Written by - Kaitlynn from MIgardener
I always dream too big for what can be accomplished in a year. Sometimes in the imagination of a moment, I plan more projects than my schedule can handle. Instead of giving up on these gardening goals of mine, I've decided to layout my five-year plan. I'll show you where my inspiration comes from, and you'll see how my MIgardener knowledge will help me accomplish my dreams. Hopefully, reading about what inspires my gardening dreams will encourage you to dream with me.
With any five-year garden plan, address three main dynamics that you want your garden to achieve. The three most important aspects of my garden are personality, design, and culinary benefit. I want my garden to be a place where I feel accomplished and at home. I want to feel nostalgic and excited for the future at the same time. Additionally, I want to know that I can access the highest quality products available for my kitchen.
Personalize Your Garden Plan
One of my favorite Sheffield gardens.
In 2017-18, I spent a year and a half living in Northern England. With the threat of COVID hindering promises of travel for the foreseeable future, I am reverse homesick like never before. The city of Sheffield was home, and it seemed everyone I met there was committed to their garden. No matter how small. To me, there was nothing more beautiful than the humble, well-loved gardens of my friends in Sheffield. The garden was a place to sit and relax as much as it was to harvest food.
When I daydream of what my garden will look like in five years, I hope it can be a place of solace for me—especially an escape from the tug of social media and technology. I plan to pay homage to my time in England by keeping a healthy mix of flowers, fruits, and vegetables on hand. I also plan to find whimsical (hopefully vintage) garden furniture where I can sit and visit with friends and family. This year, I'll start my hunt for flower varieties that remind me distinctly of my friends in England. Especially daffodils, snakes head fritillary, and bluebells for spring. Eventually, maybe by my five-year mark, I'll be skilled enough to incorporate pink roses.
4 Seasons Of Garden Design
Kensington Palace Garden
The Brits have the advantage of the earth being green somewhere, at least, all year round. I was always surprised on my walks to work that holly shrubs and many other varieties stayed alive throughout the mild winters. England only gets the occasional touch of snow, which means many cold-hardy vegetables also survive the cold. Unfortunately, in my Michigan garden, I have to be a little more creative. My hope in designing my garden is to enjoy the beauty of it all year round. Varieties like juniper, dogwood, or holly would be perfect for bringing color to the garden, even though a frozen winter.
Although I loved seeing ultra-organized gardens like the ones in London (pictured above), I know I enjoy the look of handmade trellises and fencing for personal use. Anything to bring a touch of DIY to the garden makes it feel more hands-on and comfortable for me. Simple pea and cucumber trellises are a great place to start. I also want to extend my garden beds to make them a little wider than last year, to allow for better spacing. Elliot Homestead and Parisienne Farmgirl have been my inspiration for creating these garden elements. Adding potted plants to the garden will add layers that might be lost in my simple in-ground beds.
A Kitchen Garden
The view from a beloved Liverpool kitchen.
I want to use high-intensity spacing to get as much as I can out of my modestly sized garden. The varieties I choose to grow in my vegetable garden have always had to do with their culinary benefit. It just so happens that some of the tastiest varieties are also the prettiest. For example, dark opal basil, pineapple tomatoes, and blushing sweet peas are just as beautiful as they are delicious. Luckily, I already have beautiful perennials like rhubarb, sage, and chives on hand. Based on those, I want to expand and learn how to grow varieties that pair well with my garden staples. Strawberries in containers, for example, would be a perfect pair for my rhubarb. I can already smell the strawberry rhubarb crumble. I love the taste of pickled vegetables. Come spring, I'll be growing beets for the first time!
Due to my fiancée's allergies, I will enjoy a select variety of tomatoes myself. This way I don't have to miss out on summer tomato sandwiches. I hope to someday grow storage varieties like potatoes, onions, and carrots for garden-fresh ingredients all season! With preservation in mind, I will be choosing an array of fruits and vegetables to harvest and put up, hoping to one day have the in-home pantry of my dreams. I don't know exactly where I will be in the next five years. However, I do know that I will continue to expand my knowledge and love for the garden. First from seed and then all the way to my kitchen table.
As I look out at Michigan's current blanket of snow, I can't help but feel hope that spring is just around the corner. By giving myself time to sit and imagine what it would be like, I have the motivation I need to take the first steps into making my dream garden a reality. I hope this post has been an encouragement for you to do the same.