Along with taking a good look back at last year’s successes and failures (I’ll get to those later maybe) we gardeners take this time to look forward and dream a little. (Incidentally, we are probably at our most optimistic right now: in January – the “dead of winter.” Just before another storm pig-piles more snow on the garden.) Gail and I have been gathering our thoughts before we open the catalogs, and started to volley some ideas for next years gardens back and forth across the table. (This might well be the very best part of our job.)
We have both come to realize that we’re not interested in gardening just for our own or our (human) visitors’ pleasure. I haven’t forgotten that is a public garden – stick with me here: we have just started noticing that we habitually use words like “nature”, “habitat”, “environment”, and “ecosystem” and of course you already know that we are head over heels for pollinators. In truth, welcoming pollinators, insects and birds into the garden is ultimately self-serving because wildlife is good for the garden and what’s good for the garden is great for its visitors – as well as its gardeners.
So this year we’re considering buying or making bird, bat, butterfly, toad, and mason bee houses and as usual, we’ll be planting a lot of flowers. We’ll also make some changes to our maintenance practices to allow more seed heads to remain. All of these intentions will be part of how we form our designs, which we have every hope, will be as abundant and beautiful as ever.
And because we’re still on the sustainable gardening bandwagon (and can’t imagine ever hopping off of it) we’ll make a concerted effort to reduce our water needs by selecting plants with last summer in mind; we’re researching low growing and steppable lawn alternatives to plant in one of the Display Garden beds; and planning to keep invasive weeds out of the native wildflower area behind the summer house in the Bosquet. And because we love our human visitors too – and couldn’t do any of this if it weren’t for you, we’re imagining shady relief from blazing summer sun in our container bed, and planning to install more crowd pleasing roses as well as irrigation in the Rose Garden.
Are you starting to look forward and plan this year’s garden? Do you have a particular area of focus or any new intentions? Is there anything you’d like to see at Blithewold that I haven’t mentioned?