What's Your Gardening Muse

I was on Facebook the other day and was so excited when I saw a picture of beautiful flowers in bloom, sun shining and saying 8 weeks until spring. Of course, I immediately had to share it as it had me smiling and I wanted to make other fellow gardener's smile at the thought that spring is on the horizon. It also got me to thinking about what inspires us in our gardens, what gives us our ideas, what is our garden muse?

Often time for many I think pictures is a great source of inspiration in the spring before things begin to green up, this may be in the form of pictures on Facebook or Pinterest, garden catalogs, or garden magazines just to name a few. Why recreate the idea wheel if you don't have to?

There are a few things to factor in though when you are looking for inspiration and ideas to put into your own garden and part of it is evaluating what you are looking at and making sure that the plants in those inspirational pictures are suitable for your own yard. Do your research; ask your local Extension office or Master Gardeners, or local garden centers for advice and help. Make sure to keep in mind that the photos might be from a different growing zone so not all the plants might be suitable for your garden but you could use it as a starting point and find substitutes that would give the same feel and look in your own garden.

At the same time the garden muse might be just encouragement to go out and clean out your yard and garden from last year that maybe you didn't get time to finish up last fall or even encouraging you to expand what you have already done – which is part of my garden muse inspiration that I have right now.

There can be so many points of inspiration that finding ways to keep them all together can be a project in and of itself. As a fan of social media and digital media I like to use that as a means to keep ideas organized in one place. My favorite is Pinterest since you can use their board feature to create categories – vegetables, perennials, container gardens, houseplants or anything you can think of to make it easier to organize or printing out/cutting out and organizing it in a binder is always another option.

Now is the time to take advantage of the colder weather and plan for the spring. Take advantage of those points of inspiration as well as gardening programs in your local area. For upcoming programs to jump start your gardening muse, contact your local Extension office for opportunities or visit our website at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/abhps/

I'd love to hear where you get your inspiration and what excites your gardening muse- email me at khoule@illinois.edu