I get really excited about the beginning of a new year. I enjoy the process of ringing in the new year with family, choosing a fresh new calendar, refining my diet and exercise habits (again), and setting the intention for my garden for the upcoming year. Whether you are in the midst of a frigid winter like me (temps were 12 degrees F last night) or joyously growing in a warmer climate, January is still the perfect time to think about the purpose of your garden. To get your gardening juices flowing, think of one word that encapsulates one thing you want give your energy to this year? Your options are endless. So, what will be your 2018 garden word of the year?
This year my garden has taken on new life. On a whim, I planted an entire 4×8 raised bed with nothing but flowers. I wanted to add more beauty to my garden and create a zen space where I could enjoy my morning coffee. I believed that adding flowers would be the change I needed.
I searched online for the best flowers to attract pollinators. But in addition to being pollinator-friendly, I also wanted to plant long-blooming flowers that:
1) grow well in my zone
2) are annuals (so I could plant something else in the bed next year)
3) produce colorful blooms
4) yield lovely cut flowers for my kitchen counter arrangements.
So based on my wish list, I bought zinnias, butterfly weeds, butterfly flowers, and poppies. I prepared my raised bed by adding bags of organic garden soil and a couple of buckets of compost from my tumber-style bin. I tilled the soil well and hand spread the seeds. I lightly raked the dirt from one side of the raised bed to the other to cover the seeds with about 1-2 inches of soil. Then I watered the bed using the “shower” setting on the spray nozzle. I wanted to dampen the soil without disturbing the delicate seeds underneath. I watered regularly in the mornings and waited for the seeds to sprout.
I’m amazed at the beautiful butterflies and bees that visit my garden now. I can’t resist taking photos of the different butterflies as they dance from bloom to bloom feeding and pollinating plants along the way. I have to be very quiet in their presence, or else they fly away.
Enjoying the beauty of the butterflies and capturing their visit with my camera is a calming and rewarding moment in an otherwise hectic day. Here’s an additional resource to check out if you’re you’re eager to bring more pollinators to your garden.