New Year’s Day – Here are my “I’m Gonnas” – Sharing With You My 10 Garden Resolutions


Here at Helen’s Haven, we take every chance to have new beginnings. In the world of gardening, everyday offers  a new beginning; most, sadly, are not necessarily planned.

On New Year’s day, we have an opportunity to plan some resolutions and then hope for the best.  As someone profound once said, “if you don’t have any goals, how do you know when you got there”, or some such talk.  So I have goals for the garden…drumroll, please.  Here are my I’m gonna’s:

10.  I’m gonna stop waking up in the morning and going straight to the window to see if the boxwood hedge in the back connected during the night. The Best and Hardest Thing to Give Your Garden is Time

9.  I’m gonna deadhead like I should.

8.  I’m gonna grow more plants from seed.

7.  I’m gonna sow poppy and larkspur seeds again, even though I know I will fail.

6.  I’m gonna reduce even more lawn. Lawn Reform Coalition

5.  I’m gonna add more native plantings to the garden. North Carolina Native Plant Society

4.  I’m gonna take a series of monthly images at predetermined stops in the garden so I can slide show the beds annual pattern with monthly performance.

3.  I’m gonna stop worrying about where my garden gnomes go. Six Places Your Garden Gnomes May Go

2.  I’m gonna read plant labels and then I’m gonna factor 25% to whatever number they print. What do You Want to Know About a Plant?

1.  I’m gonna kick zonal denial in the butt.  Only plants with a zone wrapped around my zone 7b garden will be allowed in Helen’s Haven…unless it’s for the south side and I can’t help myself.

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum


  1. I’m not gonna stress out if my garden isn’t perfect when people come to visit. Or my house, either, for that matter. Hey, people LIKE it when your house and garden aren’t perfect! Makes them feel better. Think of imperfection as something nice you can do for others.

    • Me too Debra! I agree. I don’t want to burden my friends with my perfection. Feeling better already! Happy New Year, friend! H.

  2. meghan said

    i’m gonna embrace things that do well in a sandy, hot yard and not mourn the ones that can’t handle it anymore! but maybe i will try to add a little compost just to try to improve my odds……oh and i am giving seeds a try this year, can’t beat the price of seeds!!!

  3. I’m still trying to “kick zone denial in the butt” and am failing miserably. I had to laugh about the garden gnomes bit…just where do they go??

    Christine in Alaska

    • Christine, I think the real question, is where don’t gnomes go. My gnomes have been known to go to Nome, Alaska! Happy New Year. H. P.S. Pray tell, what zone are YOU?

  4. Kelly said

    Number 10 made me chuckle. Some great items on your list., Helen. I’m gonna expand our habitat … :0) Have a wonderful, joy-filled new year! -Kelly

  5. After your gnomes setting in for the year. I recommend an amendment: You are going to take pictures of your garden gnome community and share them with us gnome collectors at Life’s Highway Game. Think of us as gnome watchers as opposed to bird watchers.

    • OMG – I’m a player! I love this and what you are doing. As a garden art nut, I have some great drive-bys and errr, some as close as my own garden! Thanks for sharing. H

  6. Les said

    Best of luck to you and your resolutions. Happy New Year!

  7. Nancy Locker said

    Helen- Loved #10! Be sure to send out a bulletin when it finally happens. Happy New Year!

  8. Janet said

    Great gonnas! I am gonna look forward to gardening without flooding!

    • No kidding, Janet, you had a wet year. I just ant equal rain, my 44 inches spaced evenly through the year…but I think that’s probably asking too much. H.

  9. TC Conner said

    #s 9, 6, and 5 will be my “I’m gonna’s” too.

    (Got the mole bean seeds. Thanks. I’ll be starting some of them indoors in March.)

    • I hope you great success with the mole beans, T.C. It’s January first, and as hard as I tried, the first thing I did when I woke up this morning was I went to the kitchen window and looked to see if my boxwood hedge filled in the night before…. I’ll start over again tomorrow. H.

