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Team Garden Designed, or Team Go with the Flow?

By Trish
January 15, 2012

Some people are born planners, some like to experiment and see what happens. Come tell us what kind of gardener you are.

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Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Onewish1
Jan 14, 2012 7:32 PM CST
I couldn't plan a garden if I tried!!!! I buy something and find a spot for it.. seems more fun that way!!
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Jan 14, 2012 7:40 PM CST
I'm a very organized person in every other aspect of my life ... except gardening. Smiling I look at landscape magazines and ooh and aah at designed gardens and think I'm going to do that! I buy plants intending them for a particular place and then just end up sticking them here, there and everywhere. I've had plots originally designated for Roses that eventually end up with Roses, Echinacea and whatever else gets thrown in the mix. I've had plots for perennials that end up with vines, perennials and annuals. So, although I have good intentions of being an organized gardener, I always end up being the go with the flow kinda gal. Green Grin!
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
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Mindy03
Jan 14, 2012 7:42 PM CST
I agree with Allison. However, I admit to doing some planning as far as where I'm going to put some of the plants I select for our honey bees depending on when they bloom. I also have one bed where I try out new plants to see how I like them. If we get along they usually get put somewhere else for next season; if we don't well they just don't get a second chance.
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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eclayne
Jan 14, 2012 8:10 PM CST

Plants Admin

I plan. Problem is, planning only works if you have a handle on all the elements in the plan. I don't. Green Grin! Those plants just don't understand.
Evan
Name: Stephanie Gonzales
Texas (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Permaculture Dog Lover Hummingbirder Cat Lover
Region: Texas Seed Starter Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader
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StephGTx
Jan 14, 2012 8:14 PM CST
I think for the most part I'm a go with the flow. I have some areas that are 'somewhat' designated for certain things but for the most part it just goes where I find a hole to put it in Hilarious!
I have a butterfly and hummingbird garden but there is no organization to it. It's just stuffed with plants that they both love. I also am making a birdbath garden but it is just stuffed with stuff for them and some other things that I think are pretty to Hilarious!
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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LindaTX8
Jan 14, 2012 10:42 PM CST
Mine is an ADD garden...no organization allowed!
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jan 14, 2012 11:06 PM CST
I am definitely a go with the flow gardener, except when it comes to my sempervivum. They are all in raised beds, BUT, there are some other smaller type alpine plants growing among them.
If I find a new plant that catches my fancy, I buy it then try to decide where it will go. And yes, on numerous occasions I have dug plants up and moved them. Thumbs up
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
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SongofJoy
Jan 15, 2012 3:38 AM CST
What Linda said. Green Grin! Green Grin!
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Marylyn
Houston, TX (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: Texas Daylilies Lilies
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Marylyn
Jan 15, 2012 7:19 AM CST
What Evan said! Thumbs up Hilarious!
Name: Maridell
Sioux City IA (Zone 4b)
enjoy the moment
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Maridell
Jan 15, 2012 8:56 AM CST
The whole idea of planning a garden is a fantasy that only takes place in my head...I don't rust my ability to keep things alive or groomed to maintain a "planned" space. If I have an empty spot I find something to stick in it, period.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
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Dutchlady1
Jan 15, 2012 9:10 AM CST
I inherited a garden and have redesigned it slowly over the years since we lived here.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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woofie
Jan 15, 2012 10:02 AM CST
"Plan" is a four letter word! Hilarious! I buy and grow things that I like and things that are new and different to me, then figure out where to stuff them. Smiling Never the same two years running!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Jan 15, 2012 10:15 AM CST
A four-letter word ... good one, woofie. Hilarious! Whistling
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Jan 15, 2012 1:37 PM CST
Green Grin!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Joy Wooldridge
Kalama, Wa. (Zone 8b)
Sunset Zone 6, Heat zone 4,
Garden Photography Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Daylilies Lilies
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Joy
Jan 15, 2012 7:35 PM CST
I long for a beautiful planned garden, but I have no design sense. Crying My minds eye has no vision. I buy what I like and put it where I can find a spot. If it doesn't look right, I dig it up and move it. What I need is a new 'minds eye', one that Works, cause the way I'm doing it now is too much work! Sticking tongue out
No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden. ~Hugh Johnson
[Last edited by Joy - Jan 15, 2012 7:37 PM (+)]
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Jan 16, 2012 12:51 AM CST
>> I'm a very organized person in every other aspect of my life ... except gardening.
>> although I have good intentions of being an organized gardener ...

I agree with Lin. Maybe "good intentions", but in practice I'm lucky if I get the seeds in and mulch laid down at the right times. Work, weather, obligations and laziness (and sometimes illness) usually interfere with plans.

As others have said more gramatically, ya gotta plant what ya got, wherever ya got room. I'm gradually creating raised beds, but there are always more seeds than space. Until recently, starting seeds inside or direct sowing was an iffy process, and whatever survived would be what was planted.

