Saturday, January 31, 2015

The winter garden

In case you hadn't heard, the Northeast had a blizzard last week. Here in Philly we got a whopping one inch of snow. I was let out work early on Monday and then had off on Tuesday in anticipation of an historic storm and then...nothing. Fine by me! I didn't have to shovel, had a snow day, and the light coating still made the garden look pretty.

Four seasons of interest is something I'm verrrry slowly working on for my garden. I have a long, long way to go but there are still some things that look nice right now.

It's hard to believe that a few years ago, I hated the way Echinacea looked in the winter and cut it down for being too brown. Now, I leave the seed heads for the birds to eat and enjoy the way snow looks on them.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' that I didn't cut down in the fall as I usually do

Rosemary (and parsley) in the front yard veggie garden

My first ornamental grass, Panicum 'Ruby Ribbons'

Nandina 'Firepower'

Cornus 'Arctic Fire'. Neighbor M and I use it for Christmas decorating so it's been
pruned a lot in this picture. It's still quite large.

Helleborus x hybridus 'IForgetus'

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Cross' Compact'

As I sit here by a fire and peruse the latest issue of Fine Gardening magazine, my mind knows that we still have a couple more months of winter temperatures left, but my heart is dreaming of spring. Still, I'm tolerating it better this year when I can see bits of winter interest here and there.

What's going on in your winter garden? Any must have plants for winter interest?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Things I'd Like to Do in 2015

I stopped making New Years' resolutions a long time ago and I've been recently moving away from making goals. Instead, if I write a list of things I'd like to do, I'm not as hard on myself if it doesn't get done or doesn't turn out the way I want. Something about "things I'd like to do" means less pressure in my perfectionist-oriented brain. So with that being said, here are some initial thoughts about things I'd like to accomplish in my garden this year. They're all interrelated.

Plant a greater variety of annuals

I've been buying the same 4 packets of annuals from the grocery store every February for years. Orange/red marigolds and three types of zinnias.

I'm really bored of them and by the time late summer rolls around, I always regret not having a better variety of annuals to compliment the perennials. But they can be expensive if I buy them from my local nursery (and probably treated with some sort of chemical). So I'm going to grow my own and branch out from the old standbys. If it works out, I'll be able to fill in the gaps in my perennial beds and have enough to fill up pots for my front porch and back patio. Now, the only thing I need to do is to figure out which flowers I want.

Don't be so damn cheap

I have a hard time not being super frugal. This is partially why I don't buy a lot of annuals (see above) when spending some damn money would make my garden look nicer. I have no problem spending on perennials but seem to have a block when it comes to annuals, furniture, accessories, etc. So in the interest of stimulating the economy and making the garden look nicer, I'm going to try to get rid of the internal struggle that tells me not to buy and just do it.

Make inspiration a reality

I have hundreds of photos of gardens I've visited that have inspired me, whether it was the stone of a pathway or a striking flower combination. I'd like to revisit those pictures and figure out how I can make some of those inspirations work for me in my own garden. It'll take some money (see above) and planning, but I do love a good Excel spreadsheet. I think I have to remember that I can get overwhelmed so I only need to pick out one or two ideas for now. I'm already mentally arranging my embarrassing back patio, and have decided to enlist some professional design help for the front yard.

Do you make resolutions, goals, or lists of things to do in the new year? What's on that list for the upcoming gardening season?