Monday, March 1, 2010

The Waste Land

I can see grass again in my yard. 

I had almost forgotten what it looks like, and was planning on purchasing mukluks and wearing them 24/7 with my grandmother's fur coat. But God in His infinite wisdom melted the snow so that I would not have to commit that fashion sin.

I don't care much for T.S. Eliot, but my yard does currently resemble a barren, desolate, empty land. Unless you count the snowman yard stake hiding in the flower bed behind the azaleas.

My other problem? 
Although it would indeed appear that I have a green thumb, I do not. This was simply a marker accident in preparation for today's post.

My thumb has not been helpful at all in my gardening efforts. In fact, none of my fingers have been helpful. 

All of the fun new projects popping up around Blogland have me dreaming about Spring, flowers, and outdoor entertaining. I have visions of hydrangeas, peonies, roses, and marigolds. 

So that my future guests don't have to stare at a jungle of weeds, I thought it would be wise to plan ahead and start thinking about what types of plants I'd like to have this year, finances permitting.

Last year, I took a couple of days to chart the sunny/shady areas in the backyard. It was really helpful when choosing a plant to know which areas of my yard were full sun vs. partial shade, etc. I lost that chart, so here is a new version, which I'll be working on this week. I keep it on the counter next to the kitchen sink. It overlooks the back yard, making it easy for me to remember to fill it in.

I made a very rough sketch of the back of my house and the back yard. 

Clearly, it's not to scale. The scribbles that look like clouds are large bushes. I know you're shocked I don't have an art degree.

I assigned different letters/colors to certain areas of the yard and then wrote down what kind of sunlight each area had at different points in the day. 
For example, section D (blue) is full sun most of the day, and was the perfect spot to grow tomatoes. I only had three plants last year, but they more than quadrupled in size. Section E (red) is mostly shade, and was a terrific spot for my hydrangea bush that T accidentally fried with too much fertilizer.

This might seem really boring, and it totally is. 

But I am learning that planning is essential to gardening. I wish I'd known that when I planted my daffodil bulbs a few years ago. It looks like someone just came and threw fistfuls of daffodils in my front flower beds. I may not have the resources to grow my dream garden this year, but I can take steps in the right direction.

...Beginning with finding something to get the green marker off my thumb.

{What's your favorite thing to plant, come Spring?}

Linking to Kimba's DIY Day party over at A Soft Place to Land
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  1. I envy your planting organization.
    I need to plan out my catastrophe of a yard, but it's so discouraging since I too don't have a green thumb.

    I kind of just suck at plants.

  2. Amanda, this is so smart! I've never thought of doing something like this, but it makes so much sense. So much better to know BEFORE you purchase expensive plants exactly where they might grow. My method has always been more of the oh-that's-pretty-I-wonder-if-it-would-grow-there. Not exactly economical. And in this economy, that approach is not going to cut it! Thanks for a very good idea.

  3. Can you come plan my flowers for me? Thanks. :)

  4. I would love to grow anything but all I get is weeds!! Between the bunny's and the gophers!! Ack!! They eat everything I plant. So this year I have some plans on how to deal with them. I hope my idea works out!

  5. Wow, Amanda! you are so organized! I don't have to chart mine...sunny, sunny, subdivision, no big trees. :-( I love to plant my begonias!! But I always wait until Mothers Day because we always have one more freeze! Happy week!...Debbie

  6. Haha, you and my husband! He did a plot of the sun like that in our yard too. I teased him, but your's is much prettier!

  7. WOW! Aren't you smart and organized? I just pick out a few things and hope for the best. I guess that's why right now I have a bed of weeds. I have a black thumb. I kill everything I plant.

  8. That is awesome! How big is your backyard? I know your drawing isn't to scale, but you have a lot of stuff back there. I want to see before and after photos!
    I have a very green thumb, unfortunately, I am allergic to pretty much everything that grows, moves or produces something. I garden at my own peril. I have to drug myself up really well before hand, shower every possible speck of contaminate off of me afterward, take more drugs and spend the next day and a half completely miserable, stuffed up and puffy faced all because I want to make the world a prettier place. Mr. HH who is not allergic to anything (lucky man) has the blackest thumb you've ever seen. All he has to do is LOOK at a plant and it withers and dies. Oh the injustice of it all. And I have the CUTEST wellies to wear while I garden too.

  9. Wow, you are on top of things! I'm sure that will be really helpful.
    I just can't get into gardening, though I'd love to have a beautiful garden. Guess I'll have to wait until I can afford to hire a professional!

  10. Amanda, you don't need to apologize for your drawing skills. I am totally impressed with your organization. That chart is simple and concise and what a great tool to take to the nursery to show the worker there and they can help you figure out what type of plant will work, Great idea!!! Good for you to be thinking ahead, it will be here before you know it.I am in Calif so we can already plant if we want too. I love to plant tulips even though they are shortlived, but they just make me happy. Next will be impatiens, they give such a wonderful show clear to November. Enjoy all your planning, Kathysue

  11. You are really organized. Your chart will certainly help you when it comes time to shop for plants.

    I am really looking forward to rebuilding our garden fence so that I can grow veggies to my hearts content w/o worrying about the deer tearing it down. I'm also looking forward to planting pots of annuals on my deck that add seasonal color.

  12. Totally inspired! Why haven't I thought of's genius! Thanks so much for posting - I am def going to do this for spring! =)

  13. It's been unusually cold in Florida and I hadn't given planting the first thought. The other day the temperature was somewhat normal, prompting me to check out the back yard. Lo and behold my spearmint and sage is starting to grow. Holy Moly was I surprised! I love your sun plotting idea. Definitely something I will be doing pronto!

  14. Delicate little seedlings with my kids, although they take the seeds and sprinkle them all over the yard, then I find tomato plants next to my delphinium and green bean sprouts next to my roses. Kids ! Oh well, at least they're watching the product of their mischevious ways grow. :-)

  15. i am thoroughly impressed, my friend! I always long for the lush look, but can never commit. Plus, I pretty much kill everythinmg in sight with my black thumbs. My mom, on the other hand, can bring plants back from the dead with one touch of her green one. So not fair.


  16. that's a great way to plan your landscaping! i'll have to copy you soon... this will be our first spring in our new home, so i'll be doing some serious plotting & planning & wishing & digging as soon as the ground is soft enough to move! i was trying to figure out how to plot the sun/shade- now i know!
    now if only my daughter planned to be an OB, too, i could afford some plants! she plans to be a fairy princess mermaid... maybe that will be helpful- you know, magic & all??
    happy tuesday!

  17. Ugh I wish I had the motivation to do that. Cause my thumb is only green sometimes and it is probably due to lack of organization and planning...

  18. This wasn't boring to me! We're building a garden from scratch and I could use all of the little tips I can get :).

  19. That's so genius! Why didn't I see this post before today? The sun is finally coming out now that it's March, and it's getting me ready for landscaping! :) Great post!



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