Best intentions


Helleborus foetidus budded up!Just as soon as the dust has settled from the frenzy of December 25 and even before all of the gifts we’ve been given have found a permanent place in our homes (and gardens!) and hearts we have the fresh start of a new year to consider and plan. Some people (are you one?) make New Year’s Resolutions. Personally, I try not to make resolutions because I have few reserves of resolve at this time of year and a half-hearted resolution now, for me is a waste of perfectly good guilty feelings later.

Gardenally, I think turn of the year motivational decisions are different creatures altogether. Unlike standard New Year’s Resolutions that are often born from regrets and soon forgotten or discarded in a heap of self loathing, garden intentions grow out of hope and desire. They are self-fulfilling and don’t have the odious chore-like feel of resolutions – it’s just what we do! We start fresh. We take what we already have and are determined to do it better; make it better, prettier, and more enjoyable some way or other. We give our-gardener-selves deadline-free rein to dream and create and decide, undecide. Whether a little or a lot, we will follow-through and feel proud (sometimes secretly) of whatever we manage to accomplish. Rose Garden roses were “hilled up” and the long canes cut back - on the last warmish day before the snow fell!  Any pruning should be done when the temperatures are above freezing…And I think as gardeners we tend to be more realistic about what we can do/want to do and are easier on ourselves when our dreams overshoot our abilities. Carol at May Dreams Gardens offers a guide for setting some garden “goals” – a way to organize the buzz in our heads of everything we desire for our gardens in the coming season. Does the New Year spur you to make resolutions, set goals or intentions for your garden? Are you easier on your garden than you are on yourself?

Melting snow reveals the start of the Display Garden redesign project - phase 2

The Christmas snow melt revealed one of Fred and Dan’s 2008 best garden intentions – before the ground froze they had begun forging ahead on the Display Garden redesign. The new nurseryThis past year they had the advantage of a weirdly warm early January to resod the area around the cement pond and they cut the new beds on the north side of the garden over the spring. This year, they intend to re-do the south side Idea Beds, move the nursery (along with a bunch of other projects on the grounds). And just like in any home garden, they are at the mercy of the weather, constrained by time and limited by budget – those are realities that keep us gardeners pragmatic. Gail and I, with the volunteers’ help intend to plant up and beautifully maintain what the guys are able to give us. — Whatever we do in all the gardens, will be done to the best of our intentions! Happy New Year!

5 thoughts on “Best intentions

  1. No resolutions here, Kris, other than to get my health under control so that I can do the things I love to do! Last year, I resolved to plant at least a dozen trees (of various sizes, not all big caliper trees) and I met that goal; but that wasn’t an onerous thing to decide to do, of course.
    and a Happy New Year to you, too!

  2. Well said. With our gardens, especially where we have winter, we naturally get a more-or-less clean slate that allows us to plan and plant anew each spring. And winter gives us the time to rest, dream, plan and set some goals. So who needs those resolutions anyway? Not me!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  3. Jodi – Planting 12 trees is such an accomplishment! Just thinking about all that digging … But I’m inspired by your follow-through. I’d like to make a fraction of that commitment in my own garden (it’s on the wee side as is my budget…)
    I hope that you have had a healthy and happy start to the new year!

    Carol, Even with the discomfort of being chilly all winter long, I love this time of year. I’m just about ready to start planning spring – the catalogs are coming in!

  4. Happy New Year! No resolutions for me, & no realistic plans yet either. I prefer to spend most of winter coming up with outrageous garden schemes that will never exist outside of my imagination. I dream of towering Delphiniums & bonsai Wisteria. Sigh…

  5. Mr. McG’s D, I think you might be having more fun than the rest of us! Bonsai wisteria … now there’s a thought… I hope you write more about those outrageous dreams!

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