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Choose Plants For Your Garden The Easy Way

Aug 17, 2007
We often buy plants on impulse and then find there is nowhere in the garden that is suitable for them. Before buying plants examine your garden with a careful eye to guage how much sun and shade it gets, whether the soil is well drained or waterlogged and whether your aspect is windswept or sheltered.You'll then be more than satisfactorily equipped to go and shop for the best plants to suit your situation; shade-loving plants for the sheltered areas, sun-loving ones for the warm spots, drought-resistant plants for the parched areas, which may be either sunny or or in the shade, and swamp plants for the poorly-drained areas.

There's still one vital thing to do before you go on that plant-shopping trip though: test your soil first, to determine its pH level and what kind of nutrients you need to add, if any. Is the soil acidic or alkaline? Most plants prefer soil that is slightly acidic, but there are some that require alkaline soil to grow. It is possible to alter the soil's pH level, but a much easier strategy is to choose plants according to the soil you already have.

You have tested your soil, and bought suitable plants, so you are almost ready to start planting. There remains, however, one more consideration. Are you going to plant singly, or in groups? If you take an eclectic approach and buy one of everything you see, your garden may seem rather disorganised. Group plantings are organised, harmonious and you can vary the color for interest. Planting in groups makes your garden seem much more harmonious and integrated, but you can still vary the types of plants you group together to maintain a sense of variety.

Before planting, place your chosen plants around the garden bed in their pots to get an idea of how they will look when in place. This way you can rearrange them until you find a look you are pleased with. Alternatively, you might consider container gardening, which allows you to move your plants around with ease, while still looking great.

Grouping plants in odd numbers, usually sets of threes or fives, gives off an overall better effect than planting in groups of even numbers. Ensure that you have an interesting and varied combination of colors and textures. Tall plants should be planted to the rear, or the centre if your garden will be viewed equally from all sides. Keep your plants away from trees, if possible. The roots of trees are fiercely competitive and will steal all the nutrients and moisture you intend for your flowers.

The right color scheme is one way to maintain harmony in your garden. To avoid mistakes, try to imagine the color of the flowers when they are in full bloom. Some colors may clash with others, but can still be planted side-by-side if they have a different blooming season. The color of the foliage is also important. Many flowering plants have silver, grey or purplish foliage that is just as attractive as the flower. This means that they are still very attractive even out of blooming season, and so have added value for your garden.
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