Sunday, February 13, 2011

Amping up for 2011

It was a 'garden planning day' today.  I spent the day looking over garden photographs from 2010 and reading my garden journal.  There were wishlists, sketches on tracing paper and paging through the "Perennials for Illinois" guide book - that is dog-eared and tabbed from front to back.  As I've mentioned in the past, I am a visual person -- the sketches on tracing paper has become one of my most effective tools for garden planning.

Getting an idea of mature size & shape of existing bushes
 In the 'South by Southwest Garden'
I fell in love with another new plant (at least new for me) - Mallow (Malva moschata & Malva alcea).  My goal for the SSW garden is to have a 'cottage garden' feel to it.  Have tall, field friendly flowers/plants that move with the wind, supported by a strong architectural backdrop from the dark emerald Arborvitae.

(Labeled for reuse on Google)
Reviewing my garden photos from last year (and there were a boatload!) was a trip down memory lane:

A trip down memory lane
Gardening 2010 at the Bunnies Buffet
It was a good sense of accomplishment!  Reviewing the perennials I would like to add to my gardens reinforced my resolve to back away from impulse buying when it comes to annuals.  It also helped prioritize the plants to be bought, and which gardens are going to get which plants.  It's all about the 'bang for the buck'!

My 2011 Wishlist
(using for images)
So as the temperatures in the Midwest start to edge up - forecasting 52 degrees (f) this coming Thursday, things are looking up!  (I'm not naive to think temperatures will stay 'up'.)  Planning helped take the edge off of my 'cabin fever'.  Now it's Spring's turn to show up....

Happy Garden Planning!


  1. Shrylene, you have some great plants on your wish list to add to your beautiful garden. Your dreams of a cottage garden sounds idyllic! I have always admired mallow. i think it will be a great addition!

  2. I'm with you - this year it's about big bang for the buck...I think I'll try a bunch of seeds this spring to get some nice summer color. Zinnia and sunflowers are on my wish list. Your idea of using tracing paper is one I will need to pinch...seems very helpful. Happy Valentine's Day!

  3. You look like you have a plan. A good start to cottage gardening with a lot of nice blooms to accent your arbs.

  4. Isn't it good to have seasons for planning, seasons for expediting and seasons to just enjoy...

  5. I think that warm weather is headed my way in CT, if only for a day. Isn't it exciting to stand at the edge of a new season, thinking about the pleasures to come? Your wish list looks like a great start!

  6. good time to plan and what gorgeous blooms you have already...dream away and cottage gardens because you can include old favorites and new!

  7. Fabulous post. I love the idea of using tracing paper to draw over your photos...I have never tried that before, but as a visual learner it would be very effective.

  8. Shrylene, you have a great idea here because I am the queen of the impulse buy. I think I know what I want and then I go to the gardening center and lose my mind. Also last night while grilling dinner, my hubby had to hear about all the plans I had for the back yard.

    He looked worried.

  9. Deb - what a great word & concept: "idyllic"! I do hope the garden looks that way. I just have to remember to be patient...

    Cat - seeds are going to be next year's project (maybe); it is still too intimidating - especially after turning those "wintered" Rex Begonias into compost dust recently! Enjoy the "trace paper over photos" trick -- we used it in college (design/arch.) for brainstorming quick ideas.

    GWGT - thanks for the feedback! Sketching the bushes at adult height really helped me conceptually. Now if I could just make everything grow fast after they are planted!

    One - what a great perspective on gardening! (especially "seasons to just enjoy"!)

    Cyndy - nice days are cherished this time of year, aren't they? I love your comment about 'standing on the edge of a new season'! (It feels just like that!!)

    Donna - this will be my 1st cottage garden ever. I am so stoked!

    Hanni - Thanks so much for your kind comments! Try the trace paper, I swear by it! I am so glad you stopped by for a visit and the 'follow' - thank you.

    LifesHwy - my impulse buys really hit me hard after last year. I had 1/2 a flat of orange-pink Snapdragons that never made it in the ground and a full flat of Cosmos that looked like someone hit them with a blow-torch by August (and they were mulched & watered)! BTW - our husbands have a LOT in common! ;o)

  10. Shyrlene, I think your photo and tracing paper design strategy is so clever. (Of course, it requires drawing skills higher than the stick people level!)I love malva, too; I was smitten the first time I saw a big clump of it in full bloom. Gorgeous! Unfortunately, it doesn't like the conditions in my garden, and I have never succeeded in getting it established. So I just have to enjoy it in other people's gardens -- like yours :-). -Jean

  11. Jean - you are very kind! The best thing about tracing paper is that you can play with it all you want and you just need a good eraser! We'll see how much Malva likes me this summer - I hope it plays 'nice'! (I feel like a little kid waiting for Christmas... is Spring ever going to get here?!)

  12. Hi Shyrlene, your post really made me smile, because I was doing pretty much the same yesterday, flicking back through past photographs of the garden, leafing through books, dreaming, working out how to get the most from my birthday money in terms of plants I can't grow from seed. I don't have a definite plan because it depends, in part, on which of my seedlings come through looking strong and what survives the winter, but I do love the dreaming of new colour and foliage combinations. Will look forward to seeing the results of your planning in due course!

  13. Plantaliscious - growing plants from seed is scary yet; I feel like I have a long way to go - especially when I see other gardeners with light boxes, special dedicated areas for seedlings, all "grown up" kind of stuff! (I feel like a "newbie"!)

  14. Hi Shyrlene, don't be put off by the lightbox and other paraphenalia. My first experience was growing seed in seed trays and loo roll centres in a cold polytunnel in North Wales! We got a beautiful cutting garden out of it and I was hooked. My mentor was a woman who grew annuals and perennials for her garden without any fancy equipment at all, just moving things in and out of the house to break dormancy. No magic to it at all, and if you start with easy annuals like pot marigolds, sunflowers, cornflowers you will soon catch the bug and no need for anything more than your greenhouse!

  15. I did some planing too. hopefully it all will grow nicely this spring. look forward to see how your garden blooms!

  16. I've actually started using your fabulous idea of tracing over the top of photos when making plans for a new garden bed. I'm very much a visual person and it really helps to 'see' what the end result may look like.

    Your plans are sounding terrific ... keep us posted.

  17. Using tracing paper over your garden photos is ingenious! I might need to try that idea out too. You've picked some lovelies for your garden this year and it won't be long they'll all be in the ground and a blooming-can't wait!

  18. LOVE garden planning! So many colours and combinations and seasons!!

  19. Fer - garden planning has made me so happy this year; I just can't wait for this Spring!

    Bernie - I'm SO glad to know the 'tracing paper' idea is working for you! A little goes a long way! :D (My nose is buried back in the garden books today! It's such a blast!)

    Tina - thanks for the 'props'! Have fun - once you start, you'll love it for planning! (I was eye-balling my gardens yesterday... I see tips of green!)

    Heather - it's such an adrenaline buzz to garden plan! This year has been the best so far! :D


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