It’s a reflective time of year. Even bunnies are pausing a moment as they find today’s path. Plant lovers thinking about next gardening season have all the seed catalogs a table can hold and plenty online besides.
At Plant Exchange, garden magazines are a hit for reading and reflection now. Articles in the January/February 2021 issue of Horticulture rung several bells for me.“Annuals are the throw pillows of the plant world,” said Jimmy Turner, Director of Utah’s Red Butte Garden. He also has experience at the Dallas Arboretum and botanic gardens in Australia and has worked with plants under differing environmental conditions.
Reflection: As a plant enthusiast walking into a garden center, annuals of the moment are front and center. Because they are so colorful, diverse in appearance, grow and die within a season, they are alluring. Different skills and time for overwintering them are not required.
It’s easy to picture a couch with a few pillows to carry the color. We need furniture to give the room structure and function, like trees, shrubs, and perennials provide form and function to the backyard. These plants require more commitment of selecting suitable plants, time, pruning, and some know-how for their care.
- Carbon gardening can slow global warming. Less carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere with sustainable methods and is stored as organic matter in the soil. Adrian Ayres Fisher is a Sustainability Coordinator for Triton College in River Grove, Ill. She said, “I believe that any approach to gardening should result in a landscape that is not only sustainable and ecologically beneficial but also more beautiful and—crucially—more fun. Carbon gardening satisfies all these parameters.” Examples include to select locally indigenous plants, reduce tilling, and add compost cover for plant beds.
Reflection: Over time, the names for wise gardening that return nutrients to the soil and conserve inputs change, but the methods that mimic natural cycles seem to generally stay the same.
- All-America Selections and GreatPlants are two of many websites that feature plants of the region that grow well. Top growing plants are highlighted yearly. Above is one of the AAS rudbeckia photos.
Reflection: Why not look?