New Year’s Day is a day for reflection on the year just passed, and anticipation of what the year ahead may bring. This is true for gardeners, perhaps more so than the general population. It is a time to reflect on the garden’s best moments, what plant combinations worked, what tomatoes tasted best, what bean produced the biggest crop, and so on. It’s also a time to decide what wasn’t working, needs to be moved, or given away even, what won’t be planted again.
As you ponder these questions grab your camera and take a couple of pictures of the garden. Print them out in black and white, then grab a brightly colored marker and start circling those areas where changes need to be made. Make notes for yourself as you think about what you really want to see in the year to come. All done? Time to hit the seed and plant catalogues.
These catalogues can be overwhelming, so it helps to have your pictures in front of you to keep your expectations of how many plants your garden can actually hold realistic. Today is a great day to assess whether you have enough evergreens in your garden too. If you look out your window and see only browned clumps and twigs, think about adding some evergreens. You’ll find plenty at Greenwood Nursery, Consider Osmanthus fragrans for its incredible scent in the fall, or Mahonia aquifolium for late winter flowers which resemble yellow fireworks, and are followed by pale, waxy blue berries which birds adore. As great as these plants are, you generally won’t find them in all of your neighbor’s gardens. An added bonus is that deer largely ignore them, caring for neither the taste nor the sharp leaves.
For perennials, consider White Flower Farm or Wayside Gardens. They have great selections of Clematis, Daylilies, Peonies and ornamental grasses. Vegetable seeds can be found at Park Seed Company, Renee’s Garden, or Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. These companies carry both heirloom varieties and modern hybrids. There are pros and cons to each, heirlooms tend to have better flavors, and often better yields, but modern hybrids are bred for superior disease resistance and are adaptable to a wider range of climate conditions than their heirloom ancestors.
Whatever you plant this year, spend some time thinking about what you want to accomplish in your garden before you start ordering. Keep a copy of your printout to refer to next year. Above all, resolve to begin keeping a garden journal, whether electronic or just a good old-fashioned notebook. It’s a new year, and you needed a resolution you could keep anyway, right?
Happy Garden New Year!