1. Review: There is so much anticipation with longer days, more daylight, and the promise of spring. Winter walk your property, garden, deck, and patio to see what survived and what didn’t. Look for changes you want to make, areas that you want to stop planting, and those where you find you have the perfect spot for a new hydrangea. Take pictures before the greening begins so you will have a record to consider how you might improve seasonal appeal when you shop.
2. Research: These dreary often dismal days of winter in the northeast make me excited to research the new plants that are coming out this year. As the snow drops begin to peek thru my soil, I happily wander thru my favorite catalogs that are arriving in the mail. I’ve already posted a garden page on my website, these are my tried and true working must-haves. Don’t forget, if you have favorite tools, now is the time to get them sharpened and ready for the season.
Here are some of my favorite resources:
Hudson Valley Seed For those who start with seed, these enchanting art seed packs will make you swoon.
B & D Lilies
Brent and Becky's Bulbs
Van Engelen Bulbs Oh, those squirrels!
Moss Acres Moss, it’s all the rage
Beds & Borders
N H Hostas More of those miniatures are here, as well as a huge variety of others.
Klehms Song Sparrow Check out their mini hostas. It’s a new happy for me.
Plants Delight Look at what’s new for 2018!
Tools & Supplies:
Rose's Garden Shop
Garden's Alive Environmentally responsible products
Gardeners Supply In the mainstream, with raised beds.
Lee Valley Garden Tools Includes my favorite: cross back apron, not just for gardening, yet perfect for repotting.
Unique & Unusual Resource
Terrain the most amazing outdoor compilation and design from Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. You can shop online, but if you are near a store, it is worth the trip to experience the unique mix of materials and design. This is my total inspiration and escape spot.
3. Plan & Visit: Plan with a garden journal. I recommend you keep a dedicated journal, a notebook or file about your garden. Maintaining one is the only way I know to track what I planted, and where. In that journal, I can then record what came back, so I learn what plants & shrubs & even trees were a success and what didn’t survive.
There are always new & improved varieties, old favorites and my own task of replenishing bulbs that squirrels/deer vandalized over the winter. I keep an actual journal and I will tuck plant tickets into it until I have time to record the variety. If a digital journal is more to your taste, there are lots of options. Evernote or a dedicated board on Pinterest are great ways to document your garden’s growth. With online journaling, the photo capturing is more accessible. However, I enjoying the physical notebook so I can sketch my garden, the beds, the hardscaping, my shady areas and where the sun is strongest.
Visit other gardens. Look at what will be open this summer in the Garden Conservancy.
Get to local garden centers, join local garden clubs if only to hear guest speakers.
We are fortunate in the Philadelphia area to have multiple resources. Longwood Gardens, Chanticleer, Morris Arboretum, Tyler Arboretum, Temple Ambler Arboretum, Barnes Foundation Gardens, Winterthur and many, many more. That paper and pen journal I keep? It goes with me to record what I learn. It can get a lot of mileage in my growing season.
Plan to search locally, if you buy local, you will be certain the plant varieties will be suited for your growing climate.
Enjoy this planning time, it is exciting to what’s new in the plant world.