In the very first post I said, “It (the series) works up to those that have some experience and shows why they always can’t seem to put a finger on what a garden might need to be a real success.” One reason is they set themselves up to fail. They sabotage their efforts.
We can’t have one on gardening advice and not have it deal just with buying plants.
Yes, a big mistake is buying for the wrong site conditions, but did you know the biggest mistakes gardeners make? Well it is one my two clients from last post made for years and years. (Again, no photos in this post showing gardening mistakes. All but the last garden image are from the beautiful garden of a garden club member).
I show up on site and what do I find? Pallets busting over with plants. A trip to the nursery by excited clients and exuberance takes control. Plants get purchased willy nilly. Yes, even seasoned gardeners do this one, and often, they are the worst offenders.
So what is the problem you say? The problem is not forethought where the plants will go. Just because someone has 10 to 15 acres does not mean they have the space to plant the new-found menagerie of purchases. It took time to break them of this habit, not to mention sending the plants back to the nursery. I am all for a challenge, but not without a plan.
How many make this mistake? Everyone it seems.
Pros don’t make impulse choices
Make sure to look at your gardens before you go to the nursery. Look at space realistically and assess how a plant will affect neighbors. Will it shade out those around, will it crowd out bed mates? Select for conditions. People don’t do this very often.
Make a List and Prioritize
People go to the nursery and see and want everything, bringing home trays and trays of perennials, and skids of trees that will outgrow their site, or make it so other plants falter. It is important to know your sun conditions throughout the day, how long it lights an area with shadows it throws and patterns it makes.
Remember the post telling you to install trees first? Good advice, but it comes with a caveat. Have a plan first and be practical. Always buy the largest plants you can afford too.
Walk the Garden Center with Confidence
Use your cell phone to take photo reference for when you get back to your garden. Make a grouping of plants you intend to buy, checking color and texture, but also note conditions they prefer to keep your groupings compliant. Did you know that designers do this in nursery yards?
Don’t Plant a Pest
Bishop’s Weed and Houttuynia cordata, yes the client’s came home with both these plants, all because they wanted fast and full growth. The Houttuynia was already established in the garden of one client, and trying to get rid of it was a battle. The homeowner had tried pulling it and also Roundup. Neither worked in the long-term. I had to have the landscapers come in with professional herbicides to finally eliminate this thug of a plant.
Advice: don’t tell nursery people you want a fast growing groundcover. Remember I mentioned growing takes time? Be patient and diligent in selecting plants.