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Saturday, October 25, 2014
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Published: Wednesday, 1/1/2014

IN THE GARDEN

This year’s garden work starts today

Plow ahead, don't rest, and reap

BY KELLY HEIDBREDER
GARDENING COLUMNIST FOR THE BLADE
Kelly Heidbreder Kelly Heidbreder
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Today is the first day of 2014 and it is time to roll up your mental sleeves and start preparing for your growing season this spring. Forget about the snow on the ground and the wind chill that is below zero.

Close your eyes and think about that warm late spring day when the sun is shining bright, the mercury is pushing 70 degrees and the soil is soft under your fingers. Ahhh. Now you are in the right place. Let’s start thinking of our plans.

Pictures worth a thousand ideas

Since the garden is quiet for now, dig out the seasonal pictures of your garden. If you have been doing your garden homework that I assign all season long, you have been standing in the same spot in your key garden areas and taking a picture of the same view in the spring, summer, winter and fall. Pull all of those pictures out and analyze what you would like to change. Look for blooming plants in each season. If you don’t have something flowering throughout the year, then make some changes now.

Take your favorite garden books off the shelf or start surfing the web for plants that will fit those bare spots throughout the year and start making your wish list. You might see some plants that are starting to overwhelm the others around it. If you have a huge shrub on the corner of the house that won’t allow you to walk into your back yard without bending over to get around it, then it might be time to give that shrub a major pruning job. If the evergreen shrubs in your front yard are bare in the middle with just a few green spikes on the end, then it is time to pull them out and plant new ones this year. Ahhh, two more items for your wish list!

Levels

Those seasonal pictures will also show you if you have depth in your landscape. Do you have taller plants in the back, medium plants in the middle, and interesting plants around the edge? If not, start doing some doodling on those pictures and come up with a few more layers in your garden. A professionally landscaped garden has depth.

Designers work hard to come up with combinations of plants that will complement each other and not cover each other up. Look at your photos closely. Many hobby gardeners have too many plants that are the same height. Stretch your garden imagination a bit and look for taller plants to show off all of the medium height varieties. If you start planting in height combinations, you will see that your design starts coming together. Don’t forget about the edging.

We sometimes just line our garden beds with stones, bricks or plastic edging and call it a day. But why not use a row of low growing ground covers that can blend from one level to the next and give you color and texture close to turf or sidewalk? Oh yeah, more items for your wish list!

Make that list

As you come up with your 2014 garden plan, keep one list. Don’t make a bunch of little notes all over the place. Keep your wish list centralized. That way you will be able to put a cost with each item and come up with a general budget. If you are going a bit overboard, it is OK. Just keep the plant on your list, but put it in phase two or three of your plan.

You don’t need to buy everything at the same time. You just need to keep dreaming .

Happy New Year!

Contact Kelly Heidbreder at getgrowing@gmail.com 



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