Anticipating next year’s garden

Published 9:00 am Sunday, January 4, 2015

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

Here we are, beginning a new year with so many hopes that it will be better than last year. My heart is filled with so much anticipation of what the gardens will be like. I am reminded of this verse from Proverbs 16:9 that says, “In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” How true that statement is.

The sunflowers pictured bring sunshine to Lang on dreary winter days and help her to get through the long winter months. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Live in the sunshine.” – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

The sunflowers pictured bring sunshine to Lang on dreary winter days and help her to get through the long winter months. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Live in the sunshine.” – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

No matter what I aspire to do with the gardens, it may not be in his plans to do it the same way. I have always said that I am only the keeper of his gardens and so often I have to remind myself of that. Sometimes I have a tendency to become so engrossed in the gardening process that I tune out everything and everybody else. Is it passion or obsession, I keep asking myself, and should I be this intense about gardening?

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Sometimes we walk a fine line with our hobbies and they stand on that thin line of being passionate about it or to the point of taking over our lives. Maybe we all need to step back once in a while and take a good look at how much of our lives they consume. This is what winter is all about, taking a look back at where we were before we move ahead.

This quote from John Boswell pretty much sums it up, “Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey and enjoy every idle hour.” My love of gardening is definitely a passion with me, and sometimes I feel guilty that I perhaps don’t spend more time in the house cooking or cleaning. Then, I look outside and see the gardens and that train of thought is no longer there.

The month of December has been so gloomy with only a few days of sunshine, so I sure hope January brings many sunny days. All I have to do is look through my many garden photos and find one with sunflowers and my day is brightened. Every time I see sunflowers I smile and feel so cheerful and it gives my mood a lift. Do you plant them in your gardens? Mine are planted by the squirrels and birds so wherever they come up I usually leave them, even if it isn’t the best location.

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

We have new impatiens that will take the place of bedding impatiens that have been hit hard by the powdery mildew fungus the past few years, making it difficult to find colorful plants for the shady areas of our gardens. Big bounce is a cross of several impatiens species, making it super resistant to the downy mildew fungus, so look for it at your garden centers this spring.

As I have been going through the garden photos I keep on my computer, I have printed off a stack of them with notations of things I need to change in those locations. Last year, when I was taking photos of the lilies in garden no. 1, I was not able to get good shots because the shepherd’s hook with a wren house was always in the way. On the photo I have noted this needs to be moved either to the front of this bed or back further. When spring comes I would not remember this until it was too late to make changes, so now I have the photo to remind me of this change. Another good reason to both journal and photograph your gardens weekly.

Last year I transplanted two cosmos into the oval garden, and as I look at the photo of the area where I planted them, I really like the airy and colorful look of them next to the daylilies and tiger lily. This year I will try to put in either three or five if there is room to add both color and height to this area. Over the past two years I have been trying to get more interest on this side of the garden that is not seen unless you walk around it. Perhaps I will also add a couple of coneflowers for more texture and color. Wishing you an exciting garden season.


Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears weekly. Email her at