First, I’m taking pictures of every garden. I already have garden maps, laid out on grid paper (which are particularly handy when I need to remember where I put dormant bulbs!), which will help me as I plan, but if you do not, now’s the time, before the plants disappear. I am also looking at gardens as I drive around. What looks good? What doesn’t? Not surprisingly, few people have particularly nice gardens. Most people just stuff some newly-purchased mums in a row like soldiers, and think that looks nice. Well, better than weeds, but I prefer a more natural look. Some people have nice BIG mums, which grew throughout the summer and are cascading onto the lawn and walk. Now THAT looks cool! (Nonetheless, mums should be cut back in the summer to control their growth and delay blooming until fall.) Some annuals still look nice, as well – impatiens, marigolds, alyssum… but few people have taken the time to really design beautiful autumn gardens. That’s what I hope to create.
So, now I am beginning the research, which will continue into the winter. Some bushes I intend to remove this fall, and some I decided on over the summer will be put in. I WILL make the front of the house look nice this fall! But most of my new garden decisions will take place over the gray winter months, bringing color into my heart during a generally drab season.