February - What’s in Lisa's Garden?

< Back To Regional Gardening Guide

map for zone 3-4

Your Regional reporter

Lisa Colburn regional reporter photo

Lisa Colburn is a crazy gardener, great cook
and author of the Maine Garden Journal.

Excitement is building as I get ready for the 2019 gardening season. It’s time to formulate a plan. The first thing I do every February is consult my garden journals where I’ve recorded all the plants I’ve grown in my vegetable and ornamental gardens for many years. At this point, I’m interested in reviewing what varieties I started from seed and when. If I sow seeds too early, the plants will be root-bound and lanky by the time the danger of frost is passed in my area. If I start too late, plants will be too small when I plant them outside at the right time. Some seeds germinate quickly and grow by leaps and bounds while others take weeks to finally show themselves and are painstakingly slow to mature. My journal entries document all of the seed-starting dates, successes and failures. Of course, my goal is to have more successes.
Starting my own plants from seed saves money. Many times, the local garden centers aren’t growing my tried-and-true plant selections so, the only way I can have them for my garden is to grow my own. Seed starting is very rewarding, interesting and fun!

Record seed-starting dates in a journal.

The interesting “furry” leaves of Hobbit’s Foot salvia (Salvia argentea)    

This year, I want to pay more attention to limiting the color palette in my garden. I’ve often avoided pale pastels in my home, my clothing and my garden in favor of bold color. But, I’ve often been guilty of having too many wild colors in the yard and when viewed as a whole, it’s a bit chaotic. My problem – I’m a plant hoarder. I want them all! The time has come to sort through the clutter and part with the ones that clash. They no longer bring me joy.
When I began this new garden, I focused on chartreuse green, fuchsia pink and reddish purples. They were complimentary colors that popped! It was restful to the eye. The garden appeared to be unified. Many of those plants are still in my garden but their color impact has been diminished because of color conflicts. It’s time to go back to my original intent.

Purple tulips compliment the chartreuse grasses.

Chartreuse leaves enhance bright pink flowers.  

As I review photos from years past, I can see how the limited color palette did not reduce plant choices. Many marvelous plants, in my choice of colors, are available for every season - annuals, perennials, conifers, shrubs, and trees.
I’m saying goodbye to orange, red, blue, and yellow. It was nice knowing you. It’s time to return to my roots. Of course, I will need new plants to fill in the gaps. I may still be a plant collecting, crazy gardener but now I have motivation to reign in the chaos.

A purple, chartreuse and pink color combination is soothing.

Annuals, perennials, conifers and shrubs in the “right” colors.