As I peer out my office window, begging the remaining piles of snow to melt I often find comfort in my dreaming and scheming time. In other words, spending time with the resources that will inspire me for the coming season. And 2014 just can’t come soon enough for me!
As with most avid gardeners, my mailbox of late is filled with the latest and greatest of plants and ideas for the coming season in the form of the familiar mail order nursery catalogs. I admit I spend hours pouring over these. I eagerly flip the pages to discover new varieties of some of my garden favorites. I am especially fond of the new pictures of the miniature oakleaf hydrangea varieties this year. I love all hydrangeas and think our region is a perfect match for these plants Need to try these miniature varieties out this year in tight spaces and patio plantings….see how they perform.
And of course every year I am amazed at the new color varieties that are available in many anchor plants in the garden. A terrific example is that of the common coneflower or echinacea. Originally a purple standard in the garden, it now boasts colors of the rainbow. Whether your color palate is cool or hot shades, there is a coneflower color for your tastes. And with the added bonus that butterflies love their nectar and birds their seeds…it’s a winning selection for your garden ecosystem.
But don’t limit yourself to the obvious for garden inspiration. One of my most unique garden endeavors came from the inspiring piece of artwork brought home by my sister after a trip to Uruguay a few years back. It was a beautiful oil painting of a garden top roof in a historical village outside Montevideo. This artwork inspired me to research and design my very own rooftop garden for our garden shed. We ran with the original inspiration and transformed the design into a sustainable “North Country Friendly” garden top roof. Our garden boasts a collection of native and what I fondly refer to as “nativore” plantings. This unique garden gives us a full season show of blooms, colors and interest sitting on our outdoor deck. Our design has sustained over the past 4 winters with great return.
So as we come closer to the planting season think outside the box. Explore and embrace new challenges with unique forms of inspiration. Don’t just rely on those catalogs in the mailbox! You may surprise yourself with something that becomes uniquely yours.