05 June 2011

Garden Glimpses in Early June

I have been working really hard on my perennial gardens this spring, hoping that this might be the year that I come closer to achieving my vision. I am trying to create a cottage / woodland garden look using mainly perennials, with just a few annuals for color.

I'm most definitely a novice gardener -- I'm quite good at identifying what I do and don't like, but I tend to fall short in achieving my vision. I've learned most everything by trial and error, supplemented with quite a bit of reading as well as studying other people's gardens.

BUT...after many years of tinkering with my perennial gardens, this year -- for the first time -- I finally feel like I'm getting closer to my gardening vision! If you click on the above collage, you'll see some of the things I'm really happy with right now in the garden areas around our yard. This doesn't mean everything is perfect (I don't think that's EVER the case with perennial gardening!) but I'm considerably happier with my gardens this year than I have been in the past.

I've been blogging quite a bit about my gardening progress this year as well as making some notes as to what I have done differently. Here are my thoughts:

* I over-planted my pots and used a bigger variety of color. For the first time, I'm pleased with how they look and I don't have to wait all summer for them to fill in!

* I was much more aggressive this spring in moving (or getting rid of) plants which weren't thriving. My tendency in the past has been to give them "one more year" to perk up. I decided this spring that time's up!

* I followed the same principle with my perennial gardens as my pots: I over-planted areas to create a fuller look sooner. As plants grow, I can simply divide or move out a few to alleviate any overcrowding.

* I tried to rectify spacing issues by moving plants which were too close to each other. I split several large perennials and found spots to plant them. This helped me to fill in blank areas without having to buy a lot of new plants.

* I added more native plants to the gardens. Once established, natives (I chose prairie plants) require virtually no care and attract all sorts of bees and butterflies.

* I have continued to tinker with my beds. In the past, I've tended to leave them alone after my initial clean-up and spring planting binge. This year, I've
continued to work on them in an effort to get them closer to my vision.

* This year (instead of just thinking about it), I'm going to keep a detailed garden journal with a diagram showing all of my plants. This will help me identify plants as they emerge (or fail to emerge) in the spring. As part of this process, I'll also finish adding metal plant tags to mark all of my perennials. (This finishing touch will also help prevent Spouse from accidentally Round-Upping any of my perennials again!)

Gardening has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me. I love beautifying my little corner of the world.


Kristina said...

Everything looks great! I've always found gardening a work in progress and successes by trial and error.

Janet said...

Thanks so much, Kristina! Still a few problem areas but I think I am getting closer. We will see how things look when the perennials really fill in this summer.

Linda said...

Your gardens are beautiful! I have the same problem about giving plants just one more chance to bounce back. Last year was the year we started making the tough choices and I like the results better too.