Winter Is Best Time To Prepare Your Spring Garden Design

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By Lawrence Leaf
Winter seems to last forever when it is actually the best time to plan every element of your spring-planted garden design. People tend to make all their decisions in the spring missing many opportunities for a well-planned garden using all the fundamentals.
As a gardening expert for over 30 years, here are my 5 tips to get a head start on creating your dream garden.
Check all sun exposures such as South, North, East, and West to determine how much sun or shade each plant will receive. Also consider the prevailing wind they may make a certain area drier than other areas of your garden. Plus,  you don’t want to put a plant that gets harmed by the wind in an area that gets prevailing wind.
The next consideration needs to be what is the mature growth and spacing of all plants. Very important to measure all window heights, walkways from the purposed garden, driveways from the purposed garden, etc. To avoid planting mistakes that cause too much pruning that may imbalance a plant or in the worst case mutilate a plant. Sun exposure and proper spacing are where most people make their biggest mistakes and argue with Mother Nature.  I have argued many times with the Queen Of Horticulture and not yet have I won that argument.  On that note,  a happy garden is a garden where every plant has its area of purpose without a preferred ignorance of a plant’s growth needs due to your favoritism of such a plant.
With all this now taken into consideration, having some understanding of the nursery industry is needed to go forth and order, especially if you want specialty plants. Digging for the best health of the plant is done in the dormant season or February, March and a little in April. If you want specialty annual or perennial flowers the growers tend to order seeds or plugs as early as November to start growing in winter months so they are marketable in the spring. If you miss some opportunities, you can always leave a space for them at a later date when you order correctly. Moreover, always be prepared to make substitutes as needed. There are thousands of plants out there to choose from and the more research the better prepared you and your garden will be.
 Before you complete your order, consider each plant’s pH or soil requirements. A soil test is recommended and much more reasonable than buying bags and bags of fertilizer.  Best to plant compatible plants with each other.
 Best to know what pest may attack your plants. Perhaps even drive around the neighborhood and see if any pests are a problem somewhere else before they visit your garden for a gourmet meal. For almost all plant-eating bugs, there is a meat-eating bug and Amazon is a great source for purchasing such great insects. And this helps the ecosystem. Another thing to consider is, “Do you need to be concerned about salt tolerance, deer resistance, air pollution,  etc.”  Be realistic. Speak to the nursery for what problems face your area and get educated. It will save you many problems in the future – as well as wasted funds on spending on plants and flowers that get munched on and ruined.
 One last thing to think about before buying plants is to consider the plants you have had luck with and the plants you have not. Now after all this time taken to contemplate and correct over winter, you should be ready to plant your spring garden design and as always, PLANT TODAY FOR A BETTER TOMORROW.