Planning the Garden

Planning the garden.
Flowers top the rock walls at The Speckled hen Inn

It is easy to find information on planting a garden but we think that planning the garden is just as important.  Only a plan well executed and blessed by the good Lord can assure the best results.

Days like today are perfect for working outdoors: when the sun is shining yet there is a good breeze to keep you cool. The April rains have been preparing the soil to be easily cultivated yet full of moisture to help the plants quickly adapt to their new environment. We’ve also been working hard cleaning up the property and preparing our flower and vegetable gardens for planting.   After breakfast, many of the guests like to take a stroll around the bountiful gardens while taking notes to implement new ideas for planning the garden when they return home.


Over the past few years, there has been much discussion surrounding the topic of whether to till or not to till especially in urban areas where the introduction of invasive species has been difficult to get under control. The “tillers” argue that plowing up the soil, including the seeds and roots of last fall will kill them off and discourage them from propagating. However, most gardeners have moved towards leaving the foliage on the surface, undisturbed. “No-tillers” argue benefits such as reduced erosion and that preserving the roots of last year helps to create a healthy soil preserving soil biota, and conserves water. Whichever you choose, as long as you’ve taken time to work the soil to your liking, you can have a productive garden.


Many people don’t have the space to begin seedlings in a greenhouse at home, which isn’t a problem since many of the department stores and local greenhouses have made it unnecessary. Most provide a wide variety of young, healthy plants ready for their transition to the soil. The one thing to always keep in mind is that it is essential to purchase plants at the right time. Buying too early may mean that they won’t be resilient enough to withstand unpredictable spring weather. Buying too late can mean that the roots have become entangled and demand greater space and water than the tiny temporary pots allow. Choose a plant that has vibrant green, firm and healthy foliage. The soil should maintain its moisture and the roots haven’t begun dying.


Thanks to a lot of hard work, many guests of the Speckled Hen Inn have commented on the extensive natural landscape on much of the property and the variety of greenery in our gardens. We have taken great care to plan flowerbeds that require little maintenance, range in height for prime aesthetic appeal and consistently have at least one variety blooming most times from spring through summer.  The birds and the butterflies enjoy the gardens as much as we do!