Today is one of those seasonally warm January days that provides hope that spring will come. I took a break from work in the middle of the afternoon to take my dog, Roo, for a walk along the trail that runs along the edge of our small town. He was exuberant to be enjoying the outdoors again instead of stuck in the living room attempting to learn new tricks.
I don’t normally enjoy winter, but I have embraced the seasonal slowdown of January to feel fully dedicated to one thing at a time. I finished up the seed starting plans for this year over the weekend. Planning for blooms all summer requires careful succession planning. I bounce back and forth between spreadsheets figuring out when each variety of flower needs to be sown and what quantity needs to be sown to fill the planned space. This is still a one-woman enterprise so I’m careful to expand the business slowly. I still have another job to do as a pattern-maker and technical designer. Growing flowers cannot be all consuming yet, despite my grand visions. I also realize my vision is of a garden that would actually require at least one full-time gardener to maintain. So, I place plants in online shopping carts and then abandon the carts knowing I can’t add everything at once. And honestly, what would be the fun in a garden that was created so quickly? The beauty in gardens is their evolution over time. Tiny seeds grow into beautiful plants. Perennial beds fill in slowly overtime until no ground is visible and the plants are arguing about who gets the most space causing some to push higher and others to sway out over the edges of the flower bed.
Plants spreading out is actually my dream. Last fall, I planted Delnashaugh daffodils in the backyard. My hope is they will look like they naturally spread themselves among the trees. Delnashaugh is a double narcissus with an apricot center. I prefer the quieter and sweeter colors over the bright yellow trumpet daffodils. I planted them in addition to all the bulbs added to my primary growing space. Hopefully next spring there will masses of narcissus, tulips, lilies, and alliums for everyone to enjoy. But those stems are plucked out of the field before they are even open so the flowers in the yard are my selfish indulgence. The previous fall I planted clumps of muscari (grape hyacinth) under the red bud trees. Hopefully, I can add new bulbs each fall giving me something new to look forward to over the winter months.
During the winter I refer back to my notes taken over the summer frequently. I keep both a notebook and a sketch book handy. When one fills up, I start a new one. During the season I try and keep detailed notes so I can look back and see what worked and what did not.
Garden journals are valuable for home gardeners also. They provide the opportunity to make seasonal observations and note improvements you want to make next season. Maybe you notice in the spring that you need more bulbs to fill in an area and want to remember where to plant them in the fall. I like to have a blank sketchbook handy (or use it as your journal) so I can tuck in sketches of future plant combinations or designs for new beds. I’m still getting to know my property so including details about which areas receive the most sun, are too wet or the areas the snow is the first to melt is helpful. If I find an image of a plant that I want to purchase in the future I’ll tuck it into the sketchbook so I don’t forget.
Do you spend winter planning? Do you have any special garden aspirations for 2022?