The Four Ps
It's spring and we SHEs are like busy bees around the nurseries where the flowers beg us to take them home like puppies at the Humane Society.
Have you ever seen a honey bee that’s got so much pollen on her thighs that she can barely fly? I often wonder if some of them never make it back to their hives they're so loaded down. Like those bees, we can get carried away buying more than we can plant. We fly home with our trunks full of flats of annuals and the optimism we’’ll plant them all in a day. Often we poop out in the middle of the plant and the remaining purchase is at the mercy of our next planting mood.
A good rule of thumb is the four Ps. Plan, Prepare, Purchase, Plant. If you try to prepare and plant at the same time, you’ll poop out and then those plants that you have taken into your care face possible death. Of course it’s not premeditated, but the plants will be just as dead.
Plan~ Divide your yard into zones just like we’ve divided our homes. When you divide up a project into manageable parts you won’t get overwhelmed. Figure out what you’d like to have brighten each zone and write down how many of each plant you want. It’ll be like a grocery list. Don’t plan another zone until you’ve finished planting one you’ve planned. I like to add at least one perennial each year (those are the plants that come back) in each of my zones.
Prepare~ Prepare the soil and even dig the holes before you head to the nursery.
Purchase~ Take your list and limit what you buy to the amount of holes you’ve already dug. Don’t be tempted while you’re in the beauty of all the colors and fragrances. You don’t have to stick to the exact kind of flowers on your list, just the number of plants.
Plant~ When you actually get to plant, you’ll be so happy with yourself for doing all the hard work first. And you won’t have the guilt that comes with unintentionally killing innocent life.
This year I’ve turned one of my pet peeves into an advantage. We have a big meadow and every spring the moles convene like they're at a mole convention. Their underground social network seems to put them in our meadow about when the grass starts growing. As I walked through the grass and inspected the hills I noticed how rich the dirt was and I thought, ‘I should use it when planting flowers in the beds that have a great deal of clay.’ I went to my local nursery and asked what I could add to the dirt to make it good as a potting soil.