Thursday, March 12, 2015

Right Plant, Right Place

-- Quote of the Day -- 

“Never forget who you are and where you come from, 
or you will never arrive at where you want to be.”

~ Mary Medico

 -- Choosing The Right Plant -- 

* Today's article was written by: Todd Wessel - Certified Professional Horticulturist, Landscape Technician and Maryland Pesticide Applicator. He welcomes feedback via:

When it comes to any new landscape planting, especially a small garden, it's crucial to fully understand the conditions your plants will encounter on a daily basis.
All plants have specific needs for sun, shade, water etc. but small gardens can exacerbate these needs because of the restricted design of the layout.
With limited space for growth, drainage, airflow etc., even small gardens can have micro climates:
- increased wind stresses and dries out plants
- decreased airflow greatly increasing humidity and disease
- drainage problems keeping soil wet and drowning plants

Before you go out and purchase any plants, take some time to observe your garden at different times of the day and read up on the plants you like.

It's important to know:

• when your plants will get sun or shade during the day... it makes a Big difference; morning sun is a cooler sun and a great spot for partial shade to shade loving plants, on the other hand,afternoon sun is a hot sun and plants here must be able to withstand intense heat
• what  your soil type is - clay soil stays wet longer, requires much less watering and is the main culprit in sickly, yellow leaf plantings, while loam or sand drains quicker and requires more monitoring and water. Ideally you'll have a balance of all 3 types.
• where wet areas or drainage issue areas are... These are typically found where your roof gutters drain and shady areas; they will remain wet longer and require less watering
• if you have large trees that are shading beds, blocking rain or have plants that are installed in a trees root zone; plants here will need more water and fertilizer, 2-3 times as much
• if you have wind issues... fences can increase wind and quickly dry out plants

Once you understand the different situations your garden may present over time, you can begin choosing the plants that will flourish with you over time. Strive for a low maintenance gardening experience by installing plants that mature slow and fill in over time. Do not over plant! Space out for growth.

Adding plants like Butterfly Bush, Spirea or Knock Out Rose not only greatly increase seasonal color but also helps keep your landscape more manageable because these plants are cut back or rejuvenated every spring, reducing clutter.

I recommend shrubs and perennials that do not  exceed 4-5 feet tall/ 3-4 feet wide and trees no taller than 15 feet. I also avoid any quick growing shrubs, (i.e. Manhattan Euonymus, Privet) that will involve any type of maintenance pruning during the season.

The plantings below are mostly insect and disease free, require very little moisture once established and need very little maintenance during the year. All will bring years of enjoyment to you and your garden when placed in the environment mentioned.

Plants for full sun - afternoon sun or hot sun:
• Red Twig Dogwood
• Knockout Rose
• Barberry Crimson Pygmy
• Boxwood Winter Gem
• Butterfly Bush
• Dwarf Burford Holly
• Hoogendorn Holly
• Nandina
• Repanden Yew
• Lavender
• Nepeta or Catmint
• Liriope
• Calamagrastis Ornamental Grasses
• Pennesetum Ornamental Grasses
• Itea
• Hydrangea Panniculata or Oakleaf
• Sedum
• Clethra - very fragrant
• Coreopsis Zagreb
• Cone Flower-Echinacea
• Perennial Geranium

Plants for morning sun and afternoon shade or cooler sun:

• Acuba
• Astilbe
• Caryopteris- Blue Mist Shrub
• Dwarf Burford Holly
• Hydrangea (Macro Phylla)
• Lilac- Meyer Palbin- fragrant
• Repanden Yew
• Variegated Liriope
• Hosta - some are fragrant
• Gumpo Azalea
• Heuchera
• Nandina
• Heleborus Lenten Rose

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