Garden Photo of the Day

Happy New Year!! 2012

2 WAYS TO ENLARGE!Click directly on the photo to enlarge in a pop-up, or click HERE to see this image, larger, in a new browser window. A shady scene at O'Brien Hostas in Granby, Connecticut.
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

Happy New Year, everyone! Doesn’t it feel fresh and new, like we’ve just hit a reset button? I don’t know about you, but I’m vowing to do everything bigger and better this year. Today I’d like to open a forum on our New Year’s gardening resolutions. Comment with your resolutions below, and you could win a free one year subscription to FG to help you keep them (if you’re already a subscriber, we’ll extend your subscription by one year.) We’ll choose a winner randomly from all of the comments and announce the lucky gardener on Wednesday. Be bold and go big!!

I’ll start:

This year, I vow to…embrace my shade. For years, I’ve been telling myself that my one perennial border is partial shade, and trying to grow things like ornamental grasses and garden phlox in it. They never flourish, and I tell myself that I’m not watering enough, or that I need to fertilize. That’s nonsense! I just need to face facts. That giant maple looming over the bed, even though it’s on the north side, says it all. It’s full shade, darnit! I just need to start buying more hostas, hellebores, and epimediums and get on with it already. Sigh. I’m gonna do it. I am. Oh, and I’m going to cut the amount of money I spend on container plants in half. Ha!! I don’t have much hope for that one…

The photo above goes with my resolution…But it’s not of my garden! I just want to make my FULL SHADE garden look even close to this.

OK, your turn!

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  1. shy_gardener 01/02/2012

    This yard doesn't seem to have any deer, and if they do, what's their secret? I have been dreaming of a diverse hostas garden! In Northern New Jersey where I live with a 80 acre wild life park backing up to our yard, they don't have a chance. I am open to suggestion of tried and true methods of encouraging the deer to pass my struggling shade garden!

  2. Annedean 01/02/2012

    In the past few years I've made haphazard attempts to make compost from our abundant leaves and kitchen waste, but then get busy with the immediate tasks and don't follow through on finishing-- and spreading-- the compost. All those carrot tops from the farmers market not being used! My resolution is to learn more about composting, follow through on what I learn, and use the great stuff!

  3. gottagarden 01/02/2012

    deer spray does keep them off the hosta, a bit of work, but well worth it.

    my resolution is to grow salad greens this year. I grow everything else, but never seem to find the right spot or start early enough. And then I spend $5 a bag for the greens when I could grow a whole season's worth for $5 of seed. this year it's salad greens!

  4. MDGardener 01/02/2012

    Once upon a time, I had a yard under a giant maple. The grass was so thin it only needed mowing ever other week. Anywhere that I built up the soil for shade lovers like hostas was filled almost instantly a dense web of rootlets from the maple. Even pots set directly on the earth had tree roots invading up through the drainage holes! It was lovely and cool in August, though!

    I have just bought a tiny home with a sunny front yard and a back that faces onto a woodland preserve. This time it is an oak right in the middle of the yard.

    My 2012 resolution? Other than weeding and pulling invasive ivy and vinca, leave the yards alone this year so they can show me what they have!

  5. paiya 01/02/2012

    My resolution for 2012 is not to be seduced into buying more gorgeous seed packets promising glorious flowers and greens........there are too many in my refrigerator from the past few years, still waiting to be planted.

  6. studio27art 01/02/2012

    After a year of very little gardening and watching the weeds take over because of physical issues, I feel more able. I plan to give my garden attention in small but doable and steady amounts of time - better for me and for my everyday enjoyment.

  7. duckcovegardening 01/02/2012

    This year I am going to work on clearing more land at Duck Cove Farm, North Kingstown, RI, starting coastal shade gardens that hopefully will support a small deer population yet survive and be pretty as well as continuing to resurrect the old stone walls, paths and formal gardens from the late 1800s, which were photographed and written about in a gardening book Old Time Gardens by Alice Morse Earle. I am also going to begin new gardens in Albany, NY. Our new home is a Tudor Revival from the 1920s. I have never gardened for this style of house, as we have lived in Queen Anne, French Normand and Greek Rival. I want to take the time this winter to study the Gertrude Jekyll style of gardens, as I have read of Munstead Woods and the collaboration Gertrude had with Edwin Lutyens. I am looking forward to learning more about this collaboration and how architecture begets gardens or the other way around!

  8. JulieBW 01/02/2012

    I heard a gardening presentation last fall, where the speaker used photos to illustrate his main message: each garden view should be a picture (focal point) with a fairly uniform frame. I want to do that more, which means fewer kinds of plants. I think I'm ready for that.

