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Tunes from the jukebox: Jamestown Choralaires to present dinner concert

Submitted photo The Jamestown Chorlaires will present a dinner concert next week. Tickets must be purchased by Monday.

Among the last activities of autumn, well before spring seed catalogs begin to arrive, it’s a good idea to take note of changes made over summer in the garden. This is when a few photos and plot designs will help in March and April, when the snow is melting and freezing … and when we all are itching to get out there and start planning the 2014 gardens.

A few sheets of graph paper with trees and plant beds drawn in to scale will be a big help when poring over the petunias and lilies in that favorite resource catalog.

Over the years of floods, levees, heeled-in plants and rescued art pieces, having a plan before it snowed was my garden’s salvation. I wasn’t sure what tree was destroyed during levee construction, or which storage place contained which art piece.

During 1996-97 and 2009-10, the floods overwhelmed riverside gardens. Had the original locations not been recorded, anyone might well have forgotten what was in the yard, much less where they wound up going.

As an artist, growing things becomes more a canvas and paint than simply growing flowers and vegetables. Mind you, I am passionate about growing vegetables and flowers of any color, of any size and nature. But like any painting, a little planning helps make a beautiful composition for the year-round garden.

We’re past the digging and planting stage right now, but it’s not too late to get a few digital prints (as large as you can print them), plus some graph and tracing paper. I usually start with a rough layout of the hard-scape (house, out-buildings, paths, drive, walls, fences, etc), trees, stones and beds for plantings.

Once that is drawn in, look at garden art or structures that might fit the space, and rough in where you might want furniture, grill, pergolas, etc.

Planting beds need mowing edges that allow easy lawn care and quiet spaces between gardens and features. A list of needs will help, once actual construction begins. Then, as the catalogs start arriving, you’ll have a picture of what your summer dream-scape might look like.

Nobody need be an artist to do a planting plan for summer. A straight edge, pencils, pens and the aforementioned papers will make a garden plan a dream job.

I still have my first plans from the 1990s. When a flood hit the spring of 1997, the high water took out some trees, but a dead tree looks like a dead tree. I didn’t want to plant the same kind of tree, so knowing what was where became important.

Tagging plants and recording their location has been a big help. Any time a change is made, it’s written down. I record where and when I got a plant and for some pricey specimens, the price is noted, receipt attached, length of warranty, and any conditions noted.

The whole notebook is kept near catalogs as they start coming in. It’s a joy to lose oneself in dreaming of summer colors when the whole world around is a crispy white canvas.

If anyone has an item for this column, please send to Sharon Cox, PO Box 1559, Jamestown, ND 58402-1559.