Garden Planning for Spring 2015: Index Your Plant Choices

Reader Contribution by Karin Eller
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It’s early winter, 15 degrees outside with two inches of snow on the ground. I bundle up and walk to the mailbox, lamenting my gardens. I grab the mail, and suddenly I realize that I have the promise of Spring in my hands — the first seed catalogue for 2015 has arrived!

As I turn the pages, excited at all the new varieties, I realize that it’s time to plan for spring.

An uncomplicated way of collecting and organizing your information during those long winter days is to get some index cards, scissors and tape. Cut out the plant varieties from catalogues that you find interesting, with the pertinent information such as soil recommendations, zone, height and light requirements. Tape this information to the index card. Then in the spring, take this information when you go to your local greenhouse or nursery in search of your plants. It’s difficult talking about a plant when you say “It’s about this tall and has little white flowers”. That leaves quite an array of plants and confusion. These index cards can be invaluable to you and your garden. You will have all your information and can write down observations about your plants over time.

When you get to your gardening destination find your plant. Read the plant tags. Tags can be useful as plant markers in your garden but very limited on information. They are great reminders in the following year of what you planted. An excellent plant example of utilizing tags is the Balloon Flower. This plant is very slow to make its appearance in the spring. All your other plants will be growing nicely. Without a tag you might be inclined to believe it did not survive the winter. A tag is a simple reminder to be patient and give the plant a chance before digging it up and replanting it.

If you have any problems locating your plant, approach your nursery person and show them your index card. They might not have your plant but will be able to assist you in your search. Talk to them; do not be afraid to ask questions when purchasing your plants. Knowledgeable nursery persons appreciate talking about plants and will gladly give you even more information about your plants. Nursery persons want you to have a successful garden and a favorable experience at their nursery. They want you to come back to their establishment. The more you know about your plants the better your garden will thrive.

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