Dreaming of Spring

As another round of polar weather sweeps across the country, there\'s nothing for gardeners to do but hibernate in your living room, pining away for spring. Right? Wrong! Just because it’s snowing outside doesn’t mean you can’t start working inside on your spring garden. How so? By creating a garden dream file.

Now’s a good time to sort through those garden magazine photos, Spring Hill catalogs, and clippings stuffed into shelves all over the house. Or you could print out pictures from Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, or any gardening Web site. Whether you are contemplating a garden makeover, expect to start from scratch in a new place soon, or just feel the urge to add something a little different to your current garden, the first step is to get organized. You’ll need scissors, file folders (or better yet, a totable file box), pens and highlighters, and a large flat surface where you can spread everything out. In addition, if your resource pile includes books, you’ll need self-stick notes to mark pages, since you won’t want to cut them up. As you go through the material, cut out pictures that catch your eye. What catches your eye may be a particular plant, color, combination, or bit of garden art; or it might be a large-scale vista or view.

Filing will be easier if you put the clippings into rough piles: flowers, vegetables, shrubs and trees, seating areas, fences and structures, and so on. Keep the categories fairly general, though you’ll probably need one just for “pretty garden” overviews. If any pile towers over the others, you can break it down into two or more subcategories. For example, rose lovers should separate their floribundas from other captivating variants. Make up a file folder for each category, and continue adding pictures and articles as things catch your eye. In the future, consult the files when you’re considering changes in the garden. You’ll undoubtedly have more ideas than you have room for (a good problem to have!), but reviewing a file’s contents will help you generalize about colors, shapes, textures, and designs that you like, as well as identify particular plants you’d like to try.

To take your garden dreaming to the next level, try creating “inspiration boards”. All you’ll need is white posterboard for each section of your garden you’re looking to give a facelift. Then start attaching pictures and drawing to your heart’s desire! Include plants, shrubs and trees, seating areas, and pots for inspiration. This will help you to create an overall garden that reflects your tastes and personal style. Place your inspiration board in an accessible location so that you can tweak your garden plan throughout the winter. It will also keep you focused and excited about spring…which is right around the corner!