Shopping for new plants in your garden?
Fall is the best planting time and if you are like me, you’re probably anxious to add new plants to your garden.
I’ve learned the hard way to take my time. Before I buy that gorgeous tree or amazing shrub with beautiful flowers, I ask myself, “Will that fit in my garden?” It might fit as a five-gallon or 15-gallon, or even 24” box but in 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years will there be room for that plant at its ultimate size?
So many people buy plants without considering just how big they get. Instead, they choose a plant they love. After a few years, their beloved plant outgrows its spot and starts to swallow surrounding plants, or its branches stick out into walkways or lean over the neighbor’s fence, or shade out patios or…. The plant that was once so beloved becomes a maintenance nightmare.
What happens then?
Is it time to remove the plant that they’ve invested time, money, and expectation in? Or do they prune it forever to keep the plant “under control?” (I hate the term “under control.” Plants do what plants do. Problems happen when we use them improperly).
Sadly, most people choose to prune, and those overly pruned plants never reach their true beauty. They get shaped into boxes and pom poms. Their flower buds get chopped off so they never bloom. The owners get cheated out of the flowers and so do the birds, bees, and butterflies who would otherwise pollinate the flowers, make nests in the branches, and produce future generations of birds, bees, butterflies, etc.
Don’t let this happen in your garden!
You can easily avoid this situation by doing a bit of homework before committing your heart and your money.
Start by measuring your garden’s spaces – whether they be entire beds or empty spots waiting to be filled. What height should each plant be? How wide? How many plants is there room for?
Remember that plants expand in all directions, so allow enough space between plants – as well as between the plants and nearby walls, fences, pathways, etc. Set a plant that grows six feet wide, for example, three feet away from a fence or sidewalk, edge of your property, and at least six feet away from the nearest plants. Give it room to grow so it seldom has to be pruned.
Widen your research to include how much sunlight that space, how much water, and so on. Learn as much as you can, then choose the plant that fits best.
The better each plant fits your garden, the easier it is to grow, less maintenance it requires and the better it looks. That gives you more time to appreciate and to enjoy.