Garden art isn’t usually on the top of our list this time of year. Usually, summer is when we’re out and about checking yards for the latest ideas or color groupings. Hopefully, you have taken some color shots of your summer perennials and have scoped out a place that needs that special “something.”

Generally, by December, I have forgotten the exact color of my newest garden phlox, or just what shade that new “yellow-ish” peony was unless I kept its reference picture in my phone. For sure, there are one or a dozen shots of “that” spot in the garden where a tree needs replacing or the impatiens were the wrong red.

You might not think artists keep drawings of different kinds of lighting or paths on a drawing pad but there they are. One drawing creates stress and another reduces it. Like work, it’s one chore to relieve the stress of another. Art is like that too. Changing the subject de-stresses the mind and allows a smoother and clearer thought process to function.

Artist’s notebooks are usually “under-the-arm” things that get in the way of weeding baskets and trimmers. Unless you have a buddy who “totes” items around for you, it’s not likely you have enough arm for all that stuff. But if there’s a child tagging along, or you have a cart to hold all your goodies, maybe you can manage the drawing pad, clippers, watering can, cell phone, a cold drink, and finally get those images to dream on in a few months.

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Since we didn’t have an AAUW garden tour this year, getting out to view gardens didn’t have a public invitation. Online and magazine views were and are available, however, and garden centers usually have sample spaces set up to show their wares in a natural setting. Statuary and structures, paths and innovative planters usually are interesting to add, as are fencing (for deer and rabbit control), water features and novelty items. Some simple do-it-yourself additions can add up to lots of enjoyment for the coming year.

One of the University of Jamestown’s communication professors (from a couple decades back) used to cast the neatest garden art steps, birdbaths and feature items out of concrete mix and rhubarb leaves. She made a shallow mound on the ground, lined it using a leaf, laid concrete (mortar-mix) to the thickness needed for a birdbath, and impressed another rhubarb leaf on the back. When it set up, it could be lifted off its form, cured, and used for a birdbath.

Gardening books and online sites offer ideas for changes in the landscape. Use the new idea and your photos for planning during winter days. A pad of graph paper, some photos and you’re set to go. When snow changes the landscape think of your new garden plans and how snow would sculpt your new idea. Japanese gardeners include winter’s blanket of snow as a component of design. The way snow lays on top of a roof, along grasses, on top of rocks and other features create winter sculptured. By planning the composition as seen from the house, the composition gives the resident of that house an ever-changing, seasonal work of art.

Maybe making an outdoors garden isn’t your thing but making a space for something green and alive inside would be. That gives time to search for that already-made special something to fill that space. Shopping for plants now gives time to acquire them before freezing temps arrive. If at home during this special time, you’ll have your catalogs and websites and can start the search. Ideas will come and you can create a serene, personal space inside or out.