“There are so many plants to choose from, from trees to groundcovers, that it’s amazing how often I see the negative results of poor plant selection,” shares Peter Wimberg. “On paper that plant may have been a good choice, but in reality, in the garden, it’s a choice that will lead only to frustration and inevitably the plant will have to be replaced.”
Light and Water Requirements
Selecting plants that are conducive to the sun and water allotments of your garden is most important. Next step is selecting plants with the same water and sun requirements to complete a garden space. If one plant requires consistently moist soil and the other likes it on the dry side, proper watering is a nightmare, if not impossible. It may take some research and consulting with plant experts, but installing plants with the same basic requirements will make gardening enjoyable and successful. (Above: These plants all thrive in heat, sun and less water.)
Sizing Things Up
Planting a shrub right along a walk is great, for that first season. But as the plant grows it will need constant pruning to keep it in check. It’s easy to pick out the plants that are simply too big for their space: they are falling into walks and drives or have undergone radical and often times improper trimming and pruning to keep them in their allotted space. (Above: Removig shrubs that were too large their alloted sapce.)
Sometimes plants can be too small. “I see new homes with generous front yards planted with a handful of tiny shrubs and maybe a sapling of a shade tree,” reflects Peter. “The plants look like little postage stamps in the landscape. The shade tree, while a choice we always encourage, is so small it will be many years before it has any shape and substance. We opt for younger trees when planting, but there's a difference between young and healthy and wispy.”
Pushing the Zone
There are plants we often use in Cincinnati that are pushing their desired USDA zone. If you know, and are fine with a shrub, that from time-to-time, may die back over winter, but rejuviate come spring, then go for it. We have some plants that give us a 50 percent return rate the following year. When they come back, we are thrilled. Since we’ve already assume we will replace them all come spring, if we lose them all over the winter, we are not disappointed.