  9. bellslady 01/02/2012

    My favorite spot in my "all sun" landscape is under two maples where I have added compost mounds to plant hostas, euphorbia and heuchera. The heuchera and euphorbia are still adding glorious colors as they have since spring. Sun sets behind this west facing bed lighting the leaves from underneath creating glowing colors like stained glass. Embrace your shade if you have it as hostas, heucheras, euphorbia, and my hydrangeas need at least a little to show their best. My resolution, dividing hostas and heucheras to fill in the empty spaces.

  10. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/02/2012

    I want to be consistently conscientious about dividing perennials to take advantage of the bounty I already have growing. I have some repeat blooming bearded iris that I adore (nothing like seeing a favorite spring friend show up in Nov.) and I need to spread them around to more locations.

  11. Lisianne 01/02/2012

    I will try AGAIN, this time using a heat mat, to start my own plants from seed. And figure out how to do the watering properly so the young seedlings don't dry out or rot. I just can't get it right!

  12. ANewLeaf 01/02/2012

    Grow edibles like swiss chard amongst my perennial and shrubs.

  13. serinade 01/02/2012

    I vow to to have a soil test done before having the fun of creating a brand new garden bed

  14. JTitus 01/02/2012

    In the past few years I have been trying to create beds where they didn't exist in our yard that is more of a blank canvas. This year I plan to sit back and watch what comes up. I figure it takes about 3 years for things to become fully established and fill in so I need to just leave things alone and quit trying to make it look picture perfect in the first year. I also will try to figure out the secret of starting plants from seeds. I have not had much luck in that area.

  15. roseymae 01/02/2012

    I resolve to try to incorporate some hosta into my tiny little bottle garden this year. There is a live oak tree in the middle of it and while we have it trimmed to let light and sun in, there is still much shade so maybe Hosta will liven it up =.

  16. Karenannn 01/02/2012

    I vow to really (really) mulch properly so I don't have as much weeding to do!

  17. aluckring 01/02/2012

    Happy 2012 to everyone on this Fine Gardening forum! My goal for this year is to set up a gardening journal now while the snow is flying in Ohio. Number 1 on the list will be ordering seeds and scheduling planting times for this zone. When spring comes it seems to bring lots of ideas and I seem to get too caught up in greenhouse visits and container gardening. Last year my zinnia garden was planted late, hence the show was somewhat shorter though still beautiful.

  18. dirtwoman 01/02/2012

    My resolution for 2012 in my garden is to continue to cut back on my container gardens ( I try and somehow always have to many to water!). I am also a "Plant Addict" and always think I have to have the newest additions in my garden. I have such a combination of plants and want to concentrate on letting my beds mature and develop each bed into a highlight of the species already in them. Hopefully....

  19. codini 01/02/2012

    Ok, I vow to start more of my garden plants from seed, including the elusive Himalayan poppy, which I've wanted to grow since I first saw a picture of its amazing pure, clear 'blueness'. Also easier than the poppy to start and grow will be cleome, nasturtium, sunflowers, and single zinnias. And of course some interesting heirloom tomato varieties, and a Cinderella pumpkin vine!

  20. audrey7826 01/02/2012

    This year I am going to really enjoy my garden for what mother nature brings. I am going to dream of all the good moments that we shared but at the same time recalling the major set backs brought about from the Florida heat and rain.... while slowly trying to recapture in my mind the promises of what my future garden will bring. After having knee replacement surgery, I am forced to take it slow....dreaming along the way... savoring the luring smells of roses, jasmine and gardenias while at the same time listening to the chirps of blue jays and cardinals and the sounds of wind chimes all day, with an imaginary tool in hand I will pave the way.
    Looking forward to the day when my body will be in total repair...I awake to yet another day of gardening.

  21. seebobbie 01/02/2012

    My gardening resolution for 2012:
    Select and plant three trees on my suburban Long Island property. One existing tree was lost to last year's hurriane; another, now a victim of age, stood tall over the last century; the third for good measure.
    These three are to be planted for my enjoyment now and to give luxuriant shade to those who are the next stewards of my garden.

  22. MmeBez 01/02/2012

    I need to complete a couple of projects started last year. I know my garden will never be done :) but I need to finish laying the stones for the small patio near my herb garden as well as the pathway to the shed. It's just too easy to want to start something new while I'm sitting here planning for next year! Happy New Year!

