“HOW On Earth” – Published in Pink Magazine – January 2011

Gardening Bucket List

“Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle.”

The New Year for me is a time of reflection and looking forward both at the same time. It is a process I really enjoy. I like to take credit for my accomplishments, accept my struggles, and create my next path. Gardening is both my profession and my passion. One of the things I love about plants is that one can spend a lifetime studying, observing, growing, and still there will be a vast amount to learn. The subject of plants is infinite and one I find fascinating.

This past year, as I reflect, I am grateful for all I have learned, seen and achieved. I was extremely honored to win first place in the window box competition at the Savannah Garden Exposition. I was thrilled with the creation of my website and new business cards, (thank you Troy and Jared). I truly was inspired when I attended the Children’s Garden Symposium in Los Angeles. I found a renewed love for my vegetable garden when I scaled back to a more manageable size plot. I am delighted that the Plantation Garden Club has invited me into their organization. I am forever thankful for the support and dedication of my staff.

The weather proved to be the most challenging aspect of this past year. The excessive heat and lack of rain brought many plants and gardens to their destruction. I was frustrated, saddened and disappointed with many of my creations. Any flower that bloomed last summer has my admiration. Ixora, Cestrum, and Salvia are all stellar heat performers. Pair them with Crotons and Acalpha and you have a winning combination.

Envisioning for the next year is now the fun part. My list begins with visiting three gardens that I have wanted to see for a long time. Topping my list is The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. I still find it hard to believe that I have yet to go see this spectacular garden estate. Middleton Place in Charleston is another old formal beauty that is on my list this year. The Atlanta Botanical Garden is one that I want to bring my kids. It looks absolutely incredible and I believe they too will enjoy.

I would like to add a compost bin to my vegetable garden this year. In the past I have had half hearted attempts at composting. I cringe each time I dispose of vegetable waste, egg shells, and coffee grounds in my plastic lined garbage can. At a recent trade show I was given a rather unique worm bin that I would love to give a try.

Adding some indoor plants to both my home and office and keeping them alive for more than a month is a goal of mine. My mother had probably over a hundred plants in our home some of which were alive longer than I was at the time. There were cuttings from family members and friends, plants attained on vacations, while some were dug up from the woods. All had a story, all were well taken care of, all survived. My mother was an accountant, her home was like a greenhouse. I am a landscape designer, the only living organism in my home is the mold in my bathroom.

I have always been drawn to wall fountains. I find them enchanting, mesmerizing, and soothing. I just hope my dog doesn’t think it’s a new kind of water dish.

I find citrus plants to be so pretty. They have the most delightful sweet fragrance while in bloom, wonderful foliage, and fruits that burst with flavor when just picked. I find them equally beautiful in containers as I do in the garden. I have a kumquat in my garden that supplies me with a gift each day I visit in December and January. I have visions of adding a lemon and a mandarin.

In addition to citrus plants there are more fruits that I would  like to grow. I recently received a catalog from a grower that lists well over a hundred varieties of fruit. Many of these plants I learned about in school as ornamentals not realizing that their fruits were edible.

Bulbs are a group of plants that aside from the annual plantings of tulips and daffodils I did in the north, and my holiday plantings of Amaryliss and paperwhites,  I am somewhat unfamiliar. I am looking forward to learning about and growing bulbs for Southern gardens.

Last but not least, one of my favorite activities is to visit the growers that I do business with to cultivate our relationship and see what is new for the season. This is where I come up with fresh color combinations and get the latest on growing tips.

I’m excited about this year trips, indoor plants, citrus and other fruits, composting, bulbs, and more. I am even more anxious to share with everyone my adventures and discoveries. Please join me this year and feel free to share your own gardening bucket list for the year to come.

Happy New Year!