Overburdened mailman


This is the time of year to which all garden junkies and plantaholics look forward. The mailman’s back may be broken but our mailboxes are stuffed with plant catalogs and we gardeners are dreaming of plant heaven where the garden is already green.

Spring 2013 Plant Delights cover


The biggest problem, of course, is curbing our desire to have everything. Some of you may have unlimited space but I suspect that most, like me, have relatively small spaces. My gardens are so crowded that if I order something new, I have to take out something old.

Legal Pad

The next problem is finding a way to organize our dreams. My solution is a legal pad. I write the name of each catalog at the top of a page; under it, I list every plant that sounds wonderful along with the pertinent information needed to find a home for it: height, time and color of bloom, type of foliage, cultural requirements, etc.


Then I look at my garden diagrams, outdated though they are. These diagrams are on tracing paper. To paraphrase the Big Bad Wolf, “The better to erase you, my dear.” I also check my garden journal of the previous year for notes that I have made as well as the computer list of plants I have encountered in my travels and for which I lust.

Then I’m back to my legal pad lists and I begin the thought process. If I order this one, where will it go? What will it replace? How will it work with its neighbors? Is the foliage too similar or will it provide contrast? Are the height and color and bloom time compatible? This process includes my extensive knowledge of plants, incorporates particular needs of the garden that year, and continually readjusts my vision of my landscape.





Every gardener does it differently but I hope this process will help some of my fellow plantaholics.