at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Planning and Plotting this Year's Garden

The first crocus of the season - Spring is coming!
Every winter, I have a tendency to hibernate. The cold and I don't get along very well. The past couple years, I made a concerted effort to get out and enjoy winter and the snow for what it is -- and we actually had a lot of fun skiing, ice skating and even walking in the winter. This year, however, I've felt pretty lethargic. It's been a mild winter, which means that the weather hasn't been very conducive to winter activities, yet it's still been cold and cloudy. So what can bring sunshine and cheer on a grey winter day? Well, garden planning, of course! 
I like to draw up (literally) my plans for my garden each year -- usually several times. This year, I've been thinking about my perennial garden because I know I need to move some things around. Last year, the chives were getting out of hand and things were just looking overcrowded and misplaced. That got me thinking about my garden's history.  We moved into our house in September of 2009, so my first garden season was 2010. My perennial garden was empty save for a lone tulip and sickly day lily. Thanks to a generous co-worker's wife, I got a lot of free transplants that first year -- lilies and irises and phlox. I had planted a few bulbs in the fall, too, so the first year, my garden was off to a good start.

I wanted to look back and compare year to year to see how my garden had grown, and to try to determine how I wanted to rearrange this year.  It led to a rather time-consuming project of looking up garden photos month by month for each year over the past 6 growing seasons. Below is what I came up with (click here to view full size):

I'm obviously pretty inconsistent at taking photos, but it was really fun to look back! It's always fun to look at the early spring / winter photos and how dead everything looks and then to see the garden in full bloom -- and just to think that all of that had been lying hidden under the ground!

It is crazy to look at 2012 when we had that early spring (summer, really) and how the garden was a month or two ahead of normal schedule! My garden has also gotten prettier in the fall over the years. Spring is full of bulbs and June has unintentionally turned into a completely purple garden. My biggest challenge has been around July when the spring flowers have faded and the late summer flowers haven't yet bloomed. I've tried to incorporate some new mid-summer blooms, but it remains a bit lacking. One year, I got tons of black-eyed susans from who knows where -- I loved those, but they never came back in full force.  I think I'll thin things out a bit this year then take another look at what I can add in to make sure I have good color all season long.  This year, I'll try to take at least one photo every month for better documentation! It looks like this week it's going to be a good taste of spring. I can't wait to be able to get into the dirt and start playing!

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!