Reading the future

all planted - can you see it?

Positive visualization is a skill we gardeners get a lot of practice in. I think for any of us, whether we’re planting one or two things or designing beds, visualization goes way beyond garden-variety optimism to a creative knack for soothsaying. We totally have ESP. Gail, Lilah and I placed “the big empty” yesterday for the volunteers to help plant today and we talked about how we can actually see in our minds’ eyes what it will look like in August. Never mind that the plants that will grow the tallest, widest, burliest are the wee-est, spindliest specks now. We can see them in their ginormous glory.

placing the purplesDeadheads planting

Gail and Lilah deliberatingI have heard that there are people in the world willing to pay an arm and a leg for an instant garden – and I freely admit to having a gracious plenty of impatience for a gardener – but would gardening be as gratifying if there wasn’t a process from dream to fruition? In any case, for us this was a really exciting part of the process. It’s one thing to have the plants on lists of paper and randomly scattered throughout the greenhouse and quite another to see how they’re all going to fit together in a big showy – soon to be purple-centric – bed. And if there are surprises and changes along the way, so much the better. (The gardener’s mind’s eye must always allow for some unpredictability.) I know I’ll talk more about our lavender/purple experiment as the garden grows but I can tell already (because I can read the future) that I’m going to love it.

a monarch in the makingWe can see the future too in caterpillars munching on their favorite butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) and we can predict that Fred and Dan’s new creation in the container garden will be one of the visitors’ favorite spots. Lilah has dubbed it “The Tanning Bench”.

a bench in the makingking sized bed

Do you foresee your garden’s glory as you design and plant it?

4 thoughts on “Reading the future

  1. I am an incredibly visual person so I work in my head almost exclusively. Plotting things on graph paper doesn’t do it for me – I consider it a monster waste of time. My winters will be spent sitting in a chair plopping plants in my cerebral garden and moving things around. By the time I get out in the spring, all the planning has been done. For me, a draft table simply can’t substitute hours of staring and walking over a space and working things out on the ground.

    Susan, I think we’re a lot alike in our design process. My main trouble, and this is why Gail and I work so well together, is that I forget from one day to the next what the plan in my head looked like, and what plants went where. But this year we managed to work from lists rather than a drawing and I think it went amazingly well! -kris

  2. I can just see Fred and Dan walking sideways like cartoon characters mowing the sides of the tanning cube. Love it! Back from Chicago and wish you were there to share. Next year plant July in Buffalo and we are off the hook mainly cause I whined. You owe me! LOL

    Layanee, I’m not sure Fred and Dan have quite worked out their gravity issues yet… ! I wish I could have gone to Chicago and whined alongside you. Many many thanks – and come by so we can “settle up” anytime! July in Buffalo might actually be doable – how exciting… -kris

  3. Sigh, I’m still figuring this out. I went out with measuring tape and graph paper to lovingly plot out where bulbs and perennials were, but never finished that and so never drew the almighty design. Pooh! I guess it’s in my head, but like you it changes day to day because I forget! So guess I’m sorta like Craig, who says he uses the walk-around-with-bucket-and-shovel method. Right now for me it’s trowel and seed, and I’m finding that harder. I’m excited for your caterpillars! My first Asclepias is about 2″ tall. Enjoy this early stage–it changes so fast. p.s. Love love LOVE the tanning bench and want one of our own.

    Lynn, oh yeah – direct sowing seeds is one of the toughest for fitting into a plan and mentally picturing all grown up. I totally have a mental block about seeding anything down. I’ll sit and stare at the packets for ages before Gail finally sows them! -kris (and p.s. personally I’m after a tanning bed of clover…!)

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