6 Tips for Staying Garden Motivated

When Rick and I moved into our adorable little stone cottage last year, I was elated to have a garden of my own. I had visions of pots of beautiful flowers adorning my front door. Walking back into the kitchen, triumphant with arms full of leafy home grown produce, storing buckets of juicy apples for making sauces and chutneys. I set about purchasing seeds, sets and bulbs and with all good intentions began to sculpt my first garden. I had a bit of help from my future Mother in Law, but alas, she can only stay here for a week at a time....(boo!)

What I began to find was that as my work load increased and more things needed doing, I lost the motivation to don my gardening gloves. A lot of procrastination happened...and not a lot of weeding. It's not that I lost the enthusiasm...it's more that there were so many tasks that needed doing that I really didn't know where to begin...so I simply wouldn't begin. But the fact is that if I didn't do it, then nobody would so I have compiled here a small list of tips and tricks that I use to keep myself motivated.

Little and Often

One of the biggest mistakes that I used to make was saving up all my chores for the weekend. I would then look out of the window, see all the things that needed doing and just think "hmmm...". It just seemed like such a herculean task that I simply put it to the back of my mind and convinced myself that there were a hundred other more important things that needed doing before the gardening. So then it would become an even bigger task. I have definitely found that setting aside 15 minutes a day for weeding and tidying is so much more productive than trying to do it all in a weekend. What if it was raining on the only day you had free? By doing a small amount every day, it doesn't matter if I miss one day for one reason or another. It also means that weeds don't have the chance to get established. Win win!!

Gardening Set and Kneeling Mat Julie Dodsworth

Set Small Achievable Goals

So there are some tasks that certainly cannot be fit into fifteen minutes, such as mowing the lawn, strimming the verge, spraying the weeds on the path (not in my garden anyway!) So these tasks really do need to be saved until you have a few hours spare. What I do to make these tasks more manageable is to set small achievable goals. Write a list and split the tasks up. My lawn is naturally split into four sections, so I say to myself I will do this section today, the next section tomorrow etc or split the tasks between morning and afternoon. Having to get through one task is much more manageable than a mammoth list of chores that never end. 

Tidy as you Go

One of the things I hate is tidying the garden. Not least because my 10 month old labrador enjoys playing with flower pots, so I find them everywhere. But one thing that saps your mojo is getting to the end of the day and realising you have a stack of tools to clean and put away. You end up leaving them out thinking "I'll put them away tomorrow", and then they go rusty and you don't want to use them so you don't do your gardening and it's just an endless cycle of pessimism basically. Once you've finished your weeding, clean your hoe and put it away before getting out the lawn mower. Clean the lawn mower and put it away before getting out the secateurs. It really works. Try it. 

Grab a Garden Buddy

This is definitely the most motivating thing you can do. I know that when Rick's outside doing some strimming, I want to be outside doing something too. When My FMIL puts her overalls on and grabs a spade, I want to be outside potting some flowers up too. The tasks become to much easier when you have someone to natter to while you're outside. Also, maybe this just applies to Rick and me, but we're both quite competitive. I would not be able to stand it if he did more work in the garden than I did, so we keep each other busy in that way. Shame I don't have the same effect on him with the housework.

Photograph your Progress

This has been such an important part of my gardening journey. I love taking pictures of the different things that I grow and posting them on instagram and elsewhere. I find that all the pictures that I took last year serve as motivation for this year. I grew some epic parsnips last year so I REALLY want to do just as well this year. Stick the pictures on your wall, on your fridge, in your shed, somewhere you can see them and you will want to keep at it. Again, maybe this is just me, but I send my Nan pictures of my garden too, because you know, she's not on instagram.

Welcome Visitors

And no I don't mean like, to a cute little tea party (although that is perfectly acceptable). I mean wildlife! I have really enjoyed planting things that attract butterflies, bees, birds and all kinds of things that I find it really is a motivation. Lavender is my favourite "bee friendly" plant, I have a LOT of lavender. Also, trees and hedges are great for birds (you can see some birds that visit my garden here) if you look after them correctly. It is incredibly satisfying to see critters benefitting from your hard work. I can definitely recommend it!

I hope I have inspired a few of you to keep gardening! Don't give up! Carry on mowing! You can do it!!
Leave me a link to your blog posts so I can see what's going on in your garden.

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