Right plant, right place

A key concept in successful landscaping that we talk about all the time is Right Plant, Right Place. This means take the time to choose the appropriate plant for the site you have and for what you want to accomplish. Do you want a screen from the wind or road noise or neighbors? Do you want plants to make the entrance to your home more inviting without swallowing it up in foliage? Do you want something to reduce erosion, make mowing easier, have flowers, cast shade the list goes on and on. These questions seem obvious, I know, but too many of us dont ask them often enough! Now that the planting season is over is a good time to do some thinking and planting. Dont wait til next spring and make your choices by wandering around a nursery and choosing what looks good there and then. We protest at spending money on some things but a lot of us throw away lots of money by buying plants that arent going to thrive in our conditions or do what we want them to do. People are forever asking me for a list of plants from which they can choose, but there are so many factors involved in making a choice that one list just isnt going to do the trick. Im including a few under-used plants (see box) for your consideration but they may not suit your situation at all. You need to assess your site to determine your growing conditions, decide what you want the plants to do, then choose the plants that fit both criteria. This process takes a while and late fall through winter is an excellent time. There are hundreds of books on the subject. Look for something that includes our climate zone and that has a format you enjoy. Bookstores carry lots of these books since its such a popular subject but you may want to check them out of your library first to make sure you like the layout before actually purchasing them. See if your friends have any books you can borrow. Some of my favorite authors for plant information are Michael Dirr, Trevor Cole and Lewis Hill. There are lots of books with pictures of beautiful yards, it can sometimes be daunting or even discouraging because you know your yard will never look that good. I try to focus on aspects of each yard I like. I cant plant the entire thing but look at what they used by the front door, or off the back deck. What did they do along the front corner of the house? By focusing in I find I can often get some good ideas without feeling overwhelmed.

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