Planningthe perfect garden

Published on Thu, Mar 18, 2004 by . Durbin Wean

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Planning the perfect garden

By B. Durbin Wean

It’s almost spring and that means it’s time to garden! Do you know where to begin?

Do one of these scenarios fit you?
You are a new homeowner relocating to Whatcom County and don’t have a clue what plants do well in this area.

You finally have the new home you promised yourself, but you are now overwhelmed and wondering where to start, as you look out at a barren yard raw from construction.

Maybe you just want a fresh look for your established garden, or want to create a garden room of your own to relax in when you leave your high stress job in the evening. You don’t know how to begin and just thinking about it just makes you feel more stressed.

The dog is a one-year-old monster and will dig up anything you plant and the kids need a place to play. Can you still have garden space?
You live in a condominium and you love homegrown lettuce and veggies. Can you still grow them?

Do you want to create this garden by yourself or do you need a designer or landscaper to help with ideas to get you going?

Do you have to see a finished garden as soon as possible or are you willing to let your garden develop over time?

Don’t panic. Grab a pencil with an eraser, a notebook, sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and think.

How do I want to use this garden space? Look at your garden as another room or rooms in the house. Do I want a place outside to entertain family and friends? Do I need special areas for children and pets? Do I want an easy care garden that I only have to water if there is a heat wave? Or maybe you think, I relax by doing garden chores, so bring it on? Do I want a special place to grow fresh vegetables and herbs? Do I want privacy because I live close to a road or a nosy neighbor? Or mercy, the neighbor’s 17-year-old son is becoming a car collector, old cars that don’t run. We will consider how to deal with unsightly scenes that are right in front of us.

As we go through the planning and planting process together in the next few weeks we will be considering ideas of scale, form, color, movement, sound, touch and smell. I will talk about hardscape and what on earth that means. I will talk about waterwise gardening and using native plants to help insure success. I’ll present the possibility of adding water features and how to accomplish creating such a feature.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to remember this garden is for you, and it need please no one but you and your family. So for heavens sake don’t worry what the neighbors think about a zucchini plant in the front flowerbed. After they have some of your homemade zucchini bread they will want one in theirs too, and you may start a trend.

In the next few articles, I will also be bringing you information, resources, ideas, tips and advice to help you create the garden of your dreams. Your assignment in the meantime is to decide what you want your garden to be and there is no time like the present, so get started. I’ll see you here again next week.