      • TC Conner said

        I’ll be sure to keep an accurate record of how your Ricinus communis seeds do here in my garden Ms. Helen.

  10. patientgardener said

    I take photos on the last day of the month at certain parts of the garden and do a End of Month view post – why not join in?

    • That sound like fun Helen! Is this like GBBD but with parts of the garden? If I do, I guess I better move my day up. Thanks for the invite. H.

  11. You realize the risk you take when you post your resolutions for the whole world to see? Anyone who visits your garden will KNOW when you fail to follow through!

    Afraid your list is too ambitious for me – especially the zone denial. Even the sight of my frozen brugmansia drooping listlessly in the back yard is not enough to keep me from trying again next year!

  12. I agree with Susan; you are brave. I hope you succeed in every one. Living in USDA Zone 5, I also chuckle at a 7Ber with a zone denial problem. Imagine what zone torture we’re subjected to up here! I’ve resisted resolutions… at least, resisted speaking them out loud. Happy New Year, one Helen to another!

    • Helen, the world is relative…we all want what we can’t have….you may want zone 6 plants, I want zone 8. Actually, I would like to grow a larger variety of conifers, so I could use some more zone 6…You are smart to keep your Gonnas to yourself. Leaving one open for ridicule is not rad. Happy New Year, my friend. I’m gonna keep in touch with you this year!

    • Julie Simon said

      Helen and “Gardening with Confidence,”
      I’m new to your blog, but I want to say that this “gonna” really struck a chord with me. I’m Zone 5 also here in Utah, and sometimes I just can’t resist a Zone 6 agastache from High Country Gardens. Poor things–they never survive the winter. Still compared to the Montana Zone 4 where I used to garden, Utah is paradise. I guess we all have to appreciate the heavens we’re given.

  13. Love the idea of “gonnas” vs “resolutions”. Makes them seem less arduous somehow!
    Love your list, Helen. Made me laugh. Esp “unless it’s for the south side and I can’t help myself”. Maybe that could be a tag line at the end of every “gonna”, like they do with fortune cookies, ending everyone you read with the phrase: “in bed.”

    • LOL, Sarah! Of course that will be the perfect thing to do…Here, let’s test in: I’m gonna have my way with Mr. Big in my garden bed.

  14. I have plans for #6 and #5 also, and will TRY to do #2. #1? No way. I’m still pushing my zone—and paying for it this winter. But the payoff is so delightful when it works…can’t stop! 🙂 Happy New Year, Helen!

    • Happy New Year Pam, I’m not surprised you will push the limit on your zone. Plant geeks will never accept this. I hope you keep your out of zone plants through the winter…this year, at least. Oh, to have all the money back from, “Try it and let us know” LOL

  15. joey said

    I’m into ‘stress free’ gardening and learned one thing as an ‘old gardener’ … am simply happy when plants emerge each spring as happy as I am to see them … friends/companions are ‘as good as it gets’! Not every plant I invite loves the party 🙂

  16. Jayme B said

    Re: larkspur & Poppy seeds.. I’ve un-scientifically concluded that they don’t like mulch. Perhaps mulch in the spring and sprinkle seeds in late fall… do not mulch again until after they bloom.

    Have you planned a Six faves for Winter containers? Cardoon, Helebores, Primula, conifers, H. Brigadoon, Saroccoco cutting! are mine with a few pansies!


    • Exactly right Jayme, they do like lean soil wanting sunlight to germinate. I’ve tried all the usual ways, but fact is, I’m a heavy mulcher and I use a composted leaf mulch – lush, dark, nutricious and chunky. If the seed falls in the folds, and it will, no good. This I’ve tried all sorts of approaches, but no go. I’ll try something new again this year. H.

  17. Jen, Durham NC said

    Gonna plan out a new foundation this year, and actually put it in motion… now what shall I do…. hmmmm!

  18. Diana said

    Helen, I have been enjoying your previous posts and especially this one. We tend so often to view the garden as ‘what else needs to be done’ vs enjoying so much of ‘what is’. Happy New Year! Diana

  19. […] I’m Gonnas […]

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