Really, my "plan" for the first few years was to see if I could make good enoguh soil for ANYthing to grow. Then, it was "can I grow this?" ... "can I grow that?" Enthusiasm and stubburness became the drivers: Delphiniums took 2-3 years and Penstemon are taking around 4 years to get something to survive.

I understand that, in theory, I could look ahead months or years and then start things to satisfy the plan, but in practice, each time I have an open weekend and it isn't raining, I look around for what can be accomplished that weekend.

Then I planted some perennials (one year bulbs and lavaterra, then Salvia, snapdragons and poppies). That limits your plan-ahead options even more! I did try to plan places where they would look good, and even a shred of thinking about keeping harmonious colors together, but only one out of four things thrived. Maybe the ONE Mikado poppy and the ONE Grape Opium poppie that sprouted and survived will re-seed. If they do, I'll find out how they look there ... and modify the plan.

Talk about planning! I "planned" a spot for lavaterra. Since they were big, deep-rooted perennials, I dug that bed DEEP, drained the ever-living heck out of it, put all my compost there, fertilized and watered. Well, it turns out that the worst possible thing to do for lavaterra: they sprawl and flop and, in my case, became covered with ants. despite the "plan" and lavaterra's deep roots' dislike for moving, I had to uproot them and move them worse soil in a bed where I could withold fertilizer and water. They're doing better now, than you!

Then I planted a clumping bamboo where I "planned" to have a tall, small bed of bamboo. So it droops gracefully, isn't tall at all, and takes up about 6 times as much area as "planned".

>> planning only works if you have a handle on all the elements

I agree! If you can't forsee the future, you can't plan ahead. Maybe I "retro-plan": try for one thing, get something else. Try again. If at first you don't succed, that's gardening.

One thing I AM trying hard to plan: I want to save clean seed from many Salvia species, and poppies.

So I planned to plant only one of each species in the front yard, and one of each species in the back yard. Maybe half of the varieties I tried to germinate sprouted well in trays.

And, my germinating trays produced more S.coccinea varieties than anything else. 'Forest Fire', 'Lady in Red' and 'Coral Nymph' survived germination and cried out for bed space. "OK, I thought, what are the odds that both of the second two will survive the slugs, weather, and my un-green thumb? I'll plant them as far apart as I can in the back yard (S. coccinea 'Forest Fire' was already doing fairly well in the front yard).

And then, of course, 'Lady in Red' and 'Coral Nymph'grew better and produced more seed than any other variety or species of Salvia. And I have to mark those packets "may be somewhat cross-pollinated with ..."

Now, watch. They'll probably be the only Salvia that reseed or over-winter and I'll have to move one of them to get clean seed.

For me, "planning" is replaced by "live and learn". Maybe some year I'll know ahead of time what will or won't succeed, and have enough bed space that I can clear one whole bed out and "plan" what to grow there. Maybe!

Name: Jean
Hot Springs Vlg, AR, DeLand, F
Region: Florida Daylilies Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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rocklady
Jan 16, 2012 9:40 AM CST
I have to go with the flow as I'm pretty busy going with the flow with the rest of my life. In AR, I started out with pretty much a clean slate, but inherited a beautiful yard in FL, to which DH and I have made numerous changes. Since we don't live year round in either place, sometimes things happen that we have no control over and we have to make allowances, such as one year the pump failed on the well in FL -- no watering system for awhile. Some plants survived, others didn't. Then in 2011 we had two frosts before we could get to FL and although I thought my phaius were dead, we got here just in time to save them, however, no blooms until this year. As Rick says, I am on the "live and learn" pattern. I try to learn from my mistakes, and try hard not to make the same mistake twice, although I did have to try three times to get phaius growing.
Any day you wake up on the sunny side of the grass is a good day.

"The moving hand writes and having writ moves on. Neither all thy piety nor all thy wit can lure it back to cancel half a line nor all thy tears wash out a word of it." The Rubiyat by Omar Khayyam
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
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chelle
Feb 3, 2013 11:01 AM CST
My planning sense has evolved from what I want a space to look like, into which plants will do well in a given area. We have lots of larger trees in the gardens now, and the shade density and area coverage are ever-expanding.

My planning now really only consists of knowing as much as I can about each new plant's growth habits, absolute minimum sun requirements and soil moisture tolerance.

The rest is just happenstance. Smiling
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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LindaTX8
Feb 3, 2013 12:55 PM CST
I'm too ADD to do things like planning a landscape right. My daughter got someone to come in and do the landscape when her new house was built. But evidently not the right person! The all-too-crucial step of putting in some good soil or amendments was not apparently a blip on his radar. Then many of the plants weren't planted in the right areas or weren't plants she liked. Just for instance, he put a small fig tree very close to a sidewalk that went alongside a well-travelled street. So she got someone more qualified to try to fix what the first one screwed up! They're still working on it. She's not knowledgeable about gardens at all and I don't even live close. Fortunately she has the income to pay for all that, but it would have been nice if the builder or someone else had recommended someone in the area who knew what he or she was doing in the first place!
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad

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