Field of Science

2015 Gardening Resolutions

Here's all the resolutions that came to mind.  Probably  have forgotten a couple, but these are enough to try to avoid breaking for now.  The main resolution is to take time to enjoy the process and the results. 

No Onesies – This remains a problem in our gardens, too many single plants especially herbaceous perennials.  This happens because of experimentation with new plants to see if they can survive the particular rigors of our gardens. Planting in groups makes for more expensive experiments. But planting in drifts and clusters is what produces more dramatic results. So resolved more group plantings. 

Less Grass – This is certainly a pretty easy resolution because our gardens continue to gradually enlarge and even coalesce. Grass is just so darned boring and so is lawn mowing.  

Plan Way Ahead – Let’s pay attention to information about the ultimate size of trees and shrubs, and for long term landscaping, plan way ahead.  About 12 years ago a thread-leafed Chamaecyparis was planted with plenty of room to grow, so much room that it looked a bit funny sitting there, but now it a massive, broadly conical bush encroaching on the front steps. It can be carefully pruned back some, but not enough to actually significantly reduce its size.  New plantings around a neighbor’s house have one of these false cypress shrubs about 3 feet from the house and surrounded by other plants. It was planted that way to look nice now with no planning ahead other than to sell the house.  Or the house with two young bald cypresses each about 10 feet on either side of their front sidewalk. Hint: they get really big. 

Double Check the Cold-Hardiness Ratings on Labels – Please understand, they (plant producers) lie. TPP bought a zone 5 plant that promptly died over the next winter and then further research from various other sources never found a rating above zone 6. This is unethical labeling of course. They also lie by omission when they market an alpine plant as winter hardy without telling you they cannot handle our hot, dry summers.  

Do More Garden Designing – TPP is not really a good desinging gardens on paper. Our gardens have never had a plan; he makes it up as he goes along, sort of organically.  Drawing up a plan to scale helps greatly with the spacing and purchasing of trees and shrubs to integrate new plants into the existing plants.  But, hey, when a new magnolia bargain presents itself, plans or no plans, buy it. 

Refurbish the Kitchen Garden – The past two seasons have not been kind to our kitchen garden that suffers from small size and too much shade. Without enough space to do significant crop rotation pathogens seem to be getting the upper hand. Some success with large container gardening is suggesting a new direction for this garden.  

Use Better Record Keeping – A comprehensive list of the plants in our gardens is lacking. It’s in the neighborhood of 300 species. A flowering log is kept, but records of when and where some plants were acquired is spotty at best (mostly marginal notes in our old Dirr).  Building a database is a retirement project. 

Find Durable Garden Tags – Tags really take a beating out there.  And this is also true for TPP’s field research. Apparently a lot of animals have to chew on things to determine if they are good to eat or not. Several different types of tags have been tried, and their longevity has not been good, and some of the tough ones, the real survivors, tend to lose their information.  Any suggestions along these lines would be appreciated.
Don't Be Too Fastidious - A weed here or there just doesn't matter. And gardens don't have to be all neat-freak tidy to be attractive.  So in general, so long as things are not seriously out of control, don't sweat the small stuff. Now if a wedding is being planned to take place in your gardens, then someone will probably want this resolution to be broken, but you know people should be paying attention to the event and the happy couple, and not to the neatness of your garden edges. 


Anonymous said...

Ah yes . . . The Chamaecyparis pisifera filifera that looked so lovely in its corner of the bed, and that has now driven out all the other lovely plants, eaten the end of the handicapped access ramp and may yet take out the corner of the cabin. Warning! "nana" is a fickle reed on which to lean!

The Phytophactor said...

All too true!

Anonymous said...

Great resolutions and I second the one on planning. That's where I always seem to fall short. I get "drawn" by tons of last-minute additions. ;)

Chris at