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How will your garden grow? Tips for planning a new garden

The first question you should ask yourself when planning a new garden is “Why do I want a garden?”

Maybe you have a shady spot where grass won’t grow, but hostas and ferns would. Perhaps you have fond memories of your grandmother’s cottage garden, full of color and texture.

Your reasons for planting a garden and the eventual use of that garden space are instrumental in determining your garden site and the plants you choose.

Butterfly garden. Plants are chosen to attract, retain and encourage butterfly populations. Nectar producing plants that bloom in mid- to late summer will attract the most visitors. Choose dill, petunias, asters, heliotrope, asceplias, buddleia and purple cone flower. All of these plants do best in full sun.

English cottage gardens. These are historically composed of a colorful mix of annuals and perennials designed to delight, rather than impress. They are usually filled with old favorites, including peony, cosmos, foxglove, snapdragon, pansy, bachelor’s button, columbine, bleeding heart and hollyhock.

Kitchen garden. This is the place to grow the things you bring into the kitchen: herbs, vegetables, fruits, berries and even the cutting flowers for your table. Most of these plants require full sun.

Remember, many flowers are edible and are unique additions to your salads. These include anise hyssop, bee balm, borage, chives, scented geranium, gladiola, Johnny-jump-up, lavender, lemon marigold, nasturtium, pansy, pinks, calendula, rose, sunflower and violet.

Gardens in the shade. There are many plants that thrive in shady areas and add light and texture to dark spaces. Hostas and ferns are typically planted in shady spaces, but there are plentiful choices for the shade gardener, including astilbe, bleeding heart, pulmonaria, Virginia blue bells, ligularia and forget-me-nots.

Whatever your reasons for planting a garden, good planning ahead of planting will get you off on the right foot and hopefully forestall any problems you may encounter. Good luck with all your garden plans! I’m dreaming of spring.

Until next time, happy gardening!