Make a Plan

garden-journalGrab a cup of tea, a notebook or garden journal (if you’re fancy!), and your imagination for a January garden-planning session. One of the best way to accomplish goals is by putting them in writing, then make a concrete plan of action to achieve those goals. (Really, is there anything more satisfying than crossing off tasks on a to-do list?)

Take time to note what worked well in your garden last year—and what fell short. Make a list of the plants you loved—and the plants that turned out to be prima donnas or bullies. Great gardens are constantly revised, amended, expanded, and edited.

If you lack garden space, remember that containers make a perfect option for growing what you love. For patios or balconies, consider adding pretty containers filled with food or flowers to your plans. If you think your balcony or porch is too small to grow food, think again: new compact varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and even squash make growing tasty treats easy.

January is also the perfect time to assess your garden space. Winter unveils what works in the garden—and what’s missing. Is your garden looking barren and drab? Add plants with four seasons of interest to your plans. Does it need more defined beds, paths, or structure? Consider hardscaping to spice up your garden. In southern climates, expand your season of blooms by including plants like hellebores, witch hazel, and edgeworthia in your garden plans, adding color and beauty throughout the winter months.

As you plan your garden, consider incorporating the National Garden Bureau’s “Year Of” plants in your list. Each year, the National Garden Bureau selects one annual, one perennial, one bulb crop, one edible, and one shrub as “Year Of” crops. Plants are chosen because they are popular, easy-to-grow, widely adaptable, genetically diverse, and versatile, making them terrific garden additions.

Whether your garden is young and expanding or well-established, take time to plan: make lists, research plants for pollinators, get estimates for hardscapes, build raised beds, and dream of the pleasure your garden will bring this summer.

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