Garden Planning is Key

AlmanacPlanning a garden is a laudable endeavor, but a daunting one to me. Perhaps if I ever take a landscaping course I will not feel as intimidated by the process. I have to be honest and share that laying things out on paper makes me feel not as free to create as I imagine.

If this resonates with you — take heart. Our Herbal Treasures of Hickory Hollow Garden was officially established in 1998, and I still haven’t graphed everything out section-by-section.

Except for designing the ‘bones’ of the basic garden because we were preparing the site from scratch, I could never bring myself to draw in and identify each nook and cranny of the space. Perhaps this is the very reason you will likely never see a neatly clipped and meticulously-trimmed hedge row in our Herbal Treasures’ garden. This may seem an astonishing admission from a Visual-type person, but it is true.

That said, ‘planning’ your garden does not have to involve drawing yours out to scale, with plant graphics plotted strategically on your careful sketch. For a successful garden another type of planning will help to ensure a garden hopefully more closely matching the one you imagine:

1) Determine location: amount of sun and or shade, space available, type of soil and lay out; accessibility to water source.

2) Plant selection is key: read about plants you are interested in and determine if they are possible for you to grow in your Hardiness Zone. This can be heartbreaking, but it won’t break the bank quite as easily, for your investment!

3) Consider use of the garden: 

Cutting flowers?

Growing vegetables?

For entertaining?

Do you have pets and/or children?   


The fun part is in finding the plants you would like to add to your garden. A great variety of them are now available at garden centers everywhere, and there are specialty catalogs and websites that offer more exotic, unusual or often more difficult to find plants to fill that niche.

Another reason I have not sketched out our garden is that it is a work in progress. It has changed radically in at least 3 different phases throughout it’s existence. I think if I were to draw it out, I would feel like “that was it,” and we are not there, yet.


Enjoy the process — happy ‘planning’ — most of all, happy planting!


Veggie and Herbs Seeds Sales are G-R-O-W-I-N-G

HT Kit With the not-so-lovely economy, many folks are turning to growing their own   vegetables and herbs. It is a cost-cutting measure, but it also provides many other benefits as well.

* Because the transport from your garden to your table is a much shorter distance and time span from harvest to serving time, the nutrient value is much higher.

* Working in the garden brings us closer to the earth, and is a great therapy. This sets our focus upon other things, if even for just a while.

* Gardening is an activity that offers great satisfaction personally, for the family or other participants.

* In gardening, we are reminded that we cannot control all things, but we can strive to maintain a productive garden.

SO many lessons learned in the garden!

Getting Ready for Spring…

Seed Packets

During my recent visit, I was amazed at the selection of seeds at the nearby garden center!

Here are seeds to add to our Herbal Treasures Garden in the 2009 growing season:
Celosia, Red Velvet

Centaurea, Imperial Bouquet Mix

Cornflower, Tall Mixed Flowers

Cosmos, Summer Dreams & Summer Sunshine Mix

Marigold, Calendula Apricot Daisy, Citrus Mix & Cottage Red

Moonflower, Giant White

Nasturtium, Empress of India, Jewel Mix, Lipstick & Papaya Cream

Passion Flower, Blue (Heirloom!)

Zinnia, Candy Cane Red on White & Envy (Heirloom!)

Veggies go great with herbs and fresh-cut flowers from the garden, so I also chose:

Mesclun, Salad Mix, Spicy Mix &  Sweet Salad Mix

Tomato, Yellow Pear

Now, a sage word of advice to all those other rampant-to-get-started gardeners out there, also bitten by the ‘spring bug’:

  • When purchasing your seed packets, be sure to read the information about the plant on the back of the package. Find out when you need to start the seeds.
  • For some, you may need to begin them indoors, several weeks in advance.  Be sure to not begin immediately planting them outdoors, unless you live in a climate that is already in the growing season.
  • Avoid the great temptation to begin your garden ‘early,’ under the often false impression that spring has come early, only to lose the fruits of your labor, with the frost nipping them all in the bud.

Next: I will share with you a lucious-sounding collection of bulbs that we are eagerly anticipating their appearance this spring!

What are your garden plans for the 2009 growing season?

