What does a gardener do during the winter in Minnesota? Well, we have a few choices. We can curl up with a good gardening magazine by a cozy fire. We can also start to look over all the seed catalogs coming in the mail this month. Now is a good time to do some planning for the next gardening season. I take out my notebook and look at scribbles I made about the past years successes and failures. For sure I will use more of some annuals and maybe not so many of some others. We all must remember that each growing season is different, so maybe some things that didn’t look as we had hoped may be worth a second try. I know this past Spring I saw more powdery mildew on certain plants than ever before. I won’t give up on the ones I really like just because of one bad year. Weather is definitely something we can’t control and this coming year will be a whole new game.
I would like to share a few of my favorite plants. On the top of my list would be dragonwing begonias. They come in both red and pink and are the true champions in my containers every year. Dragonwing begonias do well in both sun and shade so they are as easy as it gets. They do not need deadheading or any special maintenance and are average feeders as far as fertilizer. Could it get any easier? I love that easy plant!! I have a few other favorites and one of the new ones for me is coconut nemesia. This charming plant has beautiful white flowers above delicate foliage. Nemesia does well in morning or full sun. It is great in mixed containers and the white flowers with little yellow centers are larger than most nemesia’s. I will definitely use both of those plants this coming year. I have to mention just one more annual which I think is a show stopper. It is a zinnia called Dreamland. This lovely plant is 12 to 14 inches tall and comes in a rainbow of bright colors. Dreamland zinnias are resistant to mildew and are wonderful in full hot sun. I use them all along one edge of my blacktop driveway in full sun and they thrive in that heat. Of all the zinnias I have used this one is the best in my opinion.
Now that I have tempted you with some great plants I can also share a little secret. I do my best to change things up in my gardens and containers each year. Trying new things will bring a gardening adventure every year. Sometimes I make mistakes on what I put together, but with each uffda I learn something. Considering I have been gardening more than 45 years I think I have learned a lot! The joy is that each year new plants come to market and it opens up the chance to begin again. Yes, it is time to begin again, to plan, to dream, to hope, and to look ahead to another gardening adventure. My hope is that when you visit Pahl’s we can help you make great choices and give you wonderful advice on all your gardening experiences.