by Kathy Van Mullekom, a lifelong gardener & gardening writer living in York County, Virginia
February can be one of the most important gardening months of the year – the time to sit by the window with pad and pencil in hand, planning what you want to do when spring weather breaks. Your garden is a living, breathing and important part of life at your home. When something dies, it’s the perfect opportunity to try something new and different. When something outgrows its space, resist the urge to hack at it, and instead find a smaller species to replace it. When something flourishes, congratulate yourself and enjoy the fruits of your labor. In other words, your garden is an evolving work of art – and a soothing place to seek solace from the stresses of daily life.
As you plan the seasons in, changes and additions in your garden this year, don’t plan to do everything at one time or it becomes overwhelming and tedious. Instead, pick a part of the yard that needs rejuvenation the most. Maybe it’s the front yard where your curb appeal is weak. Maybe it’s a perennial garden where overgrown plants need to be divided and relocated or shared with friends. Maybe it’s a sunny spot where you can plant a homegrown vegetable garden. Prioritize your projects and plot out a schedule that allows you to move seamlessly from one completed project to the next. Jot down notes about sun, shade and soil conditions in those areas. Use your computer or tablet to research plants that will thrive there, and sketch out a rough drawing of the size and design you want in a garden. Soon you will have the makings of new and improved gardens that will be done in no-time flat. Spring days are just around the corner – start dreaming up your garden plan today.