CO-Horts Blog

Monday, January 18, 2021

New Year, New Garden

 Posted by: Charleen Barr, Master Gardener in Larimer County

A new year in the garden promises and delivers a fresh start, a chance to fix all errors I have made in the garden and improve or transform those spaces that need extra attention. Now is the time of the year when I have plenty of days to think about what changes to make. The failures of last year have faded and it is time to gather ideas, and make some garden resolutions.

[courtesy of Creative Fabrica]

Continuing education is high on my priority of resolutions for 2021. I am excited to learn through our Extension Continuing Education classes. Although Zoom is not my favorite way to learn, I appreciate the expertise, preparation and I pay attention to the ideas presented. If you haven't looked, there are dozens of recorded classes posted on this blog--the page also includes those coming up. In 2021, I am hopeful that we may be able to enjoy the sharing of ideas and resources of our fellow Master Gardeners with the public.

Simplifying garden tasks as I get older requires some planning. I want to keep flower and vegetable gardens small, so they are easier to manage. A smaller garden helps with weed control.

I will not buy plants without a plan. I have dozens of seed packets that looked enticing in the catalog or store, but never got planted – not enough time or space! I also have had pretty plants that die in their pots without being transplanted.

Everyone loves the bright, showy cultivars of butterfly bush, petunias and daylilies, but these introduced species can be high maintenance. This year, I resolve to plant additional native species for a more sustainable garden that is easy to maintain. Native plants are adapted to our local climate, weather, and pests. They can handle periods of drought and sudden freezes, and require little, if any, fertilizer to thrive. Native plants also help sustain the backyard pollinators that return to my yard year-after-year.

Rocky Mountain penstemon (Penstemon strictus), one of many native plants that do well in Colorado gardens. Photo courtesy of

Garden resolutions require determination or they will not happen. Plus, sometimes we need someone to help make gardening ideas come true, like a partner in crime so to speak. This is when I enjoy using my grandchildren. They are totally stimulated by earth worms, crawling insects, and up close and personal inspections of plants. Gardening should not be all work. The more time we spend enjoying and sharing our gardens the more rewarding they will be.


  1. Beautiful inspirational post. Thank you too for links to online education!
    Dot Himes

  2. Great post, Charleen. I am glad to know that you experience some of the same "shoulda, woulda, coulda"s that I have in the past. You inspired me to do better this summer !
    Karen Hallberg