Gardener's Grapevine 2016.03.23


This coming week I will be having surgery to fix some issues with one of my knees. I know that should hinder my gardening, but I am a pretty determined person, so I think not. It might slow me down  a bit, but there are many people out there missing a limb that do plenty of things others wouldn’t think possible. You do whatever it takes to get where you need to be. Maybe not in a conventional manner, but you invent a new normal.

I know a young lady who wanted to play baseball with other girls her age, but she was born with one and a third arms. Everyone said no way she could do it. Wrong and boo to all the doomsayers. I wrote a column last year about gardening with handicaps, basically anything is possible if you are determined enough.

I’ve been reviewing a few sites with diagrams of perennial garden patterns. If you are not great at matching plants up for what works in a bed, this is a great way to have good success. It gives me ideas to add to what I already have. Most of these diagrams or patterns have a picture of what the mature garden will look like.

The trick to these so called cheat sheets is to make sure that they are for your zone or you may get the opposite of what you desire. The other thing to keep in mind is that these gardens are set up for a purpose such as getting you to visit their site or buy their magazine. Granted, a great looking garden is going to grab most people’s attention, especially if it is made to look super easy to achieve. Some are super easy and give the desired effect, while others spread all over the place.

Prior to purchasing these plants, research them and find out what each will do. Is it a slow grower? A self-seeder? A tuber plant that spreads without heed to it’s neighbors? What light requirements does each plant have? Obviously if they will be sharing the same space they need to share the same needs, such as light, water and soil.

Some of the diagrams for these gardens are not consistent. You can’t mix shade plants with full sunlight plants, because it just isn’t going to work. So just do your homework prior to hitting the nursery.

Also, have you ever ordered from an online gardening site for your plants? I have several that I like and use when there is a plant I just can’t find or one that I want an abundance of. It is easier for these suppliers to have what you want versus a small local nursery. Mail order companies cater to the masses, not just the local market, therefore they can carry a wide array of specimens instead of what is most popular.

I also like the fact that they ship the plants when it is time for them to be planted, not when you order them. This ensures that they can go right in the ground and have a greater chance for survival. Most of these plants also arrive with an instruction sheet for planting and care.

The garden suppliers are really starting to push their catalogs right now, both online and in the mail. Now is the time to pick out those new accent plants. Just don’t forget to check and see if they play well with others. Web browsing is the best way I know to get ideas.