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Garden Planning - Winter Activities - part 1

Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh

Now that the Holiday season has passed and we look to Spring, I begin garden planning.

This year we took down a large, but dying tree in the backyard exposing 75% of our yard to full sun which had been full to part shade previously. We also lost the path and my garden edging to the process of removing the tree.  Our raised beds, were used to start with when we installed them in 2015, have rotted at the edges.  After parts of the tree were dropped on the fragile edges(with our permission,) we will need to replace those as well.

I can now rework the raised beds, the side beds and an area I could only grow shade plants in to something entirely new.

Garden Planning Techniques

Start by a good look around --

Take photos, walk the area, look at the bones of your yard.  In winter the trees have no leaves, the flowers have died back and you can get a clear view of focal points and the positioning of anchor plants, like shrubs, trees, fencing.  There was snow on the ground when I took these, but another storm was expected so I thought better get them before there was more snow.

Here is the mound that is all that is left of the tree.

Backyard Patch Backyard

Here is what the tree looked like last spring.

backyard patch backyard

You can see how it shaded the entire center of the yard, and behind the tree toward the fence was a deeply shaded area where I could grow begonias and other shade plants only.

The raised beds closest to the tree lost the side you can see facing east (under the hanging basket) and the edge that runs perpendicular, but they were falling down already because the corners were no longer holding the boards.

In the top picture you can see we now have a focal corner you can see from everywhere in the garden, this will have to be developed. The fruit tree in the foreground of the top picture will also need to be removed.  It has died.

Here is what the side yard looked like last year:

side yard

Now it is a bit uprooted as they removed the pavers and edging to bring in equipment. I can take advantage of this to alter the shape of this side yard shade garden this year.

side yard winter

To get thinking about that to do in the garden for in a new year, I like to look at books.  The library will have many garden books and Proven Winners has a great Garden Idea Book that you can checkout.

Come back again for more thoughts on garden design for 2021.

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