  23. annek 01/02/2012

    First, I'm going to win the lottery. Next I'm going to buy every single, unusually gorgeous plant I've ever lusted over (and not just one but purchases of nine or maybe 15 at a time) and I'm going to plant them in my zone 4 garden (that I will surround by a charming two-foot tall rock wall to retain solar heat) just to see how many little micro-climates I really have. (Could zone 5 or even zone 6 plants ever survive during our snowy and freezing winter nights?). Then I'm going to extend my front garden to twice its current size and divide it into grass and lavender gardens, sedum gardens, rose gardens, english gardens, winter gardens and wildflower gardens (all connected by a charming moss-rock walkway). Next step is to spruce up the garden in the back of the horse barn (as there are only spruces there now). And finally, I'm going to plant a forest of Korean Pines (maybe 7) and plant blue and sliver-tinted foliage all around them to enhance those lovely blue pinecones. Now then, if I don't win the lottery, my resolution is to extend my subscription to Fine Gardening and ponder those flowered pages that cause one to dream grandiose dreams.

  24. Jarna 01/02/2012

    I resolve to take more time to enjoy my gardens in the evenings, and want to encourage my husband to do so. I hope to get my wild flower bed going, after 2 years of lasagna composting it is time.

  25. Faganlovesthisplace 01/02/2012

    My resolution is to finish three of the four raised beds I have started around my circular medieval garden that is in the front of my house. I do not want everyone to see my unfinished projects every single day they drive past. I love the medieval garden and get many compiments on it but they are probably wondering what is with the unfinished rectangles surrounding it!!!! I also promise myself that I will add at least 2 more rows of lavender to the 2 I planted last summer so I will be on my way to having a field of lavender!!!

  26. humbleearthgarden 01/02/2012

    Happy New Year! My New Year's resolution is to plant more native plants that atrract bees, butterflies and birds to my South Louisiana garden. Best wishes to everyone for a wonderful year in the garden!

  27. user-7006912 01/02/2012

    We moved last September from our prize-winning dream garden due to our bad backs. My resolution this year is to embrace the garden I inherited at our town home and keep it low maintenance and lovely.

  28. Peaceofpie 01/02/2012

    I resolve in the early Spring 2012, when my tulips, muscari , daffodils and hyacinth start raising their little heads above the ground, to pull out my Garden Plan and include them in this Plan......I find bulbs are frequently forgotten in a Plan and guess what happens?? We mistakenly forget where they are planted after they are spent and end up digging them up in the summer/ Fall by mistake!
    It's Save the Bulbs theme for me this year!!!

  29. TeriCA 01/02/2012

    This year I vow to have a place of my own, with a little gardening area.

  30. Wife_Mother_Gardener 01/02/2012

    I am with Lisianne: another try at filling the basement with thriving seedlings this spring! And also adding more self-sowers & annuals to add complexity to my summer and autumn gardens.

    Great resolution, Michelle! Happy New year!

  31. snollygaster 01/02/2012

    Happy New Year everyone! This year I hope focus on the vertical aspect of our own garden, adding vines, climbing perennials and other vertical accents wherever I can fit them it.

  32. priscilla_zone5 01/02/2012

    Happy 2012 to you all + many, many thanks to Michelle for this wonderful daily garden inspiration + forum! This year I vow to rid my gardens of every last *&#@!% vole that dares to eat my beloved hostas + root veggies. I will be more conscientious about using organic-ish deterrents + when necessary, traps,organic I guess, since the carcasses are released (read: victoriously flung) into the woods. Here's to a positive gardening year for all, except the voles, of course.

  33. tractor1 01/02/2012

    I'm not good at keeping long term resolutions. I'll make a short term resolution to get out there and prune my two apple and two plum trees... hopefully this year I'll finally get some green gage plums. The only method I know of to keep marauding deer away from plants is o plant those they don't eat (foxglove) or a fence... I use turkey wire, once its shinyness dulls it's hardly noticeable. A very nice tree to plant is Acer griseum, would work very well on Lunguyland... I don't recommend planting any trees where if they fall can land on your house (or a neighbor's), especially on LI (hurricanes). Unless one has a large lot stay away from the large trees, and the fast growing trees generally have weak wood and are short lived.

  34. marimuse 01/02/2012

    My resolution is to keep a garden journal, with a map of where things are located, information about care for the different plants, photos, and blooming information.

  35. Happily_Gardening 01/02/2012

    I resolve to make/take the time to step back and enjoy the beauty I've planted.
    Happy New Year to all...2012 is going to be a great year, I feel it in the dirt :)!
    Thanks Michelle for a wonderful year of inspirational gardening photos and keeping us gardeners in touch.

  36. hortiphila 01/02/2012

    I have recently read some excellent info about sustainable shade gardening Rick Darke's reincarnation of William Robinson's book "The Wild Garden".

    I resolve to put more of these ideas into practice. So I will be able to maintain bigger and better bosky borders. Who doesn't want more for less? Selecting for the site is key!

