2020 was a great year in the garden for me. It’s the first time I remember never going to the garden center to buy plants. Everything I planted was grown from seed or already existed in the garden. I took the opportunity presented by the COVID lockdown to reinvented how I gardened. This year I learned the power of imagination.
At the beginning of the season, when no one knew what COVID had planned, I made my 2020 Garden Resolutions. You can read about them here. Despite never leaving the house to shop for plants, I completed almost every project on my list including:
- Installed two garden paths
- Built 2 of 3 garden gates
- Expanded the boundaries of the Mary garden
- Built a new vertical garden
- Figured out how to use my camera as a garden journal
The Best Thing I Started in 2020
By far the best “new” thing I started this season was the practice of taking photographs of the garden from the same location throughout the growing season. I missed a couple of weeks here and there but managed to get photos that show the garden through the entire growing season.
The photos are helpful. I’m can look back through the season and see what worked and what didn’t. Where plants are missing and where plants are a tangled mess?
This, by far, was my best lesson of 2020. Let’s take a look at the Mary Garden through the entire growing season to show how the photos work. Happy New Year!
In April, I widened the Mary garden and moved boxwood from my side garden into the border to add structure. The boxwood are a great addition to the border, and I think I may widen the border more this season.
When I look at the above view of the June border, I want to add more early-blooming plants. Especially white flowers. I also want to cover all the soil which means adding more ground covers and shorter plants along the edge of the lawn.
I was happy with the daisies in this border. I took a couple existing clumps and divided them. I placed them along both sides of the border. They bloomed all season. I think I will benefit from adding additional clumps of dailies and more white blooming flowers. Especially on the right side of the garden.
The biggest surprise this season was how tall the white butterfly bush grew (left side above). I was concerned it wouldn’t get enough light to bloom. It bloomed without issue. Light doesn’t appear to be an issue.
I struggled with a destructive groundhog all season. It ate all of the cosmos I planted and a bunch of other plants intended for the left side of the border. The photo above shows me exactly where I need more plants.
I’ll probably move the pink Japanese anemones on the right side of the border and replace them with white anemones. A little garden serendipity inspired me to add chartreuse foliage along both sides of the border next season and some light lemon yellow snapdragons. The color scheme will become white, gray, and chartreuse.
When I look at the October border, my favorite two things are the Sweet Autumn clematis covered in white flowers and the white Japanese anemone ‘Honorine Jorbet’. I think the October border will benefit from adding more of both.
I’m amazed at how many blooms I still see at the end of October. I think white variegated hosta and Lamium ‘White Nancy’ will make this border light up at the end of the season.
The November view of the border has me thinking about autumn color. I want to find a few yellow-leaved shrubs to strategically place into this space. If I do that well, I may have a border that continues to look good into November.
The December border brings us full circle. You can see why boxwood is such a great addition to the flower border. Now that the flowers have died back, those boxwood are drawing my eye down the border and bring a sense of rhythm. At this point, the garden season is over, but I can still walk around and feel like I’m in a garden. And that my friends, is the best feeling in the world!
What were your big lessons learned during the 2020 garden season? Leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear what worked and what didn’t for you and what you’re planning for this season. Happy gardening!