, and if the thoughts hover in the depths of our subconscious, eventually they should have some influence, shouldn't they?

My resolutions for 2008 are to look after the plants I already have and to not buy any more; and to prune the wisteria like an old French lady would, to produce huge bunches of flowers at the end of each twisty stem. Here are some more expert growers' horticultural hopes for 2008.

Maddy Harland, 'Permaculture Magazine'

I want to set up my very own mushroom log extravaganza. I have a few inoculated logs in a shady area that produce oyster mushrooms every year but this year I want to grow shiitake and enochi mushrooms as well. That's high-protein, high-value, low-work gardening.

I have also resolved to clean out all my ponds early in the season to maximise the amphibian population and reduce slug numbers. Not using slug pellets has encouraged me to dig lots of small ponds for breeding frogs and toads, which will eat my slimy friends. And the excess pond weed makes a nutrient-rich compost.

www.permaculture-magazine.co.uk

Jane Kilpatrick, garden historian

In spite of all the flooding in 2007, drought is still the biggest problem for those of us gardening on light soils. So first I'm going to mulch everywhere. Then I'm going to assess each plant in my garden to see whether there is a more drought-tolerant alternative. There are more rewarding summer gardening jobs than lugging watering cans about.

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Paolo Arrigo, Franchi Seeds of Italy

I've made a bet with a friend that I can sow a vegetable every month of the year, from January to December.

www.seedsofitaly.com

Kathy Brown, gardener

I am going to try to pursue something which really interests me – not a particular plant, colour or shape, but a feeling or mood. It's a Monet painting of waterlilies; large in scale and surrounded by golden sunlight, highlighting the reflections of the willow leaves. Here, at Stevington in Bedford, we already have two areas planted using a limited palette, including only three types of grasses with just three types of herbaceous plants. Now we plan to create a much larger area using similar materials. By keeping it simple, the overall effect will be more harmonious.

h ttp://kathybrownsgarden.homestead.com

Inna Costantini, Trees for Cities

We'd love gardeners to volunteer on a Trees for Cities planting day, to help make some bleak urban spaces a little greener. Or you could sponsor a tree. It's not just about London – this year we are planting in Bristol, Leeds, Addis Ababa and Nairobi.

www.treesforcities.org

Anne Jennings, Tradescant Trust and the Museum of Garden History, Lambeth

Each time I walk past new housing developments, I become depressed at the lack of creative design and plantsmanship applied to the surrounding outdoor space, even in new executive homes. So, working with the New Homes Gardens Awards, I'm going to do something about it this year. The first stage will be overseeing a seminar on 11 February at the Museum of Garden History to bring property developers and garden designers together.

w ww.museumgardenhistory.org/events

Mark Diacono, climate change farmer

I'm going to try growing several things, including a new highly productive Spanish olive that you plant like a hedge, grapes for sparkling wine and more apricots, lemongrass, and lots of Szechuan pepper. I also really want to start up a local olive-oil-pressing co-operative in Devon.

www.diacono.co.uk

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