Post details: The Ultimate Garden Planning Guide - Part 3

02/21/05

Permalink 09:31:15 am, Categories: Articles, 493 words   English (US)

The Ultimate Garden Planning Guide - Part 3


Plain and Simple Plant Advice
Once your soil is up to snuff, you'll be ready to dig in and start selecting plants.

The Right Plant for the Right Spot
When selecting plants, choose varieties that can thrive in your garden's environment.

Just because a plant does well in your neighbor's yard doesn't mean it will be happy in yours. That's because even within your own yard, there can be several microclimates, each with its own unique combination of soil type, sunlight, shade density, moisture, and exposure to the elements.

Here are suggestions for choosing the right plants.

- If you yearn for a plant that hasn't done well in your garden before, ask local garden center experts for a similar one that can adapt better to your garden's conditions. Some varieties tolerate shade, drought, cold, or heat better than others.
- Resist exotic specimens that need coddling. Hardy plants that are native to your area will perform more reliably.
- Avoid spraying by choosing disease-resistant varieties.

Light Requirements
Instead of groaning about limited light in your garden, celebrate the perks of shade: slower-growing weeds, fewer pests, less need to water, and cooler temperatures.

Any area that receives less than six hours of direct sun a day is considered shady.

These categories will help you select the right plants for the shady spots in your garden:

Partial shade. Receives direct sun in the morning or afternoon, or lightly dappled sunlight all day. This is the lightest form of shade in gardens.

Light shade. Receives an hour or two of full sun during the day and supports a wide variety of plants.

Half shade. Shaded for four or five of the brightest daylight hours. Gardens with no direct sun but lots of reflected sunlight also fall in this category.

Full shade. No direct sun. Found under mature trees with large leaves and a dense, wide canopy, such as maples and oaks.

Heavy shade. Deep, cool shadows cast by evergreen trees or tall buildings. Not many plants can grow in heavy shade unless they receive some reflected sunlight.

Budget Wise

Size matters when you're gardening on a budget. Here are five ways to make the most of your money.

Budget Wise- Sow seed in wide drifts to produce a dramatic effect in the long term.
- Plant perennials sold in flats or 2-1/4-inch pots. They cost about one-tenth as much as 1-gallon plants and will catch up in size by the second growing season.
- Include pint-size plants or bare-root stock (available from mail-order nurseries). They will bloom the first season and are large enough to draw the eye, but they are still less expensive.

Budget Wise- Plant a few large container plants of the same variety as your seedlings and smaller plants for showy focal points right away.
- Look for free or deeply discounted plants at end-of-season closeouts. Shop community plant sales and swaps. Take advantage of seeds, cuttings, and root divisions from other gardens.

Better Homes and Gardens

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