January is one of the best times for thinking about the garden. While plants rest in dormancy under the frozen ground, my mind starts racing next spring’s garden. It’s particularly true this year. Last month, my wife and I bought a house in Arlington, Virginia. It’s an ugly 1951 rambler that needs quite a bit of work (the real estate ad said “ignored, not abused. As-is condition”). But it was a great deal, and has a nice-sized sunny yard that I can’t stop thinking about. I redesign it every other day. I keep moving around the different gardens I’d like to have in it.
My I-can’t-live-without list includes a potager (the French counterpart to the English kitchen garden), a cutting garden, a wild garden, an herbaceous border with a color theme (maybe oranges, saffrons, corals . . . I’m mad about orange this year), some boxwood or yews clipped into dreamy shapes, a potting shed . . . the list goes on and on. Of course, all this has to be done with almost no budget (the money evaporated with the down payment), so perhaps I’ll have to collect seeds from the wild. Or steal cuttings from the neighbors under the cover of darkness.
All of this dreamy delirium needs to be harnessed with some disciplined New Year’s resolutions. Here I’m proposing some of my garden resolutions for 2011. Perhaps some of them will inspire your garden resolutions.