Perennials forum: Planning for Spring?

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Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
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springcolor
Dec 1, 2013 12:51 PM CST
December is a great time for planning, looking for new intros and buying seeds. I use to wait until January but found seeds would be sold out of what I wanted. I been looking over pictures of ways to change up gardens. Of course looking for perennials that would be suitable for containers to reduce the use of annuls in my pots.
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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Dec 2, 2013 11:04 AM CST
I don't mail order anything relating to my garden, nor do I start seeds - so I use the winter for updating my personal plant database, making a new 'wish list' for plants to keep my eye out for at local nurseries, and noting which plants to move around. I am also fortunate to live in a temperate region and can often get outside to putt around a bit here and there - pruning, cleaning up, random weeding. Sometimes I will be surprised by a lone bloom or two.
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Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
Dec 2, 2013 11:13 AM CST
Like Deb, I use the winter to update databases and planning out the garden beds for the coming Spring. In mid January I go through my seed catalog and decide what I want to plant then find the seeds and put them in a box. I always start my seeds indoors on heating pads starting the last week in January .. the slowest germinators first. If I need to order seeds then I usually do it in February.

This coming year is going to be different. I'm putting my house on the market in Spring and moving probably to Greenville, SC. l haven't made up my mind yet if I'm going to be starting any seeds in January .. probably a few but only a fraction of the number I usually start.
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Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
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ge1836
Dec 2, 2013 11:16 AM CST
I use the time to plan the containers for the deck.We have over 30 .I place an order with RosyDawn as soon as I check the new arrivals.
Like Bonehead I also catch up on garden notes and reminders,add plants to my list and delete some that are no longer here. The personal plant database sounds like a great idea Deb.
This is a dead time of year a couple of months until the new catalogs are out.
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
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pirl
Dec 2, 2013 11:18 AM CST
December through March is when I go through my photos, adding to the database, copying some just for my spring job list, and deleting some I no longer need. While I try not to order bulbs or plants, I generally fail but I'm much improved from years ago. There's always that time in April when box after box of bulbs arrive and it's too much to handle for me now.

Like Deb, I go outside in winter to clip back, double check locations for plants (to see if I have room for more), cut back any clematises I had missed, and add more mulch.We've had mild winters, when I'm outside hours a day, and snowy winters when I can "just look" at caladium, coleus, lilies, and try not to order. Everything looks tempting on dismal days.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
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ge1836
Dec 2, 2013 12:23 PM CST
Thanks Pirl,I should delete some images that go back 5 years .Some of the plants no longer exist.
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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pirl
Dec 2, 2013 1:00 PM CST
I keep some under a general heading like "Dahlias keep" so I'll remember each one and I do note why I no longer have it.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Dec 2, 2013 1:14 PM CST
I've opted to simply keep My List focused on plants I actually have. It would be depressing to list all the ones I've killed, likely more than I currently have, and if I listed all the ones I want, that would likewise make the list rather unmanageable. I previously kept my own database in chart form Word files, but have now cross-checked that to ATP My List. I have decided it is easier to only use the ATP feature for my personal database, primarily because I can access it easily while away from home (my Nook has internet capability). That was a bit of a scary step for me, as my Word database was developed over many years, but eliminates the need for double entries when I get new plants. And the ATP database has the advantage of more complete information than my personal database contained. I use the personal comment section to note where things are located and other information specific to my gardens. I am currently working on adding general plant comments to the ATP database if I can come up with anything useful to share. Good rainy day winter project.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Dec 2, 2013 4:58 PM CST
At this time of year my house is full of plants, so there's usually some time spent about every-other day checking to see who's thirsty. Outside, it's time to trim stuff zapped by frost. I don't have good enough luck with seeds to put much effort or $ into getting them, but enjoy shopping for them in stores after the holiday stuff is gone. It's time to plant pansies since they look great all winter here.

I saw a hummingbird visiting Camellias at Mom's house Thursday. So now I plan to start some of those for my yard too. Will start trying in March probably.

Other plans I've already made are to move a few things also. Always tweaking!

Deb, I may do that too. Lately I'm using my excel spreadsheet plant list less often. I always wanted a list with pics though I can't sort it by columns the way I can the spreadsheet. (Like in order of when/where I got them.) But how often do I do that? Only in the depths of boredom in the winter sometimes, I could probably live without it.

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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Dec 2, 2013 6:26 PM CST
Tiffany, I weighed the pros and cons, and as you noted, decided the few features my Word database files had that My List did not were inconsequential. Rather than maintaining a double system, I've just been very cautious to be sure all of my Word database plants are accounted for in My List. That's been a bit problematic when I don't know for sure the precise cultivar, but I'm slowly working around that by trying to ID my unknowns. One thing I will miss is the ability to print a master list starting a new page for each change in alphabet. Typically after doing all my winter updating, I print a master list to keep in a notebook and make scribble notes during the garden season. The notebook has alpha dividers. A minor inconvenience is perhaps the divider may not begin precisely at the beginning of a new letter, but at least will get me quickly in the general neighborhood. Another minor issue is the associated photos will not always be my own. For specific cultivars that is not a problem (and likely the photo will be superior to my own), but when using a parent plan entry because the cultivar is unknown, the photo may be way off. I think my work-around for that will be to simply pick a cultivar that is closest to what my plant looks like and make a note in the personal comments that mine is a NOID cultivar closely resembling whatever one I have chosen. For my own records, that is good enough.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
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NJBob
Dec 2, 2013 7:35 PM CST

