Spring 2022: GO is Garden Organizing

My first apartment was located in a garden courtyard community. I was so proud to contribute my little ledge planter full of basil, thyme, and sage.

My first house was graced with potted flowers and a small garden bed. I learned most of my early gardening on the plant stakes’ short set of direction.

When I moved to my house in Fleeton, VA I was introduced into a whole new level of gardening. Virginia gardeners are very proud of their indigenous plants and there is a serious amount of information and resources to join this thriving community. I sat in on annual Northern Neck Master Gardeners seminars full of sessions and inspiration. 

My friend Marguerite and I edited the existing garden and designed the cottage garden of my dreams, full of hydrangeas, lilies, azaleas, lilac, knockout roses, and irises. It was just the beginning.

While I still maintain that garden, I have since married and moved across the River. Now I enjoy another garden of my dreams with my husband and found my love for sedum, succulents, and all other deer resistant perennials. We own a vacation rental here on property and we love to share our veggie garden with our guests, plus a welcome garden bouquet.

Maintaining multiple garden beds on two properties with weekly bouquets does require organizing skills. While I may not be a Master Gardener, I can apply my master organizing skills in the following ways:

  1. Plan for the season ahead on your personal calendar. In February, clean your gardening tools for March clean-up, in March create your plant purchase list, April schedule time for your plantings, and so on.
  2. Create your garden plan. When placing plants, you must follow certain rules, account for spacing, sun, temperatures (know your garden zone!), and color palette. You can spend a lot of time experimenting like I did, or there are plenty of helpful guides to create your plan. Once you have your plan, amend your monthly to-do list (#1).
  3. Keep up on your supplies inventory. I just learned a valuable lesson in adding more hydrangeas means keeping a larger inventory of Hollytone on hand.
  4. Crazy for ceramic pots. I may have a ceramics problem. I use to buy one every year. Well, I am in my 50s now, you may say I have enough pots. I need to be a good steward to those pots and make sure they are cleaned, stored, and prepared for every new spring. I place it on my annual gardening calendar. 
  5. Make sure to stick to your plant purchase list. Every year, I enthusiastically overbuy and bust my budget. I also regret it when it comes time to planting, watering, and maintenance. Enjoy the ritual of gardening, don’t let it become obligation.
  6. Take care of your plants and veggies to nurture your household. Set time aside each week to ensure your plants have everything they need and free of pests. Share your bounty with friends and neighbors.
  7. Take notes for next year and store them in a garden workbook. Note the bags or truckloads of mulch used, what worked well, what was missing, and what should change.

For many of us, gardening is free therapy. It is the one place free of oversight, conflict, or expectations. You are contributing to the beauty that surrounds all of us. Being organized will give you more time to enjoy in your garden. You will be ready for the seasonal changes, to harvest four culinary and floral creations, and immerse in the stewardship of this green Earth at a deeper level.