With the new year upon us, I thought it would be interesting to hear what other gardeners are planning for 2019. I talked to a diverse assortment of gardeners in and around the metro area. These are not professional gardeners, but people who enjoy their garden and are always trying to make it better. There is, of course, the delight of buying new plants and especially a plant that is new to the garden.
In my own garden, I have been continually amazed at the mild weather we have had thus far — mid-January and no hard frost! I still have some fuchsias in bloom, and while they do not look like the robust plants they are in the summer, they are still flowering and attracting hummingbirds!
The sun and shade patterns in my garden have changed dramatically over the last few years. I have plants that were initially planted in the sun that are now partially shaded and vice versa. I will be relocating many of these plants in the next month. I have many pots in my garden and I am always on the lookout for new plants that will give me color for most of the summer.
Lately, the genus Salvia has been on my radar and I am always looking for new varieties and cultivars. Salvia ‘Saucy Red’ was an outstanding late summer and fall bloomer in my garden this year.
Here are some comments from six area gardeners in their own words:
Michael Bostwick, Milwaukie, Oregon
“My plan for my garden this year is to tear out my lawn in the parking strip and do a xeriscape garden with rockery. I plan on searching for drought-tolerant plants and incorporating ornamental grasses and native plants. Having diverse interest with foliage and color throughout the year will make it beautiful year-round.
“My garden did amazing last year, and I want to incorporate some drip irrigation into areas hit hard by heat stress. I will be on the lookout for new plants to incorporate into my garden including Trillium, Penstemon, Salvia, Eriogonum, and rare treasures from the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon (HPSO) Hortlandia sale.”
Dan Finn, Trout Lake, Washington
“I will be basically starting from scratch when it comes to gardening in 2019. Last year, I moved from Longview, Washington to Trout Lake, Washington, which is at the base of Mt. Adams in Klickitat County. The property we purchased is mostly lava rock. I am planning on installing raised beds for the vegetable garden and for some of the ornamentals. Another challenge will be the hungry deer in the neighborhood. They even devoured the native plants I put in last spring, so deer fencing is on the agenda. Our summers here are 8–10 degrees warmer than the west side but the growing season is shorter. Gardening in 2019 will be a real challenge but I’m optimistic we can make it work!”
Barbara Blossom, Portland, Oregon
“This seems to be the year of renewal for my garden of more than three decades. Several decrepit trees and elderly shrubs were taken out late last summer. I built fresh soil on the newly empty spaces by layering fallen leaves with rabbit litter and grass clippings piled quite high. I had fun searching for new, lower maintenance shrubs and plan to arrange them in the two new beds. One area in full-sun will be home to Physocarpus opulifolius Ginger Wine® ninebark found at Garden Fever, Cistus × hybridus ‘Mickie’ from Secret Garden Growers, and several Hydrangea paniculata varieties from Hydrangeas Plus®. The second site in partial shade will be home to several mahonia found at Cistus, Epimedium and ferns from Sebright Gardens. No doubt there will be room to cram in more irresistible treasures waiting to tempt me at spring’s plant sales.”
Gail Bernard, Lake Oswego
“In my mostly woodland garden, I’m always looking for plants with bold textures and exciting and brilliant colors. It’s been a mild winter, so I currently have a few hardy impatiens and hardy cyclamen blooming as well as hellebores. I plan to introduce new Schefflera varieties, and add to my collection of hardy begonias with wild colors and textures. I’m always on the lookout for Arisaema and Podophyllum and recently found a wonderful Dichroa febrifuga as well as a Daphniphyllum himalayense ssp. macropodum ‘Variegata.’ I have Far Reaches Farm, Secret Garden Growers, Whitman Farms and Cistus Nursery to thank for their tempting selections and yes, I’ve already placed orders for spring!”
Doug Barragar, Portland, Oregon
“My garden is full. This would be an apt description of my garden at any time for many years. Yet every year I purchase 30, 40, or 50 new plants that somehow make their way into my garden. It’s magic. It’s probably not particularly helpful in determining consumer trends, but I’m adopting an ‘I’ll know I need it when I see it’ approach to plant purchases this year. I have placed three roses of Sharon, a couple rhododendrons and a Pieris on my ‘could live without’ list. I also have a few patches of Tricyrtis that have, over the years, grown from 4-inch pots to 10 square feet. I’ll use these spaces and other old plant edits for this year’s purchases from plant sales and nursery visits.”
Kathy Palmer, Salem, Oregon
“Our normally heavily wooded front garden was somewhat transformed this fall when we had seven fir trees removed and the stumps ground out. Many still remain but these were our seven largest trees closest to the house. This has drastically changed our light situation in the front and gives us many new plant opportunities.
“In addition to changing our light situation, we now have a flat open area that needs some structure. Our challenge this spring will be to find ornamental small trees which we can enjoy year-round since our large kitchen window looks out on the front. We have purchased three so far, Styrax japonica ‘Evening Light,’ Lagerstroemia indica ‘Tuscarora’ and Stewartia pseudocamellia.
“Much of our prior landscape has been semi-shade to shade loving plants so we will need to rethink a lot of our planting. We are thinking of this as an opportunity to finally have a few sun-loving plants. As we are getting older, we have been slowly transitioning to evergreens, small shrubs and easy perennials that don’t require constant tending.
“I have dug all my dahlias that have been scattered throughout my gardens wherever I could find a sunny spot and am moving them all to one large bed that gets full sun in an attempt to reduce maintenance and avoid having to step into the beds to tend them. It’s going to be an exciting spring, and as my husband says, ‘A plant buying opportunity!’”
In talking with other gardeners over the holiday season, there is certainly no lack of enthusiasm for the spring and summer garden season. It is difficult to predict what the balance of the winter or early spring season will be, but I am hopeful that we do not have a snowstorm in February!