Monday, January 17, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Last summer I rolled out a garden hose to mark a new bed - which never got finished!
Fer from My Little Garden in Japan suggested a blog carnival for January.  We're to discuss our garden resolutions for the new year.  I don't participate in resolutions as a rule but this idea excited me.  I guess it's all how you look at a resolution.  Generally resolutions feel like empty promises to me.  But a resolution can be a plan.  I like plans... and lists.  Last year I participated in a beautification contest that had me making lists of all the things I wanted to achieve in my new garden.  This year I'm not intending to participate in that contest again but I still wanted to make a list of my garden goals because it gives me some focus and helps me to define what it is I'd like to see in my garden.

So with this in mind I've begun making lists of all the things I would like to accomplish this year.

First and foremost, make more vegetable beds.  On top of the tomatoes, carrots, onions and cilantro of last year I also intend to add 25 strawberry plants, basil and salad greens.  More grass will need to be removed and beds built to accommodate these new arrivals.

I've also been thinking about compost.  My bins are big but still not big enough to accommodate all the material I have.  As a way to use up these materials and create beds I've been considering combining the two projects by using the lasagna method.  Essentially layering compost in the spot I want for the bed and waiting for it to break down.

Another project is the flower bed at the front door.  As you can see in the top photo I laid out the size of that bed last summer and started digging but never finished it.  This project is probably second to the vegetable garden for me.

Another project started last summer and never finished was the large rectangular bed in the meadow.  When we bought the house that bed was filled with weeds and rocks.  Nothing much has changed.  I'd love to see this bed converted to a rock garden but first the weeds must go.

Finally there's the new flower bed I started behind the garage.  The one that was supposed to hold the hollyhocks and the plume poppy.  I plopped a bunch of half finished compost down there in the fall and it will need to worked over in spring so I can plant my seeds there.  But I've also been plotting and planning about what else I'd like to see in this area of the yard.  Wouldn't it be great to add some trees out there, maybe that catalpa I've been coveting?  Honey locust and evergreens as well.  Of course, more flower beds would be necessary as well.

The more I think about it the more projects I keep adding to my 'to do' list.  One after another there seems to be no end to the amount of trees, shrubs and flowers I would like to see in my yard.  As I wrote out all these wishes I started to see a trend.  And I realized there is a resolution here for me after all.

This summer I resolve to do one thing at a time.  Celebrate the things I do get accomplished and accept that it won't all get done.  I resolve to ride my bike, swim at the beach, and take my kayak on the water.  There is plenty of time to grow flowers and play in the summer sun.

To see other garden resolutions, please visit Fer at My Little Garden in Japan.


  1. you sound like I was when I started my garden, it took me a few years to realize one of my problems was trying to do too much at once and finishing nothing or very little, I now try, try to do one thing at a time but all the other things call to me............ good luck with all your plans, I think layering compost in situ is a good idea as it also helps keep down weeds and grass, well I imagine it does, Frances

  2. One resolution I make very year is to be realistic and then kind to myself if I've planned more than I could realistically accomplish. But I do love how ambitious you are! Reminds me of me!! I've resolved to add more fragrance to my garden this year by planting Four O'clocks and a Ginger Syllabub rose. I also want to add more art and whimsy. I recently bought a bunch of colorful plates at a thrift store for a mosaic project. :o)

  3. Hi Marguerite. Thanks for the kind words you left on my post.

    I dont make any resolutions either. I know I just wont do them anyway :) But sometimes a list of to-do's help too, it gives me something to focus on. And It looks like you also have a long list of to-do's. I hope you get to do all that's in your list.

  4. You are going to be a very busy gardener this year!

  5. "all the things I would like to accomplish this year"...well this is a statement most gardeners are settling in with, during these long winter months and you have given voice to that in this blog entry.

    Lists are are clearly on the right track. More veg beds..YES!

    If you stood on your roof and looked down on your can you imagine it in ten years? Just sayin' ))))

    Your home and land in the photos posted, are magnificent. Can't wait to see how it all unfolds.

  6. You have some very ambitious plans for your gardens! The challenge will be to keep at them and not get overwhelmed ... just the sod removal alone would be a major project for me. I'll look forward to seeing your progress develop this spring and summer.

  7. Marguerite, That bed marked by the hose looks huge! It would take me several years to get something that size dug and planted (and I wouldn't be creating 5 new vegetable beds at the same time). I don't make garden resolutions, but I love to-do lists -- not just for major projects, but also for tweaking of existing garden beds (the kind of thing you think you'll remember but that I, at least, seldom do). I have a page of my garden spreadsheet with a column for each area of the garden, and I make my "to-do" notes here; these include how many cubic yards of compost to have delivered in spring, how many stems to allow on each delphinium plant, and things like "move Hemerocallis 'Cathedral Bells' six inches to the left."

