Dreaming and Designing

Last Fall this compost area was flattened for a garden. Now, what to plant in it this spring?

January in the Rockies is cold, sometimes snowy, and definitely non-gardening weather. It’s the Dreaming Season in the Wildlife Garden.

It’s too early to start seeds in the sunroom, the ground is too frozen to dig in, and while many parts of the country have beautiful blooms already, the gardens here are happily sleeping. My gardening fingers are itching to do something plant related, so off to the drawing board I must go. Luckily I have a whole new garden area to design. Last fall I spread out the very large compost pile I’d been tending and got it ready to receive winter snow. Now I have this wonderful area underneath the Ponderosa Pines and Gambel Oak, filled with soil rich with nutrients from the compost. Slightly sloped, this garden area is large enough to support a combination of ground covers, perennials and shrubs. So the question becomes “What to do, what to do?”

A high alpine meadow would look wonderful, wouldn’t it? But there’s not enough sun in this area to support it.

My garden design mind is conflicted at the moment. I could use this space for so many things. I would really like more herbs for making my natural body products, and there are plenty of native plants that fall into the herb category. Making an herb garden would provide lots of flowers for pollinators, plant material for me, and visual appeal all at the same time.

Echinacea are beautiful natives that are also medicinal herbs. They grow in part shade in other areas of my yard, so would be a great addition to the new garden.

Calendula are not native to my area, but are wonderful herbs that self-seed and would provide a quick fill in. Not to mention calendula is one of the best herbs for soothing your skin.

So many thoughts running through my head! Time to look through some gardening books, read through some of the many great posts here on Wildlife Garden relating to native plants, and comb through the 1000’s of pictures on my computer. After all, what else does a gardener have to do in January in the Rockies?


© 2012 – 2014, Kathy Green. All rights reserved. This article is the property of BeautifulWildlifeGarden.com We have received many requests to reprint our work. Our policy is that you are free to use a short excerpt which must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site. Please use the contact form above if you have any questions.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Join the Wren Song Community

Wren Winter Singing crop

Free Exclusive Content and Member's Forum

Sign up for a free membership in the Wren Song Community and you'll have access to a lot more valuable information published exclusively for our members.

Meet other passionate wildlife gardeners from around the country. Share your successes. Learn from your failures. Discover the best resources to help you create welcoming habitat for wildlife in your gardens with native plants so that you will attract more birds, butterflies, native pollinators, and other wildlife to your garden.

Learn more about the Wren Song Community


  1. says

    Kathy my garden sleeps as well here in central NY even though there is little snow. I am busy planning areas as well to redo or add to, but the gardening itch led me to seed start greens in the basement to use this winter and soon to start a few annuals that can go out in late March. I love the area you are contemplating. My sister has a cabin in N AZ and has the same gorgeous trees.

  2. says

    No sleeping here. As a matter of fact I mowed the dog’s area this week (ok, I was a little remiss in doing it when it was suppose to be done in Nov).

    As for your dilemma? I say go with the herb for your business…..CASH CROPS! and they sure look pretty too!
    Loret recently posted..Happy Holidays

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge