09 January 2014

My Gardening Non-Resolutions for 2014

 Resolutions are meant to be broken, aren't they? So it seems, which is why I resolve never to make resolutions, even about something I'm passionate about like gardening. Oh, we have the best of intentions, but then life intervenes, or we forget about our best-laid plans, or other curveballs come into play. So I never declare I absolutely will do thus and so about anything. There are things I do tentatively plan to do, most of which I do every year, but I still won't call them resolutions. Other than to continue to loathe goutweed, because that's a resolution that will never break.

I will, however, plant more seeds this year, especially of my favourite annuals: poppies, sunflowers, nigella and sweet peas. Especially those sweet peas. There is hardly anything more glorious than a bouquet of sweetly scented sweet peas sitting on the table or office desk, and I have the seeds already. I just need to get em in the ground come spring.

With poppies, nigella and sweet peas, I know once I've planted them once, they'll be the gift that keeps on giving each year, through the joys of self-seeding. I did get some poppies and nigella into the ground last year, and as I expand the garden area this year, I'll get the packaged seeds into the ground. I really will. This garden is much smaller than the one I left behind, so it's easier to manage and get through the regular garden tasks. 
 It doesn't take anything for me to declare I will plant more echinaceas this year. I'm going to assume all the varieties I introduced this year will thrive (and they likely will, especially if they remain buried in two feet of snow all winter, like they currently are!) but I also know there are many more new varieties waiting in the wings to be tried. I have high hopes for the AAS variety 'Cheyenne Spirit', which shows such great genetic variation. I planted half a dozen of this variety last year, each one with different coloured flowers, and I DID actually keep track of which ones I planted where!
Planting for pollinators is another no-brainer. I have been doing this for years, and while it's gratifying to find more and more attention and interest being given to planting for bees, butterflies, etc, it's also worrisome. When the mainstream press realize that something is in trouble, we are usually all so screwed. I am normally an optimistic person but the widespread reporting by writers, bloggers, photographers and naturalists last summer about the lack of butterflies and bees in various parts of the continent and the world beyond, really has me worried.
 Having less room for gardening than I used to have makes me a little bit more particular about what I plant for shrubs and trees. But there is plenty of room for roses, and the David Austins I grew this past season did really, really well. This Graham Thomas rose finally gave up trying to bloom in late November, and it was planted deeply enough that I expect it will come through the winter just fine--especially if this snow cover continues.
 One thing I am noticing with this huge snow cover down--I don't have a lot of winter interest to look at because I haven't planted much yet for this fourth garden season. Oh, I did get a couple of perennial grasses and a couple of rhododendrons, and a dwarf blue spruce, into the garden last summer, but there needs to be more. Some Sunkist cedar, for starters, since deer are obviously not a problem here, and more perennial grasses with good winter interest. Maybe a corkscrew hazel, and a red osier dogwood. I'm thinking!
I do plan to do more book reviews this year than I have been doing recently. Changes at the paper where I have done reviews have meant shorter, and fewer reviews, and I want to do justice to the great gardening books out there. So my next post is going to be a review of a much-anticipated new book: Indoor Plant D├ęcor, by Kylee Baumle and Jenny Peterson. This is the perfect time to be thinking about indoor gardening, after all. And the days are already starting to get a little bit longer--slow but steady, we'll get there.

What about you? Are you making resolutions, plans, or just going with the flow this coming spring and summer?


  1. Your resolutions sound doable. I haven't even thought that far ahead. My head is still in the snow. Frozen I think.

  2. No resolutions for me, that way I'm not disappointed when I don't accomplish them. Aching for Spring, hoping by then I will be thawed out.

  3. I enjoyed your post, Jodi. Just last night I was looking through garden catalogs, selecting shrubs and seeds to purchase. My garden is large but it's also pretty full, so I need to be careful about adding items; in the past I often chose something I liked and thought I will take it home and then figure out a place for it; now, I figure out where it will fit before I buy it. I found out the hard way when some things overgrew their spaces and had to be removed, one being a very nice oak tree.

  4. I like that your 'resolutions' are more of a garden to do list. Planning the garden is much more enjoyable than the typical resolutions like losing weight. I'm sure you'll have no trouble carrying out all these tasks and enjoy every minute of it.

  5. I wouldn't call mine resolutions, just inclinations. I know that I will continue to plant more easy care perennials, no more fuss pots around here. And since my ground is so hard to dig, I'll use seeds more often, even for perennials. And we are definitely going to either build, or order, some lovely cucumber trellises to keep them off the ground and blooming all summer. We love cucumbers, and they always did poorly. But last year we got them up off the ground and they did fabulously! This year, I expect even better.

  6. Lovely post Jodi. Resolutions ... day dreams ... garden dreams ... fill my head as I tough out winter. I have a teeny, tiny, backyard, but make the most of every square inch. I also garden out front. I'm not a "lawn" girl. I resolve to put more veggies out front next year as that's where the best sun is. I also would like to put a cold frame out there ...

  7. These are well chosen resolutions and I can see them coming straight from the heart! Little weakness for favourite pants mixed with deep concern for bees and butterflies (wildlife) shows what a great soul and gardener you are! Good luck for 2014!

    I totally share you passion for echinaceas, bees and butterflies! And they all go so well together!

  8. This is beautiful, and don't we all dream such ambitious dreams in January? May all your non-resolutions and winter daydreams for your garden be fulfilled this year. :-)

  9. I also love poppies, sunflowers, nigella and sweet peas. Nigella and poppies (both Shirley and California) do self-seed profusely. However I never had much luck with sweet peas. I expect they want a much richer soil than I can offer them. However, reading your post makes me think that I should probably give them a try once again.

  10. I have a long list of things I want to do in my garden next summer. I know I won't manage to do it all, but it doesn't matter. I love planning, and the winter is so long...

  11. I, too, will plant more plants this year. Poppies are high on the list to plant, and more daylilies


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