Planning for spring


Just because I don’t plan ahead for spring planting doesn’t mean that you should follow my lead. I’m sure your mother warned you not to jump off a bridge just because one of your bonehead friends said it seemed like a good idea. Here, the same principle applies.

My garden is mostly fully developed, with space only to shoehorn in a few delights each spring, so not much planning is required. I suppose that much of my garden has developed in reverse order. I see a plant, bring it home, then figure out where it should go. This inevitably creates a few problems, usually fifteen years down the road when things begin to grow a bit out of control. Nothing too serious that a chainsaw can’t handle, though I often live with the results for another ten or fifteen years before concluding that something must be done, certainly in the next five years.  I don’t suggest this method to anyone, but I understand the consequences of my actions, and in the end most everything works out for the best.Catalpa

In fact, I should back up a bit. This spring there are a few open spaces where trees and brush and brambles were removed last year, so I have a rare opportunity to add a few more plants than usual (and perhaps even the catalpa I’ve yearned for, above). Still, I haven’t put anything on paper, haven’t mapped out the area, and haven’t prepared lists of plants that might be planted.

I’ve said more than a few times that I prefer to hibernate most of the winter rather than work on garden chores. I’m happier not doing it. I read through garden catalogs and magazines, and occasionally I’ll list a few plants that catch my eye, but mostly I bide my time until spring. There’s no need to become unnecessarily excited too early, or the winter seems to go on forever.Redbud blooming in mid April

The proper method for planning a garden (for those inclined to do things in an organized manner) is to gather ideas first, by collecting photos from garden magazines or books, or from sources such as Pinterest. Put your existing garden on paper (graph paper is easiest), detailing all existing structures, walks, patios, and plants. Then, plug in the ideas you have to see if everything fits. The best practice for do-it-yourselfers is to add to the garden slowly to minimize problems created by rushing about without a clue, but if you prefer doing things more quickly and on a grander scale a landscape designer can be enlisted to assist in putting the project onto paper.

There are times when I’m worn out by the chores of spring that I consider having someone dig the holes and plant for me, but then I consider that I can plant twice as much, and the labor doesn’t seem quite so bad. In a few weeks the temperatures will rise, the soil will warm, and I’ll get the urge. Plants are arriving daily in the garden centers, and with each swelling bud I’ll become more anxious to get started planting. Today, I haven’t a clue what will be planted, but that will come to me soon enough.

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