Carla Albright

Carla Albright

We are at the dawn of not only a new year, but a new decade. I wonder what it will bring?

Last January I wrote about the seven resolutions I was making for the new year. Now it’s time to review those and see how well I did.

First was to put more color into the garden with plants other than dahlias. Well, that was a resolution not achieved. In the fall, I did purchase more dahlias for the 2020 season, but I didn’t buy a single new plant during the summer. However, I did move my orchids outside when the weather warmed and some of them bloomed, so maybe that counts.

I also moved a deciduous azalea that was doing poorly where it was. Moving it into a shadier spot, closer to the sidewalk seemed to have helped it already as it bloomed for me for the first time since I bought it about 4 years ago. That counts, too.

My second resolution was to find some sort of rat-proof bird feeder so I could bring wildlife into the garden again. Also failed on that one. I couldn’t find anything that I would consider rat proof. I did bring more wildlife into the garden, though, by setting up a little mud pond for butterflies to rest and have a bit of water. I saw an increase in the variety of butterflies, too. Not sure how to account for that, but I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Number three for 2019 was to rejuvenate some of the older, overgrown shrubs in the garden. That was accomplished with a little help from my friends. Huge bay laurels were cut way back. I had hoped to dig them out but soon realized that would be impossible without heavy machinery. The boxwood that was close to the house wasn’t removed after all but instead I “cloud pruned” it in a Japanese style. If I can keep it neat and tidy, its won’t be an issue in the future. So that will be my number one resolution for 2020: Cloud Pruning the boxwood.

My fourth resolution was to add more funky art in the garden after being inspired by the Tillamook Forest Center’s art display in the woods in 2018. This was accomplished by creating some “tree jewelry” that I made from beads and colored twine. I fastened long strings of beads onto wooden shower curtain rings that I had spray painted blue. These got hooked onto branches of a few Japanese maples along the pathway. They moved wildly in the wind, some getting caught up in other branches, and were great fun.

Speaking of Japanese maples, I did prune most of them in late January, resolution number five. They seemed much happier and looked better, too. That was an easy resolution as I do love pruning almost anything.

Number six was to clean up the brush pile area. When I did that, I found a compost bin I had forgotten about and moved it to an area where I can more easily access it from the kitchen. Between that and my worm bins, I was able to compost a lot of food scraps. The best part about finding the compost bin I had neglected for years, the compost in it was broken down and ready to use around the garden as a substitute for fertilizer.

And resolution number seven was to use our summer house for more than just over-wintering plants. I did that, too! We ate out there more often with friends and family. I also set it up as a playroom with drawing pads, puzzles and games for the grand children when they came to visit. It was a big hit with them and since they were here quite often last summer, it became a go-to destination when they got bored hanging around me.

So, having accomplished more than half of my seven resolutions, I feel pretty good about setting some new goals for 2020. I will continue to add more colorful flowers in the garden, maybe in pots and window boxes. As much as I hate to admit it, annuals like petunias and lobelia fit the bill here. I was going to try some more exotic plants and hope to find some perennials, but in the end, perennials don’t bloom as long as annuals. So annuals it will be.

I will also continue the search for rat-proof bird feeders in the hope I can bring some birdsong back into the garden. If you have any ideas to share, please let me know.

In the meantime, I wish you a very healthy, happy and prosperous New Year and new decade!

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