In these ground hog days of winter, planning a garden thoroughly, whether it is to revive an old garden or create a new one, helps diminish mistakes in the spring and lowers stress levels. Having a plan will also help you save money. The advantage to doing the planning now is that there is no rush. You can take your sweet time researching and deciding which the plethora of options available are the best for you.
Larry Hodgson, author of Perennials for Every Purpose and Annuals for Every Purpose is one of our favorite authors for a number of reasons. In his perennial book, he has an excellent chapter on “Getting Your Garden Started”. The following list is influenced by this chapter.
- Decide on a spot for your garden.
How would you like to enjoy this garden? Example questions are:
- What kind of a garden will it be – a flower garden, a veggie garden, or a mix?
- Is it a garden you’d like to see from a window?
- Is it a garden you’d like to sit in?
- What size will it be? Size will determine a lot about this garden and what you can do with it.
- Take note of the hours of sun and shade available to the space and write it down
- Remember to note fences and buildings which shade the sun
- What is the moisture like in this area?
- Is it a wet spot, a dry spot or somewhere in-between?
- Note the soil quality – this is more of a spring question…
- Is it a rich, deep black soil with lots of organic matter?
- Is it fine, heavy, packed, and rocky?
- Does the soil need to be amended?
- Draw out your plan.
- Get out your pencil, ruler, and grid paper and get creative
- Would you like to incorporate any ‘hard scape’ items in this garden such as a fountain, bench, wishing well, bird bath, arch, or pergola?
- Would you like to include any trees or shrubs in this garden?
- Research your plant list – the web has wonderful resources for this step
Match your plants with the environmental conditions:
- Shade or sun?
- Wet or dry?
- Windy or calm?
Season of bloom
- Most perennials have a season of bloom. For a well-rounded garden, have a few from each season
- Annuals bloom, for the most part, all summer long so include some alongside perennials to pull constant color through
- Consider including some fragrant annual plant picks like Alyssum, Dianthus, Datura, Evening Scented Stocks, Heliotrope, Lavender, Nicotiana, Rosemary, Sweet Pea, Stocks
- Consider fragrant perennials such as Daylilies, Dianthus, Iris, LA Hybrid or Oriental lilies, Monarda (Bee Balm), Peony, Phlox, Roses, Thyme
So, grab a nice warm beverage, cozy up, & plan ahead!