Time to Set Your Garden Goals for 2016!

Welcome to the New Year 2016! This is an exciting time of year as we say good-bye and close one chapter of our life and open and plan for an intriguing new chapter, full of hope and possibilities.  Just as we take time to examine and assess our personal lives at this changing of the years it is also a good time to review our landscape and gardening efforts of the past years.  We use this changing of the calendar to set new goals and make new plans for our life, our families and our business activities.  It is also a good time to sit in our favorite chair or at the kitchen table and make a few plans and set goals for our yard and gardens in this New Year.

Did you get a lot of ice damage to your trees and need to allot some time for real pruning and shaping not just storm response? Do you need to plant some new trees and shrubs to replace some lost to age or ice storms or just to create new islands of shade and cooling in your yard?  Do you need to plant a hedge to screen your view from current or planned development or to create a backyard room?  Have you dreamed about starting or expanding a vegetable garden or creating a new flower bed?  Do you want to add a patio and decorate it with a collection of container gardens?  Do you want to add a water garden and be able to meditate and ponder the world as you watch your Koi fish?  Do you want to plant a butterfly or pollinator garden to attract more butterflies and bees to your yard?  Do you want your own cold frame to grow cool season vegetables later into the fall and to get an early start on spring?  Do you want your own winter greenhouse, equipped to grow your own spring vegetable and flower transplants or do you want to do a full year round greenhouse with heating and cooling?  Do you want to add an outdoor living room with a fire pit or kitchen surrounded by pretty and relaxing gardens?  All these things are possible but you have to decide on what is your dream and then set about to make it happen.

As we wrap up the Christmas festivities and family gatherings and start the New Year, gardeners start to receive all the new seed and plant catalogs by mail and now e-mail. These beautiful pictures of the newest varieties of flowering annuals and perennials, tempting bulb crops, the wide variety of known and mysterious vegetables, fruits and berry crops as well as shrubs, ornamental grasses and trees can get almost any gardener fired up for the spring season that lies on the other side of the winter we are facing now.  Some folks call these enticing garden catalogs and email blasts “garden candy” and they truly get gardeners in the spring spirit.  I am a proponent of the “buy local” movement and encourage you to support your local greenhouse, garden center and nursery businesses.  Study and enjoy these catalogs, make out your wish lists and then visit with your local nurseryman for their advice and buy what you can locally or at least in our region.  There are native plants that are well adapted here and many great plants that are not native but that still adapt well to our area that may be from similar temperate zones around the world.  There are many other beautiful plants that look enticing in these garden catalogs but just do not adapt well to most Oklahoma conditions.  Some plants can’t take our hot, dry, windy summer conditions, some can’t take our winter and other plants don’t handle our rain or drought surges well.  A local nurseryman will often have experience to give advice on your selected new plants or to suggest a better variety or plant.  If you can’t find the plant locally and it may be something you really want to try, check the plant hardiness zone and go for it.  Most of Oklahoma is zone 7 with zone 8 south of us in North Texas and zone 6 north in Kansas.  If the plant you want to try says it is adapted for zone 7 it could be fun to try something new.

Have a great new year and we hope you stay warm and safe as you study your catalogs and garden web sites while setting your garden goals for 2016!

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