Planning next year's garden is something you may want to consider before winter. Making notes now will keep you ahead of the game come spring.
This is the final Tuesdays in the Garden series and today I'm talking about getting the garden ready for winter. Every year in the fall I assess my garden by walking around, taking pictures, and making notes in a small notebook. Come January and February I'm so ready to start planning next year's garden and these notes are a great place to start.
Most of the work I leave until spring, such as pruning perennials. I like to keep the foliage around for winter interest, and to help out the wildlife. I also usually divide perennials in the spring. Still, come fall and early winter, I definitely like to take a inventory of what I need to do come spring.
Steps for Planning Next Year's Garden
1. Over Grown Plants
Make a note for those plants which have overgrown their space. Maybe they taking over an area like the perennial begonia above.
Or perhaps they are growing into the sidewalk. Make a note to re-locate these guys or give some of them away.
2. Bare Spots
Make a note of bare spots and areas which could use new plants to round out your landscape. There use to be a pretty heuchera in the space above. I'm not sure why it died but I suspect rodents, since there are a few holes near this area. I'll make a note to replace it with something a little tougher. I have another spot at the bottom of the hill where I have tried to grow lavender and then this year, sage. They have all died so I'm guessing the area may be too wet. Next year I'll try something that will enjoy wet feet.
3. Poor Plant Growth
Lastly make note of any plants that just haven't done well. If this is the first year you've grown this plant you may want to give it some time. However, sometimes a plant just doesn't seem suited to one area even after you've tried following the growing instructions for light and water requirements. In addition, you may no longer like something that you originally thought was a good idea. You can move the plant to a better suited area, or give it away. For example the large leaf hosta above is clearly getting too much sun as indicated by its burned leaves. This is due to a large maple being removed nearby. In fact, there are a couple of hosta in the same area that will need to be relocated, or I'll have to find a way to add in some shade.
I hope you found this post helpful and will take time some time to evaluate what is happening in your garden so that you will have head start on what needs to be done for next year's garden. It's an easy and worthwhile task, and it gives you an excuse to plan what you might buy during the winter while browsing through all the beautiful plant catalogs.