Happy New Year! Like is the tradition for so many people, you probably made several New Year’s resolutions for 2011, but let me guess: none of them include gardening. Why not? After the busy—and fattening—holiday season, your mind is probably on things like exercising more and eating better. Good for you! But don’t forget to write down some resolutions for working out in your garden come spring—after all, it’s great exercise and can promote a healthy lifestyle. If the cold winter weather of late has you wishing for spring, grab a pen and jot down a few hopes and dreams for your garden in 2011. Here are a few of my resolutions that I hope you can look forward to implementing for yourself this year.

Felco F-8

First, I resolve to start the year off right by making sure I’m properly equipped. Nothing is more frustrating than getting ready to work in the garden and not having the right tools to do the job. This spring, before the real work starts, make sure you have a good pruner. Whether you choose a pricier (but worth it!) Felco or an economical yet suitable Fiskars or Corona, be sure it fits your hands and your workload.

Another tool I plan to make use of is a Hori Hori knife. This all-purpose tool is useful for everything from digging holes to dividing perennials to cutting through stubborn roots, making it a must-have implement for your garden.

Would you like to grow vegetables or fresh herbs but don’t have a good garden plot or find it difficult to get out in your yard? Try an EarthBox this year! This revolutionary container gardening system has everything you need to grow a highly productive vegetable or herb garden right on your deck or patio—and it’s incredibly easy to use. I tested one out last year and was thrilled with the results, and I’m sure you will be too. At Vander Giessen Nursery, we’re excited to carry EarthBoxes, staking kits and replant kits–check them out next time you visit!

Second, I resolve to choose new and exciting varieties of plants for my garden. A new introduction last year was ‘Pink Lemonade’ blueberry—yes, it actually has pink berries! This shrub sold out quickly last year, and because of its popularity, it has already garnered a lot of interest for the coming season.

Hosta ‘American Hero’

Another plant I want to find a spot for in my yard is ‘American Hero’ hosta. Brand new in 2011, the slightly twisted leaves of the plant have deep green margins with a creamy white center. Moreover, this is a “plant for a cause,” with proceeds going to support families of soldiers overseas. If you’re a hosta lover, you’ll want to pre-order or pick up your specimen of this beautiful perennial at Vander Giessen’s before they’re gone for the year!

Third, I resolve to take proper care of my plants—after all, if I don’t treat them right, how can I expect success? In the last year, you’ve probably heard about Jack’s Classic water-soluble fertilizers—formerly called Peters. What you may not know, however, is that Jack’s also makes slow-release fertilizers similar to Osmocote. This year, if you fertilize with a slow-release, try Jack’s ClassiCote, a higher-quality alternative to Osmocote; another sustainable slow-release option we recommend is Jack’s with Crystal Green.

In this winter season of rest and planning, and as we look forward to a new year of gardening, now is the perfect time to assess where you currently stand and where you want to go with your gardening endeavors in the year ahead. In 2011, resolve to make your garden more beautiful and successful than ever—and have fun doing it!