Don't be a grump just because it's cold! Start your "summer dreaming" today!
Don’t be a grump just because it’s cold! Start your “summer dreaming” now!

Beat the Winter Duldrums: Start Planning your Summer Garden TODAY!

For those of us who live in “cold winter” areas, as Begonia and I do, right about now the snow is beginning to “lose its luster”. The holidays are over with nothing left to look forward to but another several months of wet boots, red noses, and frozen car doors. So why not bring the spring and summer INTO your home by starting your “summer dreaming” a little early this year?!

Did you realize that many online as well as catalog bulb and perennial companies have already started accepting pre-orders for spring planted items, such as cannas, callas, dahlias, and assorted perennials? You can be far ahead of the game just by beginning to plan now and making your selections before the spring rush begins.

So you may be wondering: how do I even begin to decide what I want to plant this year? Even though this may seem like a daunting task, planning your garden should be one of the most fun and enjoyable things you do! Make it easy on yourself this year by following these easy steps:

  1. Decide on a location. Pick a spot of your yard that you feel needs “extra attention”. Or perhaps for you it’s simply your favorite raised planter or decorative container. Have a specific project, such as a flowerbed around your mailbox or in that shaded part of your already existing garden? Perhaps this is the year you want to tackle it! Whatever you do, don’t “over-commit” yourself. Doing so will only leave you tired and frustrated. Have the courage to a pick a slightly smaller project and do it WELL rather than taking on more than you can handle and leaving yourself disappointed by the results.

    Let your imagination bring the warm weather to you!

    Let your imagination bring the warm weather to you even on the coldest day!

  2. Start collecting ideas. Collect all of the information you can find: garden magazines, website and blog articles, plant catalogs, and web addresses to some of your favorite plant sources. When you see something you like, tear it out or print it off and begin a “summer dreaming” journal. Try not to get too hung up on plant height, color, light requirements, etc. at first. These will only limit your creativity.
  3. Look through your treasures. Once you feel you have collected a good amount of information, sit down with your journal and sort through what you have found. Can you find any common themes in the plants/ideas you’ve selected (formal garden settings, color patterns, exotic-looking plants?). Begin to think about these ideas in relation to the location you had pre-determined to “fix-up” this year. Will they work here? Does the area get enough sunlight or too much? Do the colors go together or do they clash?
  4. Begin building the dream. Now that the information you have collected has been somewhat organized, decide which direction you will take and separate the plants/ideas that will be included this season. Do NOT throw the rest of it away! Keep all of these ideas in a folder to re-visit at a later time and don’t EVER tell yourself “no” to an idea you truly love. Yes, it may be true that you don’t have the money to have an 8 foot tall marble fountain in the middle of your backyard surrounded by 5′ cannas. But that doesn’t mean you can’t someday do something very similar, just on a smaller scale. Again, it may be true that you just don’t have enough sunlight in your backyard to grow the climbing wisteria vine  you’ve always dreamed of but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other climbing perennials which would work wonderfully in a more shaded landscape and provide just the same effect.
  5. Go shopping! Join newsletters and email lists to your favorite websites and suppliers and begin watching for coupons. Start finding specific sources for your purchases and don’t wait too long to place your order. Once the weather starts to warm up, there will be many gardeners thinking about making these purchases and you won’t want to get left out in the cold 🙂

From now on, whenever the winter rain, sleet, or snow starts to get you down, head to your favorite garden website or magazine and continue your “summer dreaming”. It won’t be long before it’s here and you want to be ready for it, don’t you???

Until next time,

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Have a question about your “summer dreaming” or any other bulb gardening topic? Ask Bridget! Email her at bridget@bulbblog.com! If she features your question in a future post, you’ll receive a Holland Bulb Farms coupon for your next order at Holland Bulb Farms!