Gardening in late winter??

The warmth of the last two days, after a long spell of frigid weather, got us all outside playing in the sun. It also got me thinking about getting back into the gardens. I have some pretty big garden projects planned for this year.

First, I want to re-do our front borders on the south side of the house. I had a vision of what I wanted it to look like (airy, gray/silver foliage, pink/blue-purple flowers), but it has just not worked out. I am drawn to plants I am used to, plants that do well in Mediterranean and Southern climates (rosemary, lavender, yaupon, gardenias, etc.). I am facing the fact that these plants will survive here, but they don’t thrive here. I need to scrap my vision and start over. I need plants for our sunny, warm, dry-ish, small-ish spot that will grow in the cool (cold?), wet WNC climate.

William and I also want to turn some of our vegetable garden space into lawn (not something you typically hear from back-to-the-land types). But, we want to have a little more flat for us and our children to play deck tennis, badminton, soccer, and other games. We are going to move some of the garden to the bottom of the slope in front of our house. I also really want to clear the blackberry brambles by the well house and use the space for a vegetable garden. Maybe that will happen this year . . . we’ll see.

Again, I’m thinking about my grandparents and what they grow. One set has lived in the Appalachian mountains for 40 yyears and the other on the coast of NC for over 80 years. One way I stay connected with them is by growing plants they grow in their gardens and landscapes. I love the way things like that can be passed down. I have a number of plants in my yard from my grandparents in WNC, but since they have always lived in the woods, they have none to pass on for very sunny spots.

Anyway, I am excited about gardening again in 2014.

Here are a few pictures of my winter gardens. Any one have their own big garden plans for 2014?

Front garden borders that need replacing.
Front garden borders that need replacing.
Looking down the path at my raised beds that are "at rest" right now.
Looking down the path at my raised beds that are “at rest” right now.
Collards and kale done in by the severe cold this winter.  Now they are my cover crop.
Collards and kale done in by the severe cold this winter. Now they are my cover crop.
Okra stalks left in the garden.  They almost look like trees at this angle.
Okra stalks left in the garden. They almost look like trees at this angle.

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