Looking Back on Last Year and Ahead to This Year

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Today we’re off to Washington State, where we’re visiting with Melissa Mantey and looking back on the year past in the garden.

I don’t know about you all, but after 2020 I am more grateful for my garden than ever before. Being able to follow the growing seasons and the garden chores that come with each new month kept time marching on last year and gave my brain a bit of a break from everything going on. I landscaped every square inch of my garden, even areas I promised my husband I would leave alone, because I wanted to add in even more color and experiment with new plants. I’ve been working on my garden in Zone 8a since 2013, but the biggest changes have happened in 2019 and 2020. As with many people, my garden serves as a self-prescribed medicine for my mental health. And during the most challenging of times is when my garden undergoes the biggest changes and gives way to the most beautiful and uplifting landscapes.

While it can be hard to feel grateful for times that can cause us so much pain, I look around my space and feel gratitude for what I’ve been able to achieve, especially in those moments. And even though some of us are just coming out of the rain, snow, and mud season, I’m continuing to rub my dirt-stained hands together in plant-crazed glee, looking forward to what this year’s garden will bring. Taking into consideration all of the seedlings I have growing in my greenhouse, there will be some beautiful things going on in my landscape (fingers crossed!). Until it warms up, though, let me just go through those seed magazines one more time …

Close-up of Honeywort Kiwi Blue‘Kiwi Blue’ honeywort(Cerinthe major ‘Kiwi Blue’, annual)

backyard garden bed full of flowersThis backyard landscape includes rudbeckia (Rudbeckia hirta, Zones 3–7), sedum (Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’, Zones 3–9), hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla, Zones 5–9), coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata, Zones 3–9), Verbena bonariensis (Zones 7–10 or as an annual), Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima, Zones 7–10), blue fescue grass (Festuca glauca, Zones 4–8).

Trailing nasturtiumTrailing nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus, annual) and bee

plants underneath a windowHellebore (Helleborus hybrid, Zones 4–9), bellflowers (Campanula sp.), Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas, Zones 7–10), pansies (Viola × wittrockiana, cool season annual), little heath pieris (Pieris japonica ‘Little Heath’, Zone 6–8).

Front window box with hostasFront window box with hostas (Zones 3–9), dusty miller (Jacobaea maritima, Zones 7–10 or as an annual), Alberta spruce (Picea glauca ‘Conica’, Zones 3–7), pansies, hellebores.

African daisiesAfrican daisies (Osteospermum, annual)

garden bed and pond in the shadeHydrangeas, hostas, hellebore, twilight nandina (Nandina domestica, Zones 6–9)

container planting on a fenceLobelia (Lobelia erinus, annual), nasturtiums, Martha Washington geranium (Pelargonium hybrid, annual), verbena (annual), ‘Mezoo Trailing Red’ Livingstone daisy (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis ‘Mezoo Trailing Red’, Zones 10–11 or as an annual).

purple and white phloxPhlox (Phlox paniculata, Zones 4–8)

garden bed in the shadeWendy’s Wish salvia (Salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’, Zones 9–10 or as an annual), hostas, hydrangeas, ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius, Zones 3–7), smokebush (Cotinus coggygria, Zones 4–8), euonymus (Euonymus japonicus, Zones 5–9), black mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nigrescens’, Zones 5–9), and sedum.

fall container plantingOrnamental cabbage with pansies, photographed in the fall

Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

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