With every new year comes a sense of renewal, introspection, and opportunity to make the coming year better than the last. With the ground frozen and the air frosty, winter is the best planning season for Denver gardeners. Take advantage of the off-season and make some gardening resolutions that you can either implement now or slowly prepare for as we push toward spring.
To give you some ideas, here are our Top 8 New Year’s Gardening Resolutions for 2015:
1. Use Winter to Make a Flourishing Spring Garden
Even though some of us haven’t created a winter garden, it doesn’t mean we have to stay dormant for the rest of the season! Even if it’s too cold to venture outside, there is plenty to do inside — from germinating seeds to mapping out rotations to sitting by the fire and flipping through gardening magazines for ideas. It all starts with planning, and there’s no better time to start the process than now.
2. Save the Bees
No one knows better than gardeners how vital pollinators are to the preservation of not just our gardens, but of the world. Luckily, gardeners are in a terrific position to help save our bees, which have recently become threatened with extinction. Bees visit gardens looking for nectar and pollen. Easily provide both by building a habitat of colorful garden plants, especially heirloom perennials and herbs, as well as native plants. Also keep in mind that by using pesticides, you could be poisoning your garden’s guests! Opt for non-toxic products, whenever possible. The pay-off in healthy and blooming plants will be more than worth the effort.
3. Anticipate Colorado’s Climate
There’s nothing so frustrating as spending countless hours cultivating your perfect garden just to have an unexpected storm or some high winds decimate it. Mother Nature can be fickle, so it’s wise to prepare for the worst weather conditions. You might consider investing in raised beds, planting late-bloomers, using moisture-retaining compost and mulch, or researching and implementing any of a number of weatherproofing strategies. It’s a running joke in Colorado that if you don’t like the weather, just wait an hour.
4. Conserve Water
In Colorado, water is often in short supply, and maintaining a garden can end up costing a pretty penny. With some planning and creativity, though, your garden will thrive on less water. Planting species that require less moisture, or planting in shaded areas for higher moisture retention, can make a big difference, as well as applying tactics like using mulch or pointing downspouts and gutters toward shrubs and trees.
5. Start Composting
While many parts of Denver currently participate in a city compost-collection program, it’s worthwhile to consider starting your own backyard compost. The humus eventually created from the decomposition of organic materials can be added to your garden soil. The resulting concoction will provide unparalleled, nutrient-dense nourishment for your garden that will ward off plant diseases, lock in moisture, add more nutrients to your vegetables, and improve soil structure.
6. Invest in High-Quality Tools and Care For Them Properly
If you’re an avid gardener, you know that when it comes to tools, you get what you pay for. High-quality tools may cost more, but they’ll save you money in the long run, lasting longer and performing better than their less-expensive counterparts. That is, if you properly care for them. It may seem like a pain to spend time cleaning and oiling your tools after a long day of gardening, or sharpening them when you’re eager to get to work, but making a ritual out of oiling wooden handles, brushing off digging tools, and hanging everything up at the end of the day will make all the hours you spend in your garden more enjoyable — cleaner, sharper, and rust-free tools work more efficiently and are far more pleasant to use.
7. Learn to Be a Better Gardener
As with any art form, to become a better gardener, it’s necessary to have pride in your work and expose yourself to new ideas. If you haven’t done so in the past, consider checking out some of Denver’s many gardening education events (including City Floral’s classes) and/or joining a local gardening group, where you can exchange tricks or find solutions for some of your most nagging problems.
8. Spend More Time Appreciating Your Garden
There are so many reasons to garden — gardening is an escape, an outlet for stress, a way to provide food, a contribution to the environment, and much more. Sometimes, though, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to make your garden perfect. But that’s the thing about gardening: No garden will ever be perfect — it’s not meant to be. So this year, resolve to appreciate your garden for what it is, instead of what it’s not. Spend some time just sitting in it, whether on a bench, a chair, or even just on the ground. Take in all the amazing colors, the buzzing of the bees and chirping of the birds, the scents of the earth and blooming flowers, and the majesty of the ecosystem — no matter how big or small — you’ve worked so hard to create.
If you’re looking for more ideas on how to make 2015 an amazing year for you and your garden, or if you have ideas and need some advice to implement them, come into City Floral Garden Center in Denver for the right advice. We have useful suggestions to help you get the year started off on the right foot!