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Too busy this time of year to do much planning , that is mostly done after the first of the new year. Do not do a lot of seeds so not really an issue for me.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
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ge1836
Dec 3, 2013 4:12 AM CST
I dont do seeds either.There just isnt room for a setup .DD and I take coleus cuttings and keep them over winter but thats it.
I anticipate the chat on this thread changing as we get closser to the new catalog season.
I have some new perennials in mind and cant wait to see the spring bulbs I planted last fall.
Yulips
Dutch iris
Tirella (sp)
Allium Mt.everest
Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
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Hazelcrestmikeb
Dec 3, 2013 9:49 AM CST
Very interesting topic. I have received several catalogs already. I am sure I will be bombarded with more within the next six weeks. I will be starting my daylily seeds indoors late February. I have some other nice seeds of other perennials that I will be starting indoors also. I know a lot of our fellow gardeners have the "Plant Step" program for keeping things up to date. I haven't reached that phase yet. I pretty much print out the info for my daylilies from "Tinkers" and add my notes to that and put them in a folder alphabetically. I generally add when they were bought, from whom and how much. During the course of the gardening season I can add notes if so desired. For example, bud count, first bloom and last bloom, etc.
Jo Ann, how do you overwinter your coleus cuttings?
Recently invested in a Brother labeler to add some long lasting plant markers.
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Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
Birds Region: New York Irises Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lilies
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ge1836
Dec 3, 2013 9:55 AM CST
Mike
DD and I take cuttings in early fall.We start them in small pots and potting mix.I dont have luck with water rooted plants.
We keep trays of the potted cuttings in DD's office and the kitchen. We dont have more than 24 cuttings between us. I always like to try new coleus that are introduced every year and keep images and notes on the fav.combinations.
The basement is full of storage and my studio or I would give the light set up a try and gro more cuttings.
Not all coleus are created equal and we have learned over the years which will do well as cuttings and which just dont thrive.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
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purpleinopp
Dec 3, 2013 11:28 AM CST
Deb, well-expressed excellent thoughts, so similar to mine. GMTA! You know what else occurred to me, I hate waiting for Excel to open. Browser is always open. I'll probably take more & better notes now. And the huge bonus, if my computer crashes, it won't be lost. Yeah, I know, cloud storage, we don't have anything like that although I do occasionally email a copy to myself. I've not investigated the blog feature here, but theoretically, other lists of stuff, like nectar plants for hummers, could be put in a blog I guess?

Who has other, extraneous stuff in your notes besides stuff about specific plants? I have a spreadsheet of blooms so I can see "when" more of them would make the most difference although since I don't plan to buy any more plants purely for their flowers (unless they are useful to hummingbirds,) this has fallen into obscurity, not up to date. There's a list of plants I'm allergic to with those other people have reported a sensitivity to, and what toxic compounds are irritating in them if I know. A list of purple leaves, one of pink leaves, a page with columns for flower colors (also not tinkered with the past few years,) what the bunnies ate when I gardened 'with' them, and notes/ideas for mini gardens.

Forgot when I posted before, my most urgent plan for spring is to buy more mulch before the pile is gone. I'm not falling for that again and now sure/know there won't be another load at the one store that sells 'finely shredded hardwood mulch' that's not painted or dyed or naturally some color I don't like (or more than $2 per bag! Thumbs down ) NOT needing to water plants with tap water (as often, if it doesn't rain) would help a lot.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
🍀👒☀🍄🍍🌱🌿🌴🎄👣🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻🌽🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌺🌸🌼🌹🌳🌲
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Dec 3, 2013 12:08 PM CST
I diligently spent one entire season tracking when plants bloom for me which I now use as a reference guide. I used Excel and divided each month into 4 weeks across the top. For ease of reference, I used 1-7 as Week 1, 8-16 as Week 2, 16-23 as Week 3, and 24-30/31 as Week 4. Not precise, but close enough. As each plant bloomed, I entered its name on the left and colored in each square representing the week it bloomed as close to real as I could get. I also attempted to track the average weekly temp, general weather conditions, and added little pictures of earth events (first robin, frogs singing, dandelions blooming, last frost, etc.) up at the top as well. I initially colored in the entire bloom data section a very light gray so white blooms would stand out clearly.

I have not reproduced this project on a yearly basis, although I do occasionally add rows for new plants where they fall into the progression. It makes for a very colorful chart. If I could ever figure out how to do a screen shot, I'll post a pic.

I found that there was a definite palette of colors from season to season, and that often (but not always) really intense bold colors are short-lived. Other plants have surprised me by the really long length of bloom they provide.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
There's a place of quiet rest !
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Hazelcrestmikeb
Dec 3, 2013 12:54 PM CST
Deb, it sound like you have a lot of time on your hands for all those details. Rolling on the floor laughing It is difficult enough for me to keep up with tagging my daylily crosses in between everything else now that my girls have left the nest. I miss them. Crying
robinseeds.com
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
Birds Region: New York Irises Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lilies
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ge1836
Dec 3, 2013 12:59 PM CST
I am not good at Excell but have a daily photo trip to the gardens for blooming combos.
I make a series of photos of the borders on the first and mid month from May to October.
I need visuals so this aides me in finding spaces for plants and bulbs in fall when the garden is pretty bare.
I check June and July file photos for space availability and colors.
My memory is awfull and not improving.Making photo files is no bother.In fact I refer to the hard drive as my memory.
Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
There's a place of quiet rest !
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Hazelcrestmikeb
Dec 3, 2013 1:13 PM CST
Jo Ann, another tip you can use is a small rock in the bare spot. I use them when I plant new bulbs, etc when I am not using a marker.
robinseeds.com
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
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virginiarose
Dec 3, 2013 1:24 PM CST
I agree My memory is only as good as my hard drive. Crying
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood

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