Bright and shiny New Year’s resolutions always seem good as we set off into January but they can become a little tarnished as the year gets into its stride.

Certainly, hard and fast resolutions focus my mind. Generally, though, I just outline a few paths that I intend to take over the next twelve months. As I peer into the mists of the future, I’ve mapped out four gardening paths which I hope will guide me.

1. Keep thinking ahead

We don’t know what weather 2017 will bring, nor what possibilities it may open up. I like to keep looking down the road and adjusting my plan according to what I see. I’m planning a fantastic display of pelargoniums but I accept that the weather may have quite other ideas. I’ll be working on Plans B and C.

2. Look and learn from other gardeners

One of the great things about gardening is that there’s always something new to learn. Other gardens are a great source of inspiration and other gardeners hold an enormous amount of knowledge.

I often miss the (fairly few) garden open days in my area so this year I’m going to write them on my calendar and use stickers.

And could this be the year I start to understand shrubs? I’ll be putting in some effort to make sense of them all.

3. Nurture as well as Nature

Nature is all very well but Nurture makes the difference. I’m thinking here about houseplants and about myself. Any nurturing in these areas will definitely pay off.

I’ll feed the houseplants from time to time and clean their leaves. I’ll give them a holiday outside in the summer (but any slugs and they’ll come straight back inside).

And me? I’ll also be spending more time relaxing outdoors.

4. Try things out

This year, I’m going to carry on just trying things out. Much of gardening’s about having a go. If you fancy doing something, just give it a go even if expert opinion indicates that such and such a plant might not suit your particular garden or situation.

Nerine bowdenii in Herefordshire in October. Autumn flowering. Low maintenance. New Year's resolutions

Nerine bowdenii in Herefordshire in October. © Jonathan Billinger, licensed for re-use under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence.

It’s fair to say, of course, that expert opinion and experience is very, very often right. Over the years, I've learnt that nerines really do need to be baked in a south-facing location in order to flower profusely. Also that, here, the succulent echeveria really doesn’t like even a small amount of frost …

Plant sales can easily seduce me into that ‘have a go’ state of mind. I still don’t quite know what I’m going to do with a Corsican hellebore but I’m very glad I bought it.

Corsican hellebore (Helleborus argutifolius). New Year's resolutions

Corsican hellebore (Helleborus argutifolius). © Peter Stevens and re-used under

With best wishes for your resolutions and a Happy New Year in the garden!