It is never too early to begin planning your garden for the season. As soon as the rush of the holidays is over and the dust has begun to settle on the new year, I like to sit down with the garden catalogs that have been accumulating and start dreaming of my own flower-filled patch of heaven on earth.
Gardening takes time and careful planning. Taking inventory of existing plants, what will come back, what will not, what needs to be moved before planting anything else, and what needs a little extra care should be done long before the growing season is upon us. I find it helpful to have several photos of my gardens, taken throughout the season, so that I can see the progression from little seedling to mature plant and remember what I liked or didn’t like in the garden.
It’s even better when I have been diligent and made notes in a garden journal regarding things like hours of sunlight, when plants were planted, when they bloomed, and anything else that may help me in the next season’s planning.
Whether you have a garden journal or not, you will want to study the light in your garden before you begin visiting garden centers or ordering from catalogs. While many plants can adapt, and do remarkably well, with more or less sun than they like, a lot of time and expense can be saved by being mindful that you are matching your garden’s conditions to the preferences of the plants you are considering.
Is it necessary to have a garden in order to have a comfortable and attractive outdoor living area? Certainly not. Although landscaping is necessary to help define, soften, and create an outdoor room that feels alive and welcoming, gardening is not for everyone. If you are one of these people, talk to your landscaper or someone at your local garden center about how to create the ambiance you desire without the actual gardening part. There are many plants that do quite well with little meddling from human hands and are quite showy, provide interest and privacy, and will enhance your outdoor living room.
I, however, must have flowers as part of my outdoor living—as well as part of the vista through my windows. Planning my gardens and containers is a rite of spring passage for me. It helps get me through the winter doldrums of short days, cold nights, and the desire to burrow in until outdoor living is in full swing once again.
The upcoming flower and garden shows are an inspiration to someone like me. Philadelphia, Boston, and San Francisco are among those American cities that have a yearly flower show that attracts hundreds of people.
Nashville has awell-attended show which features both flowers and antiques, particularly antique outdoor furniture, accessories, and statuary.
The granddaddy (or, perhaps I should say grandmama—as I think of flowers as more feminine than masculine) of them all, however is the Chelsea Flower Show in England.
Oh, for the opportunity to visit this esteemed event and walk through the exhibits of some of the world’s leading garden designers.
With a history of nearly 200 years of presenting garden exhibits to the public, the Royal Horticultural Society knows how to put on a show and has the clout to attract the biggest and best in the industry.
Regardless of the size of your garden, the time, effort, or expense you put into it, or the level of enthusiasm you have for gardening, it is hard to dispute the beauty of a well-planned garden—even little gardens in pots—and the joy of surrounding oneself with the beauty of a garden. Each one is an Outdoorlicious! work of art.