21 December 2020

7 nature resolutions for 2021

Kick-start your 2021. Explore the great outdoors, learn how to multiply your house plants, and grow your own vegetables in the new year.

By Ellen McHale

Couple walking along woodland walkway in winter

Nature has been more important than ever this year.

Studies have shown that spending time in nature benefits our wellbeing and reduces stress. You can get a dose of nature by going for a walk in your local park, or caring for your house plants. 

From discovering new green spaces to learning how to paint plants, we round up our top nature resolutions for 2021.

1. Bring nature indoors 

Fill your home with plant life and create an indoor jungle. House plants boost our mood and improve air quality, as well as looking pretty on shelves and windowsills. What's not to love? 

An easy, cost-effective way to multiply your houseplants is to propagate your existing plants. Propagation is the process of breeding a plant from the parent plant. 

Good plants to try are Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum), Devil's roots (Epipremnum aureum), Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) and Swiss Cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa). 

Watch: How to propagate your houseplants

Leaf of a cheese plant
Houseplant, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew
House plants
House plants, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew

2. Plan your year ahead

Brighten up your 2021 by journeying through Costa Rica at our stunning orchid festival.

Bringing to life the biodiversity of Central America, the Princess of Wales Conservatory will be filled with vibrant oranges, yellows and pinks. 

Costa Rica is a major orchid habitat and is home to 5% of the world’s biodiversity, even though it covers just 0.03% of the planet. 

See a range of native animals created from plants, and don't miss the resplendent quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno). Native to Costa Rica, it's considered one of the world's most beautiful birds and is a symbol for the protection of Costa Rica's forests. 

Orchids at Kew
Orchids at Kew © RBG Kew

3. Immerse yourself in art 

Get creative in the new year and learn how to create beautiful botanical art yourself. 

Botanical paintings and drawings are where art and science meet. They convey the intricate details of plants, but can also be used for plant documentation. 

Get top tips from our expert botanical artists at Kew, and find out the best plants to illustrate if you're a beginner.

Gain an in depth knowledge of botanical art practices in one of our botanical art courses. You can learn helpful techniques to improve your work in our botanical sketchbook course, and benefit from the help and expertise of professional botanical artists. 

For some artistic inspiration, watch our virtual gallery tours of the Marianne North Gallery and Paradise Lost exhibition, and take a look at Mark Frith's stunning drawings of trees.

Botanical artist at Kew
Botanical artist at Kew © RBG Kew
Peony, Greenbank Garden  by Victoria Braithwaite
Peony, Greenbank Garden by Victoria Braithwaite © Shirley Sherwood Collection

4. Grow your own vegetables 

Add some colour to your plate in 2021 and enjoy the fresh taste of vegetables and herbs you've grown yourself.

From rocket, to basil, to radishes, you can easily grow your own veg at home. You don't even need a garden to do it, as many vegetables can grow happily in pots on balconies and windowsills. 

Pea shoots are a great vegetable to start with, and they're delicious in salads and stir fries. 

You can grow them using whole dried peas from the supermarket; simply sprinkle them onto compost, water them regularly, and wait for the shoots to spring up. 

Watch: How to grow windowsill vegetables and herbs

Herbs and vegetables
Herbs and vegetables

5. Make your garden or balcony more biodiverse 

Whether you have a small balcony or a large garden, this space can be a haven for insects, birds and mammals. Growing a variety of plant species attracts lots of different forms of wildlife. 

Try letting a corner of your garden grow wild. Natural debris like logs and leaf piles offer habitats and hiding places for many species. 

Allow butterfly-loving plants to grow. The pretty orange tip butterfly is attracted to certain plants such as garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) and milkmaid (Cardamine pratensis). 

Plant wild flowers on your lawn or in a pot on the balcony to attract pollinating bees. Patches of long grass dotted with wildflowers are the perfect habitat for insects. Try common poppies (Papaver rhoeas) and corn marigold (Glebionis segetum) which will add a pop of colour. 

Get more top tips on improving the biodiversity of your garden

A colourful wildflower meadow
Wildflower meadow © RBG Kew
Orange tip, Loder Valley Nature Reserve, Wakehurst
Orange tip, RBG Kew

6. Explore green spaces 

Work off the mince pies with a brisk walk through the Gardens. 

Explore the Arboretum, our vast garden of over 14,000 trees. Some trees are as old as the Gardens themselves and many cannot be found anywhere else in Britain. 

Wander through the natural area, which is abundant with beautiful native trees and birds like woodpeckers and jays.

If you can't make it to Kew, enjoy nature closer to home and see what you can spot in your own garden or your local trees.

Nordmann fir
Nordmann fir, Pinetum, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew
Arboretum at Kew
Arboretum Jeff Eden © RBG Kew

7. Discover a new landscape 

Visit Wakehurst, our secret botanic garden in the heart of Sussex. 

Stroll through our woodland landscape inspired by the eastern Himalaya at Westwood Valley and go wildlife spotting in our 150 acre Loder Valley Nature Reserve.

Wakehurst’s trees are grouped according to the areas of the world in which they grow naturally, a system called phytogeographic planting.

Highlights include Coates Wood, where the menthol fragrance of eucalyptus and majestic Wollemi pines bring the landscape of Australia to life. 

Stop by our serene Winter Garden which blooms in January and February. Highlights include snow drops, heather and dog wood which give a beautiful burst of winter colour. 

Get closer to nature with a short course at Wakehurst. Learn the practices of nature connection and mindfulness with our mindfulness course, or try your hand at botanical perfume making.

Wollemi pines growing in Coates wood, Wakehurst
Wollemi pines growing in Coates wood, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew
Plants in the Winter Garden at Wakehurst
Winter Garden, Jim Holden © RBG Kew
Friends studying the orchids

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