If we plant the right seeds, tomorrow will be better. If you put out good things, then you’ll get good things back.

Ben Vereen

When spring finally arrives, everyone can’t wait to get outside and revel in beautiful new plants and finished gardens. Alas, gardens unfortunately don’t just pop up overnight the first time the temperature hits fifty degrees. Instead, they evolve not only over the years but over the long gentle days of spring and summer, growing and changing gradually.

So many temptations!

If you plan your garden well, you should always have a bit of excitement to look forward to throughout the entirety of the growing season. If there are areas of your garden that you feel need to be changed or lack continuity, my advice is to always have a plan. If you don’t have at least a general idea of what plants you want, the lure of all those beautiful early blooming flowers at the nursery is going to be overwhelming for both you and your wallet. Just because something looks nice at the nursery doesn’t mean it will align with your vision once you get it home.

Walking into a garden center in spring is akin to walking into a pet shelter full of the most adorable kittens and puppies that absolutely need to be taken home by you. It may be easier to resist taking home all those cute, furry babies at the pet shelter, but it’s a lot harder to stop yourself from adopting a few stray plants from the nursery. What could be the harm in a couple extra plants for the garden? This can detract from your original purpose, eat into your gardening budget and distract you from your original goals.

Stopping yourself from buying every cute little perennial that you happen upon is easier said than done. What I do is take the ‘impulse’ part out of the impulse buy. When I shop for plants, I sometimes pick up a few strays that catch my eye and put them in my cart along with the plants I originally wanted. As I walk around the nursery, I try to think if these new plants will serve me a week or even a month from now. It’s important to remember that annuals can’t go into the ground until Memorial Day in our lovely Zone 6 climate, so perhaps limit your impulses to perhaps just a pot or two that really offer something new and exciting. It’s important to have fun, but also try to restrain yourself a little. Again, this is easier said than done after enduring the long grey winters here in New England.

Look at all that color!

Don’t forget, some of the best places to shop for plants are local garden club plant sales, extension schools and botanical gardens. In the Metro-west Boston area specifically, we have several nurseries specializing in particular plant species these can be a real treat to explore. Make a date, plan a lunch, and don’t forget your list!

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