With the lights about to dim on another year, I find myself pumped for the 2009 garden season. Sure there are almost three full months of cold, hard winter ahead, including dreaded February. What better time to plot and plan for the best garden yet. It all begins tonight with my garden resolutions.
Gardening can be tough work. I will regret sitting around on my behind for the next three months come the first garden clean-up day in spring. I don't mind a few good aches following an afternoon of digging in the dirt. Too often, however, my aches come with audible groans. No more. I'm going to keep fit over the next few months with a walking and snow shoveling regime. I'll start that right after all the Christmas chocolate runs out, right around Valentine's Day.
Mulch. Mulch. Mulch Some More.
Is it possible to fall in love with mulch? For the last two years I have made my own mulch from fallen leaves which I then mow into smaller pieces. It looks so nice around the plants as winter prepares its onslaught. Come spring, the leaves are one with the soil and the soil seems so much healthier and happier. While I have made lots of mulch, I have also collected bags and bags of leaves to be carted to the city compost heap. No more. This year those leaves are mine. I'll make more mulch than ever before. My plants will thank me with a profusion of blooms the likes of which have never been seen before.
Divide. Divide. And Divide Again.
2008 was an exceptional garden year thanks in large part to an abundance of rain. Lush does not begin to describe the wonder of this year's garden. Some gardeners might interpret my definition of "lush" to mean "overcrowded." That's okay. I like things a little wild but some plants are starting to suffer. Last spring, I noticed the astilbe were looking a little bare in the centre but I chose to ignore their plight. No more. They will be first up for division. The daylilies, iris, purple coneflower and lesser calamint could all use dividing. That's going to be a lot of work. I'd better get in shape to handle the job.
It's been ten years coming but I think I'm finally ready. By the end of summer my front lawn will be no more. I'm installing a front-yard garden. I went for a little test drive last spring, tearing out a small section of lawn and installing a woodland walk. It needs some fine-tuning. For the most part, though, I am deliriously happy with the result which was well-received by neighbours too. The new garden is a larger space than I have ever worked with. That's a bit intimidating but the lawn has to go and so it will. Good thing I've got months to sit around surfing the web, looking for plant choices and compiling plant lists.
More Native Plants
A new garden will mean more room for native plants. Natives became somewhat of an obsession since the woodland walk installation. They are beautiful in their own right and essential to preserving our natural heritage. But I really, really, really like them because they are very different from anything my neighbours grow. There are lots of beautiful gardens out there but how many of them feature a seersucker sedge? Or wood poppy? Or white snakeroot? I didn't set out to be different. It just ended up that way and I'm absolutely thrilled. Now I want more natives, the more unusual and difficult to acquire, the better.
The Impulse Buy
I've been a dedicated gardener for more than ten years now. That's long enough to know that the garden centre impulse buy is a bad idea. You know what I'm talking about. We all do it. A plant catches our eye across the garden centre aisle. It calls out to us. We have to have it even though it clashes with our colour scheme. We have to have it even though it requires full shade and all we have is full sun. We have to have it even though there is nowhere left to shoe-horn in another plant. So the days of the impulse plant purchase will be no more in 2009. Instead all potential purchases will be carefully researched. Height, soil and light requirements will all be carefully taken into consideration before any money is handed over to the cashier.
Okay...who am I kidding with this last one? There's no way that's ever going to happen. The tradition of the impulse buy will carry on. Fortunately, new year's resolutions are meant to be broken so I'm off to a good start. Here's wishing you the best garden yet in 2009.