Please leave a comment and share a bit of your garden and your plans with us here…

Herbal Treasures Garden Grow e-course

HT GarNew Year’s resolutions often pinpoint areas we want to “work” on, but in order to be successful we have to lay out an action plan to accomplish at least a portion of the desired goal. Sometimes we have to spend a little time preparing ourselves, by learning more, or reviewing information to get clear on what lies ahead.

What are your gardening resolutions or plans for the upcoming growing season?

Are you planning to grow the Garden of Your Dreams in 2008?

Fine-tuning an existing garden or designing a new plot?

Want some sage advice to inspire and get you growing?

You are herbacordially invited to join us for our Herbal Treasures Garden Grow e-course!

You may be wondering what Herbal Treasures Garden Grow e-course is all about… 

It is a 7-day program that is offered on a complimentary basis, to anyone at any gardening experience level who signs up.

What are your New Year gardening plans? Please do leave a comment and fill me in…

Hope you’ll come “Dig the Dirt” with me, as we prepare to get growing in 2008!

Herbal Treasures Featured WordPress Blog

Gar Path  We received a cool surprise in our email today! 

Herbal Treasures’ blog was featured by WordPress — check it out

Gardener’s Glossary

Book Stack Gardener’s Glossary – Hardy:

Able to withstand year-round climatic conditions, including cold, without protection.

Source: The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Gardening, DK Publishing, New York, New York, 1993.

NOTE: We discussed the importance of this in this post

Fall Fun – Corn Mazes offer Great Adventure

Corn Maze  We love corn mazes! A visit to one in your area is sure to offer family fun, adventure and amply provide some wonder-full family memories!

Read about our a-maizing adventures and more about corn mazes

Gardener’s Glossary

Book Stack  Gardener’s Glossary – Layering:

A method of propagation, by which a shoot is induced to root while still attached to the parent plant. The basic form is self-layering, which occurs naturally in some plants.

Note: Plants that may be successfully propagated in this way include (but not limited to): lavender, rosemary, and sage.

Source: The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Gardening, DK Publishing, New York, New York, 1993.

Drought-proof Your Garden by Design

Garden guy Drought-proofing your garden before the imposed need arises is a long-term step in sustainability that protects your investment of time and money in its design and establishment.

We experienced a major drought in our area this season! During our 14 years of living here, we have had droughts, but the southeast was hit so hard this year, the effect was further intensified. For the first time, watering restrictions were mandated in our area.

Fortunately, along with a major garden redesign early in the season, the majority of the plants added to our gardens this year were hardy perennials carefully selected to handle the heat and less watering-intensive.  We didn’t know there would be a drought, but planned a sustainable garden design. 

This is an important factor to keep in mind when designing or establishing a garden.

Also — remember that watering continues through the fall, as well.

Here are a series of articles on how to adapt your garden over the longterm to the normal, recurrent fluctuations in moisture through rain or snow, from Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Fall Color in the Garden and Plant Sales are Good Things

Sedum Great sources for quality, reasonably priced plants, include special plant sales held by area public gardens and societies, most often in the spring and fall. Your purchase is truly a gift that keeps on giving, as proceeds are often a benefit for a local public garden, campaign or plant society.

One fall, I was fortunate to attend a special gardener’s day at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, co-sponsored by Carolina Gardener magazine – it was wonderful! It was there I met Holly Shimizu, Executive Director of the U.S. Botanic Garden. During the summer, I had strolled “The Herb Study Garden,” which was redesigned by Holly and Osaum Shimizu, and Stephen Wells (Nashville), in 2001, at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens.

Holly gave a tremendous program on fall color in the garden, sharing tidbits with us about various plants she particularly favored. There are lots to choose from!

I was pleased to get a couple of her suggestions, to add to our gardens: Helianthus angustifolius PERENNIAL SUNFLOWER; and a lovely white stonecrop, Sedum alboroseum ‘Frosty Morn’ VARIEGATED STONECROP, which contrasts our billowing Sedum ‘Herbstfreude’ AUTUMN JOY SEDUM pale purplish pink tints. Of course, I found a few other great additions, as well!

Fall color and interest abounds at DSBG, hope this inspires you…

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