Anyone who thinks gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall is missing the best part of the whole year; for gardening begins in January with a dream. ~ Josephine Nuese
Oh, the dreaming I have done this month! I have spent many hours snuggled up in front of the fireplace looking at pictures of my yard, reading through books, leafing through seed catalogs, and surfing the internet. There have been lunch meetings with my husband to present my ideas. And then there have been detailed follow-up emails to him to make sure that I have everything included in my orders. Here’s a sneak peak and some of my plans:
Last year I read Vegetables Love Flowers by Lisa Mason Ziegler and it really did change my approach to gardening for this year. I also recently read Mini Meadows by Mike Lizotte and it has completely motivated me to add flowers in various spaces around our yard. This is a great little book that packs in a lot of helpful information in short snippets. He also features lots of quick lists, with pictures – such as “eight plants for partial shade” and “tough plants for the hellstrip.” He has good advice for putting flowers just about anywhere, and how to prepare the space to do well. There’s a whole section on perennial wildflowers – which I like. And he addresses the necessary host plants for pollinators that we should all be considering. Make it all the way to the end, and you find specific lists for your region of the country. All that – and the photography is gorgeous!
So with my research as well as realistic expectations in hand, I turned to Southern Exposure Seed Exchange for my purchase. My immediate plans include a March planting of French Marigold, Sweet Pea, Black-eyed Susan, Bee Balm, Poppy, and Bachelor’s Button. I will follow that up with a May/June planting of Zinnia, Cosmos, Evening Sun Sunflower, Color Fashion Mix Sunflower, and Butterfly Weed.
Hosta is a plant that I associate with my time in Chicago. We owned an older home there, with an established landscape plan. I loved the lush, green fullness of the hosta in our flower beds. I think we may have had some in Seattle as well. Our current home is in definite need of some filler plants, and we think hosta would be the perfect addition. I’ve turned to Park Seed for this purchase. I ordered Royal Wedding Hosta (4) and Tricyrtis ‘Gilt Edge’ Toad Lily (4) – both in 1-quart size containers. I also ordered some American Crosses Mix in Hosta seeds. I thought I might see how difficult or easy it is to grow these things myself.
I fell in love with this plant last year. The foliage comes in such dramatic colors. I’m determined to have lots of it going forward. Unfortunately, it is an annual. I would much rather plant it and know that I can enjoy it for years to come! But alas, this year I’m attempting to grow it from seed. I’ll be trying (a) Chocolate Covered Cherry and (b) Kong Empire Mix (which includes Mosaic, Salmon Pink, Red, Rose, and Scarlet) to intersperse between the hosta, and maybe in a few containers. I’ve chosen the Wizard Mix (which are much smaller plants in a gorgeous array of colors – Rose, Jade, Golden, Mosaic, Coral Sunrise, Sunset, Velvet Red, and Scarlet). I will try these behind my guest house. It’s on the north side of the house, so lots of shade and moisture.
Last Labor Day, I visited with my parents in South Carolina. I was telling them that my daughter has never tasted a honeysuckle flower. As a child growing up in the South, I remember sucking the nectar from honeysuckle flowers as a common occurrence! It seems like honeysuckle should also grow proficiently in Oklahoma. I just haven’t had the opportunity to see it.
The conversation with my parents somehow led to other plants that they remember from childhood but seldom see now. One such plant is the Maypop – of which I am not familiar.
In my internet searches, I found another great resource in the Kerr Center. They have a guide “Native Plants for Native Pollinators in Oklahoma,” and right there on page 35 it lists the Maypop. Another quick search and I found a 1-quart plant available for purchase at Park Seed. I promptly placed it in my cart.
Maypop is a passionflower. It’s a hardy vine that offers foliage, blooms and edible fruit. It works in a container or directly in the ground. It typically reaches 8-to-12 feet long. It will die back completely to the ground in winter and not reappear until late spring. I am anxious to find the perfect place for this addition!
As January comes to a close, I hope my enthusiasm for spring is showing through my writing. I am excited about all of these plans! I thought about sharing some pictures of the areas where the flowers and plants will go, but I think I will save those for a before/after blog sometime in the months to come. For now, it’s on to February …