I am a born planner. When faced with a task, I make a list of what items I need in order to accomplish it, and a list of steps to take. This trait served me well in my 'former lives' as a school teacher, K-8 librarian and eventually school administrator. But when I retired to indulge my gardening passion, I just wanted to do it and figure out how as I went along. I soon realized this visceral and visual approach was not enough to accomplish my goals. I needed to write down my plan, give myself a timeline, and yes, make lists. At the beginning of each gardening year, therefore, I walk around my garden with paper and pencil and start making a master list. The finished list can look very daunting, but it is amazing how much I check off by the end of the year.
Today's master list includes a lot of hardscaping tasks, because none were accomplished last year due to my health problems and time spent in England with my mother's passing. It includes painting outbuildings, staining porches, and replacing broken fencing. Some are jobs H.H. and I wont necessarily do ourselves, so I write down who I need to employ and determine a timeline. My goal this year is to get the garden spiffed up before the end of June when we are open for a county tour. The weather has been awful, so we haven't accomplished much yet. This weekend we installed the new statue in the shade garden. You may remember a skunk knocked over, and shattered, the 'naked lady,' as my grandson's called her. I hope we made the new one a little more secure.
|Allegrain's 'Bather,' our new 'naked lady,'|
Picking up downed branches from all over the property, tidying the beds, and applying a 4 inch layer of compost to each of them, feature high on the softscaping list. This is a list of the real gardening. We made a start with cutting back those grasses and perennials that I allowed to stand all winter for interest and for the birds. I started some pruning, too. I am not making any new gardens this year, because H.H. threatened divorce if I do, but I am renovating the Woodland Walk by adding lots more shade garden plants: brunnera, foxgloves, Adromeda, primroses, coralberry shrub, waxbells, and more hellebores. I am so.o.o looking forward to plant shopping
As I work in the garden this week I am disappointed to see that this extremely late spring means few blooms: only crocuses, two snowdrops, one hellebore, and this morning I found just a couple of daffodils open to the morning sun. I looked back at photographs taken in 'Aprils Past' and found very different springtimes, so I am including some of those pictures. But first, here are today's blooms. It is the season of Firsts:
|First crocuses, 2015|
|First hellebore, 2015|
|First daffodil, 2015|
|First snowdrop, 2015|
For my first blooms I am linking with Carol at May Dreams Gardens where she hosts Garden Blogger's Bloom Day on the 15th of each month.
Back to list making: There are online resources to enhance your experience, such as Scribbles or Work Flowy. Personally, I am happy with a pencil and the back of an envelope, but I do like to type up my final checklists and print them out.
|April 7, 2010|
An article in Psychology Today explains how 'Making Lists Can Quell Anxiety and Breed Creativity.'
Of the six benefits cited, my favorite is
Combat avoidance. Taking abstract to concrete sets the stage for commitment and action. Especially if you add self-imposed deadlines. Carrie Barron
|April 14, 2011|
I agree with Branson that it is important to 'find a list method that works for you.' Click here for Richard Branson's top 10 tips for making lists. Doodles, bullet-points, charts what suits you best?' And I agree with Sidney Eddison, in her wonderful book, Gardening for a Lifetime, that prioritizing is essential.
|April 7, 2010|
|March 15, 2012|
|April 9, 2014|
|April 7, 2010|
|April 9, 2014|
At the beginning of each week I pick tasks from the master list and make my weekly list. This is a more detailed to-do list of jobs both large and small that I hope to accomplish that week. Each day I pick some of those tasks and, depending on the weather, I check off as many as I can. If I have little time that day, I pick something small, like staking a peony. I keep the daily list short to fit in with all my other obligations. I love the feeling of satisfaction as I tick off a box.
Like my garden, my seed starting was late this year. I set up the seed starting station, but didn't keep to my planned schedule. I blogged about my kitchen garden's beginnings here. I have learned that while list making is a great organizing tool, I cannot beat myself up if I don't meet my goals. I have found, however, I am more likely to reach my goals with lists than without.
|Seed Starting Station takes over one end of the dining room.|
List making has a long history and was practiced by many historical figures including Benjamin Franklin.
'The list is the origin of culture. It’s part of the history of art and literature. What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible… And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists…' Umberto EcoDo you make gardening lists? If not, I strongly suggest you give it a try.
|The goldfinches have their yellow feathers. It IS spring!|
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