Gardening Resolutions for the New Year

As we get ready to enter into 2020, you’re likely thinking about resolutions for the year ahead. The start of a new year is the perfect time to make new goals. We all have areas in our lives we can improve, and our gardens are no exception. Make 2020 the year you kick bad habits that might make garden tasks more difficult down the road.

Here are a few suggestions of gardening resolutions from the Kemper Center For Home Gardening:

Clean up your houseplants

Gardening isn’t just limited to what’s in your outdoor space, it includes your house plants, too. And winter is the perfect time to focus on your houseplant care. Clean the leaves of your houseplants when they get dusty or at least once a year. Not only does dust detract from the appearance of your plants, it decreases the amount of light they can take in. You can also give your houseplants a rinse outside with a hose to clean them off.

Don’t let indoor pest problems get out of hand.

You also want to be sure you’re checking house plants  thoroughly for pests. It can be easy to overlook one mealy bug or thrip, but where there is one, there is surely more. You can read more about protecting your house plants from pests in this blog post.

Do not overreact to every outdoor pest problem.
Unlike indoor pests, seeing pests on your outdoor plants doesn’t necessarily mean you need to act immediately. Most outdoor insect pests come and go in waves from year to year, and birds or other animal predators will eat them. Be mindful of the many living things that co-exist in our gardens. If necessary, consider the least toxic control option first before jumping to harsh chemicals in every situation. You can read more about best practices for handling pests in this blog post.

Add a native plant to your garden this year.
Native plants come with surface level perks including easier growing time and upkeep. They also have deeper positives, like a sense of place, stormwater management and erosion control, wildlife habitats and a resistance to deer browse, among others. If you’re looking for natives for your garden this year, be sure to check out the Shaw Wildflower Market in the spring, where you can choose from the widest selection of native plants available in the metro St. Louis area.

Support local growers, nurseries, and florists.
The Shaw Wildflower Market is also a great place to meet local native plant growers. In 2020, why not turn to local growers and nurseries for all of your gardening needs? They’ll have the best understanding of the needs of the local climate. 

Remove invasive species.
Adding more native plants to your garden is great, but it’s also essential to remove invasive species. You start in your own yard. You’ll especially want to remove any of these plants of demerit. You can also join a volunteer effort to remove invasive species from public and green spaces. The Garden partners with other local organizations each spring and fall for Honeysuckle Sweep for Healthy Habitat. Check our website soon for more details about spring sweeps!

Learn more about your favorite plants
This year, take the time to learn more about your favorite plants. It could change how you use them in gardening. Using the library or the internet, find out where your favorite plants are native to, what their scientific names are, and what those names mean. The Kemper Center’s Plant Finder database is the perfect place to start your journey.

Visit a state park or nature preserve

Don’t limit your gardening goals to just your home and backyard. Make 2020 the year you visit more nature reserves, state parks, and other outdoor locations to find inspiration in the beauty of our native flora. 

Shaw Nature Reserve, and especially its Whitmire Wildflower Garden, are a wonderful source of natural inspiration.

Join a regional garden club or plant society.
Meet others who share your gardening interest by joining a new group in 2020! Garden clubs and plant societies are a wonderful place to exchange information and tips about your favorite plants.

Find time to enjoy your plants as often as you can.
Don’t get too caught up in the small details of your garden, worrying over every leaf and plant, and lose sight of the bigger picture. Remember why you started gardening in the first place! Whether it was to relax, or to have beautiful scenery to enjoy, be sure to soak in all the joys of gardening this year.

Catherine Martin
Public Information Officer

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