February can be the creative start to your personalized garden space. The cozy indoors with lots of photos of your landscape or a stack of gardening magazines with pictures that show aspects of spaces you are attracted to is a place to begin.
Collect images that show your space as it is and the look for which you aim.
I find this one of Whitetail deer resting in our buffalo native grass yard in my photos. I love the notion of space so natural that animals choose to be there. Maintaining garden beds nearby becomes a tug of war with the deer who awaken to flowers as herbivore snacks.
This part of the yard helps prevent bank erosion and adds a circular garden. The hardscape has slowed bank erosion over several years. The garden space is the most structured part of the yard. It is a space for vines to grow, accented by junipers and colorful annuals.
In some ways, these two photos contrast natural and formal aims for the garden space as they are now. By collecting the images of your area as it is now and pictures you aim for together and adding some creative thought, you may decide on a look or feel that most fits and then an area of the yard to focus ideas.
In this area of the yard, how does it function now, and what needs changing?
Use a simple “Plus and Minus“ list to show how the space is already aiming for the look you want and changes to make.
A plus in our yard is that the structured area can be deconstructed in the fall. We remove the annual vines on the arch and annual flowers around it as the maple tree dresses for fall. A minus is that growing and installing annuals each year is a lot of work. Instead, grow only annual vines and perennial flowers. The area continues to serve as erosion control and be a focus of color. The recent soil amendment is complete, but we need to compost in spring.
What is needed to create the space you want?
Add a new spade to the list for the lawn and garden center. Are plants needed? What colors fit your dream for this space? Measure the area and use the spacing guides on plant tags to figure the number of plants to save time and money.
Take photos of your results.
Show your garden space in photos at the end of this coming season. Photos are a record of the results. Like polishing a poem, a garden space often needs a bit more another year. It’s a part of gardening. For a great example of dreaming a garden space and making decisions along the way, see the 2021 November/December issue of Northern Gardener magazine. The Yankton Community Library keeps back issues for browsing.
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