Boost for the Next Gardening Season: Look Back to Move Forward
It's cold outside, and your garden is hibernating under snow. You long for all things green - the thriving plants and the burst of growth.
It's so far only January.
Winter can be a tough time for garden owners, and it can be for garden designers alike. The days are shorter, the temperatures are colder, and the snow covers everything.
But just because it's winter doesn't mean you have to wait for spring with nothing to do.
Now it's a perfect time to find inspiration, gather new ideas, and create lists. We are getting ready for the brand-new spring season.
To start something new, it's always important to look back. (It's so easy to keep moving forward. I know.) We want to avoid repeating the same old mistakes we made last summer or the year before. No, we'll succeed and enjoy all of it this year.
So look back last growing season and write three simple lists:
- What worked?
- What didn't work?
- What did I miss?
If I recall my hits and misses in our garden, there are some examples from my lists:
#1 What worked:
One of the most enjoyable successes was planting 'Romello' tomato and dahlias in the same large planter on our patio beside the south-facing house wall.
I had chosen a sizeable planter (24.4 x 28.4 x 28.4 inch / 62 x 72 x 72 cm) in white, the same color as the wall behind. Using the color white, I wanted the planter to blend in and avoid it being too prominent.
Tomato and dahlia were a thriving combination. Did you know that tomatoes and dahlias enjoy similar growing conditions and amount of fertilizing? The crop was incredible - we ate lots of tomatoes and had beautiful blooms on our kitchen table.
#2 What didn't work:
Your garden and its surroundings are always connected, and when changes happen, they also affect your plants.
Like in the neighboring yard, they cut down a row of large Hungarian lilacs (Syringa josikaea) (they had politely asked permission from us). The change was a disaster for my treasured Rhododendron brachycarpum, which had gorgeous thick leaves and a wonderfully dense growing habit. Hot summer and too much sun made it adapt by shedding many leaves at the summer's end. I need to find a new place for it this spring.
#3 What did I miss?
Low flowering lawns are a big trend. Last spring, I was too late to get seed packages to sow our lawn. We already have lawn daisies (Bellies perennis) and some thymes (Thymus serpyllum), but I would have liked to add plants like maiden pinks (Dianthus deltoides), white clovers (Trifolium repens 'Rivendel'), and sweet alyssums (Lobularia maritima).
Now, it's time to write your lists. This exercise is more beneficial than you think, and as a bonus, it recharges you for the coming spring. It feels like being closer already!
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