The Planning Season

I am so done with winter. Unfortunately, winter is not done with me, not by a long shot. My conservative estimate is at least another five weeks of winter, likely followed by several weeks of mud. Mud's OK. I can live with mud. I have a pretty pair of sky blue wellies that allow me to clomp around in the mud. Snow and ice, on the other hand, I'm ready to be done with.

Winter is, of course, the long stretch known to gardeners as "the planning season." And all the books talk about how you can really see the bones of the garden in winter, which is kind of helpful when planning. It's also why it's so important to have shrubs and evergreens and hardscaping. At least you have something to look at when all the perennials have died back to the ground.

Well, you can see the bones of my garden in the attached photos. I wasn't willing to tromp in the snow, so I opened my back window and leaned out. My cat came out to investigate, walked out the window to the outer window sill, sniffed the cold air, and immediately headed back in. She's a Siberian; you'd think she'd be dying to romp in the snow.

Anyway, wintery bones. Here you go.

It's kind of nice you can see the round lawn underneath the dusting of snow. What you don't see in this photo is the circular brick patio next to it. 

The grow poles in front of the garage are covered with clematis in summer. Well, the one on the right is; the ones on the left should be in the "leap" stage this year, since I planted them three years ago.

The little shrubs along the path are lavender bushes. I love lavender, and I plant more every year. 

And here we have the potager in winter. I know, a real potager would have a charming little fence around it, but I've only got so much room for vegetables. This spring, I'm going to add another set of two trellises to the right of this picture and another long bed at their base. I'll have to uproot a lavender to do it, and I'm pretty sure it won't survive the transplant process. 

Anyone who thinks gardening is a hobby for little old ladies has never 1. murdered plants in order to rearrange a garden for aesthetic purposes, 2. pruned a rosebush, or 3. built her own raised beds and trellises. Let me tell you, it's a lot of work. But the pumpkins and melons went wild last year, and I'd like more space for them. When your garden is small, you have to go up instead of out. Hence, trellises. 

Also, here you see the circular patio I mentioned. 

This bit is my perennially difficult shade border. I'm not planning to change much of the planting in the back garden, but I'm going to rework this border. 

Just to the left of photo in my neighbor's yard is a huge maple tree with roots that go to China. Between that and the honeysuckle bush (also on the neighbor's side of the fence), there are so many roots and suckers I literally have to take an axe to the soil to plant anything bigger than a daylily. The viburnum I planted there died a slow and painful death, so I'm looking for a nice shrub to give this some structure. Maybe an oakleaf hydrangea. They're good in shade and pretty tough. There are three Anabelle hydrangeas there already; they're the little brown sticks standing up. The rest is daylily, geranium (I love geranium), and lady's mantle. Last year I planted spiderwort, but I'm not sure it will be back this year. 

When it's not so cold, I'll take a photo of hosta alley, which runs along the side of the house (to the right of the potager in the photo above.) Hosta alley is also my work area, where I keep the garbage cans and whatnot. Also the spigot is there. 

There's a massive old workbench in my basement that's been here since I moved in eight years ago. The BF thinks we can haul it outside, hopefully without taking it apart, or at least without serious injury to either of us. I'm going to stick that puppy in hosta alley, right next to the spigot, where it will become the most spacious free potting bench you've ever seen. Homely, maybe, but I did mention it's free, right? If I get particularly ambitious, I will cut out a square on one end so soil can fall through, and add an outdoor sink on the end next to the spigot. If I'm lazy (likely), I'll just use it as it is. Given how much we charge for potting benches and potting sinks at the store, I will feel gloriously smug either way. 

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