  8. I love how you finished that post! You willl hopefully be in that house and developing that garden for many years to come, so enjoying the process, allowing it to take time, and taking time out to enjoy your new surroundings sounds perfect. It would be so sad if you spent so much time and energy working on your "to do" list that you got to the end of the summer without having taken your kayak out. I envy you living so close to water, I love kayaking too.

  9. Your front door bed makes mine look like a postage stamp!

  10. Island Threads - I thought I learned my lesson last year when at the end of the summer I saw how little had been accomplished compared to the things I wanted done. But then I started making this years list and it was just as big! I'm now trying to think up ways to make the work easier and save time.

    TS - You said it perfectly, be realistic and then kind. I like the sound of that. I could probably stand to be a little more realistic and a lot more kind! I seem to get carried away with all the plans I have for this place.

    Solitude Rising - That was what I liked about Fer's idea. Not just a resolution but a plan. As you can see, I can come up with a lot of plans when given half a chance. Completing them might take longer than I'd like though!

    Bonnie - I sure will, and likely for many many years.

    Gardeningbren - What a fantastic idea. I read your comment and immediately me and hubby started discussing how the place would look from the rooftop. I see many many more trees.

    Laurrie - I didn't realize how much work until well into last summer. Sod removal is a much harder chore than I remembered (of course my previous garden was TINY compared to this one). I must admit that this year I'm contemplating renting a sod remover and tiller for a few days. I usually prefer doing work by hand but this place is so large I'm a bit overwhelmed and machines may be the way to go.

    Jean - It is huge!! But what I realized when I started working here was that with such a big property I needed to go large. A small bed would look insignificant next to this house and the lawn would dominate. Filling the beds once they're done is a whole other story. I haven't a clue what will go in them. I'll probably be polling everybody for suggestions.

    Plantaliscious - We certainly hope to be here for many years and I really hope one day I can look back on this blog and photos and be thrilled by all the changes. But as you say, I don't want to realize I missed out on other things because I spent every moment gardening. I love gardening and it makes me happy but last summer I didn't take my kayak out once and that was a shame.

    Green Lane Allotments - It's amazing the size differences in our blogging gardens. I'm learning though that size can be many things - overwhelming, inhibiting or allow us to be creative. I see how much Fer has done on his little balcony and I'm so amazed and excited. Sometimes I look at my yard and I'm overwhelmed by the work. Just cutting the grass takes several hours each week.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Sounds like you will have a lot going on in your garden. But I am sure you will be able to do it.
    Keep us posted on how it turns out.
    I really want to see your 25 strawberries all set up.
    Best luck

  13. You are so wise. I love the sentiment expressed in the sentence "Celebrate the things I do get accomplished and accept that it won't all get done." Life is too short not to take those afternoons to ride your bike and take the kayak out on the water. Your garden will be there when you get home.

  14. A great resolution, Marguerite! Your top photo looked like part of my yard last fall. I, too, used a hose to mark a new flowerbed, and I did get mine finished so that it will be ready to plant this spring. Instead of digging it all up (too tiring!), though, I used the lasagna method and had a load of compost delivered to top it all off.

    I don't intend to sound smug saying I finished my bed, because I'm just like you, with a long list of "I'd like to do this and that..." I finished the bed last fall, but most of the other fall projects didn't get done including bringing in some plants and cuttings to overwinter. One project at a time is about all I can handle:)

  15. To do lists can be overwhelming, but they can also be liberating. Once it's on the list, you don't have to think about it until you get to it.

  16. I love catalpas and honey locusts! We have a catalpa but tend to forage our neighborhood so my daughter can harvest honey locust pods (she really likes their raisin flavor).

    What a wonderful todo list, I love all the plans for new beds!

  17. Wow, that is one big set of I wannas. You set the bar pretty high. But for us, it will be fun to watch all your projects unfold.

  18. This is a big list Marguerite. I'm glad you have decided to also go to the beach, ride your bike and have fun. I t will be great to see what goals you do achieve.

  19. fer - the strawberries are really driving my need to create more vegetable beds this year but I'm really looking forward to eating fresh strawberries.

    Jennifer - let's just hope I'm able to do as I say. I can get a bit obsessive with my gardening!

    Rose - that doesn't sound smug at all. rather good for you!! I tried doing beds the hard way last year and learned my lesson. Finally last fall I dumped compost in an area I'd like to create a bed in hopes it would lessen my workload.

    Carolyn - I think the lists also help put everything in perspective. You start to see what really needs to be done vs. what you'd like done.

    Eliza - I had no idea you could eat the locust pods. That's really interesting. Most sites talk about the pods like they're a nuisance and just make a mess.

    Cheri - or not unfold as they case may be! ;-)

    Melanie - like all lists I think this one will be revised and changed throughout the summer. But no matter what does or doesn't get done I'm resolved to ride my bike more.