As gardeners, we all enjoy finding a new treasure, buying it and bringing it home to plant in our most favored spot in the garden. If you think about the cultural needs of that plant before you buy, or better yet, a master plan (idea) of how you want your landscape to look when finished, you will be very pleased with any purchase and have little worry about it not surviving and doing well with you. Several design factors are considered here. I know some people are intimidated by the mere mention of the words design and planning, but you need not be. It is as simple and casual as defining your likes, then thinking about them as they relate to your garden space. Of course, some of us have that flare for color, texture, and overall combinations to achieve that memorable effect, but this is easy once you just be patient with yourself and try plant combinations (just move one container plant next to another that you like and see how they both look together in close quarters.) You can expand that simple action to the overall garden landscape and you will find it more enjoyable than daunting. All those considerations like when a plant blooms, fragrance, fruiting characteristics, foliage colors and textures will not seem such a big thing to deal with if you just place one plant next to another. This simple action also can lead to much more dramatic landscapes if you use MANY plants of one type together for a bold display. Think of a simple thing, daffodils. Now if you plant one it is nice, but looks skimpy, if you plant 1/2 dozen it looks better, especially if planted in a clump instead of a small row(that looks poor), and then if you plant a dozen or dozens of them, Now you have a big display and an eye catching planting. The same principle applies to all plants. One is not enough, a few will catch the eye, but many give a bold, dramatic impression! This design technique can be applied to any theme, formal to informal, eclectic to more traditional. You can even go with a tropical theme or the dignified appearance of conifers or bold effects of large foliages. Green is the basic backround color, then think of blues, the color of the sky, also a backround color. All other colors can give pause in the garden. They can be used to draw attention or hide/screen an unattractive view. If you plan where you want to have things, your final landscape will look more ‘finished’ than one which has not had this consideration. Many designers think of ourdoor spaces as ‘rooms’ and when thought of as such, it becomes much easier to coordinate any thing you do…. colors, textures, branches/trunks, fragrances, etc. if you add hardscape like paths, steps, sitting furniture, water features, lighting, the effects can be dramatic. And if you are aware of how those features affect your plantings, and work together, you can achieve great memorable effects to ‘wow’ your visitors, or provide that tranquil niche for your own personal enjoyment.
The world of plants is vast. You can be drought tolerant, and sun or shade, or water loving, or alpine, the freedom of choice depends on you. And when you decide on that, your plant selections will be much easier, as you will just be fitting something into your garden ‘theme’ and it will look natural there as well.
Now in the late summer/early fall we have the grace of many flowers and foliages to give us pleasure. Abutilons, roses, many perennials and annuals, bulbs, fruits on trees, and the vast variety of foliages are to be enjoyed now. You can choose from sun/heat loving cacti and succulents to ferns with lush foliages. Shady plantings can offer the lushness of Japanese maples with hostas, ferns, hydrangeas(the ones for shade). There is great variety from which to choose and ENJOY. I particularly like the bush clovers (Lespedeza spp. and cvs. of L. thunbergii ) as well as Indigofera incarnata(I. decora) in pink or white, looking like a miniature wisteria bush!
There are early chrysanthemums, and many daisy flowers(composites), Asters, shasta daisy, helenium, helianthemum, coreopsis, rudbeckia, echinacea, and so on, from which to choose. The Fall anemones, meadow rue(thalictrum), aconitum (monkshood) are some of the others in the great ranunculus family which can add color to foundation plantings.
I usually prefer some woody plants to give structure to the garden. Trees and shrubs offer a permanence to any landscape and seasonal changes. The herbaceous plants give additional interest to that backround foilDon’t over look berries for the garden as well. Ornamental fruits, berries, and seed pods can all be showy/interesting for the garden landscape. They can also be used as cuts for the vase, providing line material that you cannot buy (cheaply) from the florist.
To begin, peruse magazines, pictures of gardens you like, then take pen/pencil in hand and sketch out on paper the dimensions of your planned space. Then it becomes easy to see how your space will work with the needs you wish to have addressed.(this is simply jotting down how you want to use the space), and what views, to enhance or screen off. And now you have your basic ‘room’ of outdoor space to plan and plant with your favorites! A garden is everchanging and as things grow you may love them, or decide to change them out, or trim them back, up, etc. And that enjoyment of YOUR garden is so refreshing to the soul, rejuvenating your energy. Those rewards of gardening are priceless. Come to see many interesting and unusual plants at the nursery to enhance your garden! I like low maintenance and easy care, as well as superior plant choices. There are time tested wonderfully proven plants as well as a sampling of the newest things. All plants have something to offer, but I choose from among the better selections, after all, who wants a garden planted with the same things as your neighbor(as when often happens from those that frequent to big box stores). We all have in the budget a ‘special’ purchase for the garden, be it for ourselves or as a gifted item. That ‘certain special plant’ that we can splurge on just once and have it for our lifetime.