Q: What should I be doing in the garden now?

A: Happy New Year! These mild days can tempt us to get outdoors and begin spring gardening chores, but don’t get carried away yet! Instead, now is a great time to review your garden and begin planning for the spring.

Consider the overall design and look at the following elements to make the most of your spring gardening plans.

• What style is your garden? Do you like it formal or informal?

• Do you have a theme: Texas Wildscape garden, English cottage garden, love succulents and cactus, or yearn for a serene Japanese style?

• What about an area for your kids or pets to play?

• Can you frame a nice view or screen an ugly spot? Create privacy around your patio?

• Look at the garden size and overall scale and structure of your plants.

• Do you need to add shade or open up the canopy for more light?

• Should you move or add specimen plants?

• Will the garden look bare when leaves fall?

• Do you have evergreens and deciduous plants to pull your eye around the landscape?

Planning can sometimes be a challenge and seem like an overwhelming task, but the payoff will be great when it comes time to make changes to your garden this spring. If you view your outdoor space as a collection of rooms, it is much easier to work on one room at a time as you tackle spring cleaning in the garden. Happy planning!

Suzzanne Chapman
Author: Suzzanne ChapmanEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Suzzanne Chapman is the botanical collections curator at Mercer Botanic Gardens and promotes organic gardening, growing native plants, and protecting the environment. Send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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