By Susan Martin for Proven Winners
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners
Time to assess and begin again! Late fall is an ideal time of year to take stock of what you learned from your garden this season and to begin planning for the new year. While things are fresh on your mind, make a list of what worked well and what could use some improvement. Don’t be too hard on yourself if something you thought you had planned well just didn’t work out—it happens to the most experienced gardeners. Mistakes help us learn and do better next time.
Planning can feel like a daunting task if you have a lot to accomplish, but we’ll show you three helpful tools here to make the task fun and rewarding.
#1 – Gather Ideas on Your Idea Boards
Looking for a good place to begin? Idea Boards from Proven Winners are a helpful place to start gathering your favorite plants for a new project. Browse our recommended Idea Boards first to see how the tool works, then set off and build your own.
Perhaps you’d like to plant a new butterfly garden next spring. Create a new Butterfly Garden Idea Board, then tap the heart icon on any plants you see that might be a good fit to add them to your board. It works a lot like Pinterest, but with all of the plants you need in one place. Create as many boards as you wish—they will be waiting for you next time you log in to our website.
#2 – Design Your Garden with the Proven Plant Pairings Tool
One of the trickiest parts about designing a garden is knowing which plants to pair together. Our free Proven Plant Pairings tool makes it easy! First, you will be asked to enter your zip/postal code to find your growing zone. Next, tell us if you need plants for full sun, part shade or full shade conditions. In step three, you’ll select two colors for your new garden palette. Finally, choose additional traits that are important to you like deer resistance or attracting pollinators. Then, you are ready to go!
The Proven Plant Pairings tool will automatically sort through thousands of options in a matter of seconds. You’ll see all of the combinations of Proven Winners perennials and shrubs that fit the specific criteria you’ve entered. From there, you can choose to download a pdf of your favorite designs to bring to your local garden center to purchase the plants or order the plants online (U.S. shipping only). A planting diagram and quantities of plants needed is included with every design.
#3 – Plan Next Year’s Container Menu
Now that you have your perennial and shrub combinations all worked out for your garden, it’s time to focus on your porch and patio containers. The best place to begin is with the Proven Winners Container Garden Recipe Tool. It will help you understand which varieties of plants pair well together in containers and find recipes that will thrive in your growing conditions. Over 1,400 recipes are searchable by color scheme, sun or shade, pot style and other useful traits.
Enter all of the search criteria that apply to your situation, then let our design tool do the rest. It will show you dozens of ideas that fit your needs and include a design layout, minimum container size, and number of plants needed with every recipe. Fair warning: this tool can become addictive—it’s so much fun to use!
Looking for even more planning resources?
View our popular Gardener’s Idea Book and more idea guides here.
Sign up for our Winners Circle® newsletter which is packed full of ideas each month.