During all this rethinking of the garden and what I wanted from it, I came to a conclusion about my gardening practices. I didn't have the garden I wanted. I wasn't even growing the things I wanted.
Remember this quote from Steel Magnolias?
Ouiser: "Because I'm an old Southern woman and we're supposed to wear funny looking hats and ugly clothes and grow vegetables in the dirt.
This was my thinking as I tried to grow tomatoes year after year only to have the roots eaten by chipmunks or voles. I appreciated the beautiful Trionfo Violetta bean vines but cared little about harvesting or cooking the end result.
What kind of Southern woman doesn't want to grow vegetables or "put up" beans? When I got real with myself and actually created a vision board of my dream garden guess what. No veggies were present except beautiful greens. Everything I really wanted to grow was either an herb, a fruit, or a flower. It was one of those things that I knew all along and didn't know at the same time.
Here's a section of the 2019 Garden vision board. It isn't what I'm trying to create in exact form but the feeling is perfect.
Clarity is such an important part of life. How can we get what we want if we don't know what it is?
So looking at the Pinterest photos I was most attracted to we can see some things. I like clearly defined paths. I love the mix of casual cottage sweetness and formal elements. I also like something trending toward a French feel. The biggest difference between the garden I started with and the one I dreamed of creating was order. Also, there's not a tomato vine to be found. My dream garden as it turns out would be one that feeds my soul and not necessarily my stomach.
See pictures and read about my original rambling cottage garden.
In addition to figuring out the aesthetics of your garden style you also need to come to grips with what kind of actual gardening you want to do and what you have to work with. If you are a weekend gardener and want to use your garden for recovering at the end of the work week you can do that with containers on your balcony or a garden that takes up your whole backyard. Do you want to till and dig or layer and compost? Do you want to grow food? Have a cutting garden? Or do you prefer low maintenance landscaping that needs little from you at all but looks nice from the window?
No matter what kind of garden you want you'll still have to choose a look you like. You can create the vibe you want by your choice of plants and style of containers and well as how you plant. Are you a wild and natural garden lover or do you want your plants to behave in neat rows? Doing some preliminary research can save you hours of toil later on if things have to be changed up.