One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to walk through the garden and make note of what I like about the garden and what did not turn out quite the way I’d hoped. A joy comes from the parts of the garden that I like and a delicious puzzle presents itself from the areas that did not work as well. I enjoy both of these experiences, but I admit, too often I spend more time with the puzzle. It is just so fun! There is so much satisfaction when plants find the right space and everything clicks together. Here are some of the ways to go about solving the garden puzzle. First question is why isn’t it working? Perhaps the location or space is not right for the plant, or the combination of plants don’t work, the conditions are difficult, it’s messy, it’s boring etc. Next is, what can be done? Which plant clearly loves it in this space? How can I work with it? What would work better with this plant? More of the same? Less? How would a different texture work here? How about if I change the shape of the bed a little (or a lot)? The possibilities are endless and we get to experiment and play. In the following year we get to see how well we solved the puzzle and tweak it a bit more or find it is perfect the way it is. I attended a seminar years ago where a speaker asked the audience, ‘Do you ever wonder why in the best private gardens the gardener is often bent over and old?’ His reply, ‘Because it takes that long to build a great garden!’ This is so true and we love it.