    I'm also wading through "Planting Design" by Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury, deep stuff, looks like it will help in the sunny areas, a plethora of proposals to postulate. Seems to me these two have analogous ideology.

    Both excellent winter reads to help with the allure of over planning the bold beds I consider beautiful!

    Hoping possibly someday my garden will look like the Lurie Garden or Winterthur!

  37. zone3ruby 01/02/2012

    This year, I vow to... get down & dirty - by improving the soil, that is! It's an ongoing process with our heavy clay soil and this will be my main focus in 2012.

    What a delicious treat for my plants ~ They're gonna love it!

  38. kzoocookie 01/02/2012

    This year I resolve to be much kinder to the worms in my worm bin by feeding them more regularly!

  39. mossgardener 01/02/2012

    This year I resolve to plan, Plan, PLAN! I will resist (or try to)buying plants that look so wonderful in the nursery only to find that I have nowhere in my gardens to put them. I will try to hold the urge to buy one of everything in all those wonderful seed catalogs that began arriving before Christmas. I have a new garden journal, new landscaping software, and a wealth of ideas from a landscaping class I took this fall. I also resolve to take pictures--my senior memory fails me too often. Maybe my new garden room will be good enough to send for the Garden Photo of the Day! Happy New Year!

  40. BZanola 01/02/2012

    My resolution is to continue to remove the bush honeysuckle from my property, to open up the wooded space surrounding my yard and see what wildflowers might bloom in these areas.

  41. JanHewitt 01/02/2012

    This garden is beautiful, and the large variegated hosta that is the focal point is spectacular -- would love to know what it is! My resolution this year is to keep up rather than get behind on gardening tasks, and to work on one project at once and complete it rather than working on several things at a time. Happy Gardening in 2012!

  42. oilpainter 01/03/2012

    I live in a drought-stricken area in Central Texas, so my resolution this year involves cutting back. I'm reducing my vegetable garden to a third of it's former size and using ALL of my homemade compost on vegetables. I'll water the vegetables and a tiny portion of my ornamental landscape. I hope that a thriving vegetable garden and my favorite 3 found roses will lift my spirit this summer.

  43. LYNNBOLYARD 01/03/2012



  44. MizScarlet 01/03/2012

    Happy New Year, Everyone!

    My 2012 resolution is to be more selective in the seeds I choose to plant. Every year I end up with more seedlings than I need because I don't thin them enough, and I plant too much variety. All my friends and neighbors end up with plants. In the same vein, I'm going to stop bringing home plants and shrubs just because I want them. I want everything I see. I must remember that I need a place to plant them. Overall, it's better planning and execution that I need. I guess you could say that I have "hungry eyes" when plants are concerned.

  45. cwheat000 01/03/2012

    This year my new year's garden resolutions are to fill the gaps in my garden beds with plants that will be truely interesting for at least 3 seasons. I want to put in perennials and shrubs with great foliage and contrasting textures.I want to try out some combinations in some of my containers I usually reserve for annuals only. I will plant the winning combinations in the garden at the end of the season. I want to allow some annuals and tender perennials back into the garden for some strategic pops of color, even though they will require work or replacement to come back. They offer so much for a little work and money.(I am only thinking about 20% or less of the bed space.)I resolve to not get so busy working that I forget to put on sunscreen (or not). Lastly and most importantly, I want to plan some cool and fun projects I can share with the love of my life, my little girl( she will be 3 next June). She is already a great garden buddy. She makes me mud birthday cakes with twig candles all season. She collects whole worm families for me with mommy worms, baby worms, daddy worms,uncle,aunt,grammie and cousin worms. And she eats all her veggies before they even make it inside. Happy gardening to all of you and your loved ones out there, in 2012!

  46. TeddyKoz 01/03/2012

    I plan on sharing my garden experience and love of plants with my local grammar school this year. If I can get one child hooked I will have started a new cycle of garden life, something I have cherished for over forty years, whenI was given my first tomato plant in a cup by my second grade teacher.

  47. bucksjd 01/03/2012

    This year I vow to take container gardening to the next level. I am reading a book on combining vegetables and flowers in containers. The author lists combos that she has tried and tested and had success with. I am determined to try one of these combos and experience some of that success!

  48. alaskamoe 01/03/2012

    Greetings from a very wet Ketchikan, Alaska. I vow to take care of what we have and not add anything more but hostas! Relatedly, could someone please tell me the name of the enormous green and white hosta in the picture? Happy gardening to all -

  49. olympic_mtn_gardener 01/03/2012

    I vow to pull up every shot weed (Cardamine hirsuta) before it manages to propagate--through snow, sleet, driving rain, I WILL win the battle.

  50. moonlitfrog 01/03/2012

    Compost, compost, compost!!!!

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