I've been looking at garden magazines and catalogs. Time to start planning something for this vast green expanse. I don't want to do too much this year, but I do want a splash of color here and there and some shade for the cats. I thought you might like to share my random thoughts about starting over with a new garden. Perhaps the process will help you even if you have an older, established garden and you just want to make a few changes.
1. The soil is the beginning. I'm changing from rocky-sandy, to mostly clay. Can't tell if the whole hill is clay, but I'll start taking samples. Clay will require some amending and some patience, but less water. That's a good thing. I have a definite slope problem on one side of the house. Have to think about how to handle it.
2. I look at the entrance and consider the "first impression", but since I'm the gardener I'm much more interested in the view I create from inside the house. What do I want to see when I'm washing dishes? What do I want to look at just outside my bedroom window? How will we watch the birds?
3. I consider traffic patterns and routine tasks. I already have a compost bin set up. Gary is feeding the birds at several locations. Where will I keep equipment? Where will I plant a few vegetables? Where will I need paths? It was great to pull up to the patio and unload things when we moved. I don't want to block that access for future deliveries or moving.
4. What colors do I want to use? This is a sunny open area right now so I'll probably stay with warm orange and yellow and red colors and a few whites. Later when we have shade I'll add some blues and purples and more white. I also like to use a variety of greens. Varigated plants are great for contrast!
5. I'll start with my favorite flowers- marigolds, snapdragons, zinnias, daisies, cleomes, poppies, daylilies, irises. All of them are easy to grow and I'm familiar with their habits. I'd be reluctant to start a new garden with too many unfamiliar plants. Better to give myself some time to learn about the weather, wind, and soil conditions up here before I try something new.
So...those are a few things I'm considering. Time to start sketching out some ideas on paper. Then a little digging. Then a trip to the nursery. Let the fun begin!