Garden resolutions for 2012

We all know we never fulfill our New Year’s resolutions. NEVER. Just take a look at how I failed miserably  with my 2011 gardening resolutions.

I bet if you did your research, you would find that more lettuce is eaten the first week of January than any other week in the year. We convince ourselves THIS will be the year we will stick to our lofty goals. Sure you will.

After saying all that, I cannot resist setting my own gardening “goals” (sounds more attainable than “resolutions”) for the new year. It kick starts my enthusiasm to start planning as we enter the dead of winter. A chance to dream of spring and emerging bulbs.

So without further ado, I give you my five step gardening plan for 2012:

1. Expand, expand, expand – As I’ve mentioned previously, I live on a large lot (2+ acres) that was a blank canvas when we moved in back in 2004. It’s been a slow process to expand the garden out into the yard. I blame it on lack of time, the fear of deer and poorly draining soil. As a result, I have way too much lawn to maintain:              

Besides the desire to cut down on the lawn maintenance time, I really want to lure visitors (kind of sounds creepy) further out into the yard. I want to add more paths and “destinations” that will encourage you to want to explore more.

This is the view out of the back of my home and for years I’ve planned on creating a woodland garden underneath the only mature tree on my property. I’m thinking benches and deer resistant shrubs and grasses:    

So it is time to dedicate myself to moving beyond the garden beds that surround the house:

2. Foliage, foliage, foliage – The reality of my garden situation is that I have clay soil that does not drain well and my yard is infested with deer and rabbits. That does not lend itself to a garden full of flowers. The key is to focus on foliage with contrasting colors, shape and textures. I can strategically utilize flowers where possible (damn you spring plant catalogs and your beautiful flowers), but the focus and theme will be on the foliage:      

3. Take advantage of raised beds – This is a simple one. Raised beds eliminate the poor drainage issue and allow me to grow herbs and vegetables I normally could not. Like an idiot, I completely ignored an existing raised bed I’ve had for years and it looked like this most of the year:

No more. I’m imagining rosemary, thyme, cilantro, chives, tomatoes, etc. I mean seriously, my wife is a world class cook and I’m not providing her with the necessary fresh ingredients.

4. Give up on the plants I know will not thrive – It is all about survival of the fittest and if you can’t keep up, you’re gone. So …

Good bye Phlox paniculata:

Good bye Weeping Cherry Tree:

Good bye daylillies:

And good bye Geranium ‘Brookside’:

5. Visit more gardens and get my ass inspired – For reasons unknown, I have not taken advantage of all of the public gardens at my disposal and that is a friggin shame. I’m missing out on so much and that needs to change. This past summer, I finally made my way to the New York Botanical Garden and what an experience it was. I felt energized by all of the displays and was immediately inspired to experiment:  

So there you go, my 2012 gardening resolutions are out there and now the pressure is on to actually see that I meet these objectives.

Happy new year to you all and we’ll do this again in 2012!


13 thoughts on “Garden resolutions for 2012

  1. Leslie

    Happy New Year to you John – and to be completely honest… that Weeping Cherry tree was really not that bad… really! I’ve seen much worse believe me..

  2. Ms. A

    Wait just a minute, what’s wrong with the phlox, weeping cherry, daylillies and geraniums? They look darn good to me! You are actually planning to give up on them? That’s tragic. I’m not the fittest, but please don’t give up on me yet, okay?

    Happy New Year, John!

  3. Annie Haven | Authentic Haven Brand

    I’ll send you more Moo Poo Tea to save the weeping Cherry Tree! As for that big lawn I’d make a mosaic of raised beds and fill them with veggies and herbs that would draw you out there daily and supply your wife with an abundance of fresh food for her to create with… That’s my two cents outside of that I look forward to updates on your garden rehab Happy New Year to you and yours Annie

  4. scottweberpdx

    Right on! I have to admit, there are a few plants that I’ll be either chucking in the bin, or gifting to other gardeners…I don’t have space for plants that just don’t like my conditions…time for us both to move on!

  5. Bom

    Good luck with this year’s resolutions, John. I have a couple of projects in mind as well but nothing as extensive as your plans.

    Here’s to hoping we accomplish what we set out to do! Happy New Year!!!

  6. Ilene

    Those are some lofty resolutions!

    I sit here on 1.67 acres but my problem is limestone, not clay soil. I had clay soil at the previous place and raised beds did help.

    You must keep your perspective, though, and be happy with a certain amount of progress each year. These things do not get done all at once unless you have backhoes, access to unlimited fill, and several helpers. Carve out special projects every year and get them established, going on from there. sounds like you need to get a dog that likes to chase rabbits.

    May you have a good 2012. May we all.

  7. John Markowski

    NH Garden – the deer destroy most of the daylillies and I can’t keep up with the deadheading on the repeat bloomers.

    Leslie – the weeping cherry never recovered from a deer antler rub and so I had to cut ties. The Hawthorn that replaced it … INCREDIBLE.

    Ms. A – those were the “good” photos, they just haven’t performed well for me the past few years so had to say goodbye.

    NellJean – happy New Year’s to you too!

    Annie – love me some moo poo tea! Happy New Year’s and as always, thank you for all your support along the way.

    Scott – I’ve learned to give up and move on this past year and have to admit, it feels good!

    Everchanging – I like the pressure, hopefully it forces me to get a whole lot done this year. Happy New Year!

    Bom – Happy New Year! Let’s garden our butts off in 2012.

    Ilene – I am sure I will over promise and under deliver but feel very inspired going into 2012. Happy New Year!

    Carol – thanks for visiting and I bet you are happy basketball is back! Your Pacers look good so far. Happy New Year and hopefully I can stick to my promises in 2012.

  8. Debbie Downes

    I’m just preparing for our first garden club meeting of the year, “What’s Your New Year’s Gardening Resolution?” and you’ve given me lots of great ideas to share. Thank you, Debbie Downes, President Osborn Historic Garden Club, Fairborn, Ohio

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