I know we all have these mental notes about what we want to/should change about our gardens for the next growing season. I try my best to write them down before I forget them, but compiling them all for easy access later has been a bit more of a struggle. Something(s) always get missed and not remembered until its too late. Its time to remedy that.
I thought I might put them all here, the good, the bad, and the ugly. This way you can see what I’m struggling to fix and I get a handy-dandy reference for myself come springtime. We all win!
- Hollyhocks are great- grow more of them! I grew our black and maroon ones from seed two years ago and the show they put on this year was well worth the wait for their physical impact and bold colors. With so many color options and seeds readily available, there is no good reason not to grow more. I just need to remember this when I’m ordering seeds in January!
- Loosen up. I love myself a good garden color scheme, but I also find that once I give myself a brief, I stick to it with a stubbornness akin to a grumpy mule. With our zone/climate and growing restrictions, there are only so many plants that will do what you need during the time you need them. I’ve got to open myself up to complimentary colors so that I may utilize what I CAN grow much more effectively.
- More shrubs. I feel like the long-term sustainability of any garden really hinges on using shrubs often but wisely. We’ve added them into the Cee and Dry Cottage gardens, and do have a few in the East and West gardens, but do need more. I just have to find the shrubs that fit the bill.
- Don’t shy away from variegation or colorful foliage. I find that most variegated leaves, when viewed in massive swaths at the nursery, are too busy, too fussy, and generally unappealing to my eye. But I also find that the few spots of variegation/colorful foliage I do have in my borders go a LONG way towards brightening up the area and giving some much needed interest between blooms. I think strategic additions would benefit the borders greatly- I just need to be more open minded at the nursery. In the interim, I always love golden and lime green foliage, and should continue to add them in where they fit.
- Tomatoes and Melons. What started off as an experiment in both living mulch and maximizing use of the beds turned into a pretty great partnership. These two seem to be more than happy to grow together and the large melon leaves do a great job of shading out most weeds in the beds. Plus, I get beautiful melons in a space that it wholly underutilized otherwise (and let’s be honest, melons are great, but take up a ton of space- so they usually lose out in the planning stages because I don’t know where to put them)- problem solved!
- Grow more keepers. By this I mean that I want to try to keep the focus in the Veg garden to things I know I can store long-term. I love cucumbers, but man, when they come in- THEY COME IN- and unless you want shelves full of pickles (we don’t!), how do you keep them? I plant to grow fewer of plants like these (enough to satisfy the seasonal cravings) but grow more of things like potatoes, squash, tomatoes, garlic, and onions that I can store and use all year long.
- Asters are always well worth the wait. I need to grow more. Period. Full stop. They love our conditions, they put on a fantastic show, the bees adore them, and they give the most exuberant boost to the garden in late fall.
I’m excited to get stuck in to garden planning once the holidays pass. I think next year will have more online plant shopping (eek! That’s always nerve wracking) and will require a bit more advance planning. No time like winter!