The perfect time to plan a garden (Part 1)

January is in full swing and February will be here before you know it. More snow has hit Metro Detroit this week and I’m already dreaming of spring. These cloudy, gray days will take their toll on me and I will be craving sun, blue skies, and a yard full of flowers. The middle of winter is the perfect time to find inspiration for your spring and summer gardens.

There are quite a few things to tackle on this topic, so I’ll break it up into smaller parts over a series of blog posts. The first step should be to figure out your gardening goal(s).

It could be simply: “I just want prettier things in my yard.” or “I want to grow my own fruits and vegetables.” Both answers [and more] are perfectly acceptable to me.

In previous years, my focus has been on trying to create a landscape that has multi-seasonal interest, where perennials are planted so that there is succession in the garden, instead of everything blooming at one time. This purpose would drive the decisions I make when choosing what items I’ll need to plant. For example, I would have to pay more careful attention to height, required sun, and bloom time to make sure I don’t purchase things that bloom all at the same time, in the same place, on top of each other.

With my new focus of arrangement and bouquet making, I’m going to be more interested in flowers and foliage that can be used throughout the spring and summer. I want items that will bloom for extended periods of time and plants that can be cut but will to continue to re-bloom during the growing season. I’m going to be less focused on landscape plantings and more focused on planting rows and rows of seeds so that I have a large inventory to choose from. For these reasons, I’m going to focus on growing annual flowers.

It’s helpful to know WHY you want to do something, as it will help carve out the path, next steps, and overall plan.

Once you know your focus for gardening this year, you can get going on the next step, choosing the flowers and plants that interest you. This is my FAVORITE, it’s where the party’s at. We’ll cover it in the next post along with a few ideas to help you get started.

Photo Credit: unknown


  1. Stevie said:

    Great suggestions to get my mind churning! One of challenges I feel I have right now is finding more room to plant, and finding areas where I can really plant what I want (i.e. hydrangeas). My gardening fiend friend would tell me to replace my entire front yard with flowers. I’m not there (yet) but I would love is to have someone that knows a little more about these things evaluate my yard or something. Where can I find such a passionate person?

    January 16, 2016
    • thistleandvine said:

      Thanks for reaching out, Stevie! Your gardening fiend friend sounds like one smart cookie. I would consider extending the current garden beds you have slightly to make room for other things you love like hydrangeas. Although replacing your entire yard with flowers would be a very bold move if you are trying to make a statement. Maybe we should connect in the spring and I can evaluate your options in person?


      January 17, 2016

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