It’s that time of winter where I walk from window to window, observe the garden, and mentally rearrange everything.
Last year, I thought for sure that I wouldn’t need to do that this winter. I thought everything was pretty well settled in, I’d let the stuff in the new bed go to seed so it could reseed itself, and this year, I’d just let the garden do its thing.
In June and July, it bothered me a teensy bit that the new bed, all annuals started from seed, had nothing to show for itself but bare dirt and tiny sprouts. It didn’t fill in until August and September, and then it was so full it didn’t blend with anything else. And the plants got too heavy and dense for themselves and were mildewing. And the Shasta daisies are too tall for where they are; they’ve bothered me for years, but they look so pretty for those two weeks when they’re all in bloom that I haven’t touched them even though their placement is all wrong. And the Russian sage bushes didn’t really work out the way I thought they would where I put them. And the blue catmint is crowding out the white coneflowers, which are some of my favorite flowers in the garden and I don’t want to choke them out.
So now, of course, I want to redo everything. I blame the Prairie Moon catalog that came in the mail a couple of weeks ago. I’ve bought all these books about butterfly gardening, about host plants and nectar plants and gardening with natives, and here comes this free catalog in the mail that has all that same information, plus sells the plants, plus sells kits, complete with layout suggestions, to plant an entire bed for birds or butterflies. I’ve got my eye on the Colossal Pollinator Garden kit, except that several of the plants included in the kit are not deer resistant, which means I’d spend $200 just to get everything either eaten or trampled by the gang of deer that roam our neighborhood.
Regardless of whether I purchase a colossal pollinator garden kit, the catalog solidified for me that the garden was not, in fact, settled last year, and I will not, in fact, just let the garden do its thing this year.
I started drawing new plans in my graph paper notebook, and I wish for better tools. It’s too hard to draw stuff over and over again, and get the scale right, and figure out how to show “this needs to move here,” and I don’t like how messy my plans become with erasures, and imperfect circles, and the realization that I’ve forgotten plants along the way. And I forget to plan for blooming throughout the seasons, so that there’s always something interesting going on in each bed, and the beds all harmonize together. A degree in design would probably be helpful here. But I don’t have a degree in design, so I’ll just use the tools I have and I’ll do it my own messy way, and I’ll try stuff and maybe it will work and maybe it won’t. The stakes are pretty low, and in all cases I have a garden that grows.
I love this about gardening: that I can continually play. I like change too much to just leave it the same every year.