We often buy plants on impulse only to find there is nowhere in the garden that really
suits them. Before buying plants examine your garden to see how much sun and shade it
gets, whether the soil is well drained or waterlogged and whether your aspect is
By thinking ahead anyone can create a lovely, and practical, garden retreat
sheltered or windswept. Then you will be prepared to purchase the right shade-loving
plants for the sheltered areas, sun-lovers for the warm spots, drought-resistant plants
for the parched areas, and swamp plants for the poorly-drained parts.
Don’t forget to test your soil before planting. This is to determine the pH level of
your soil and what kind of nutrients you need to add, if any. Most plants prefer soil
that is slightly acidic, but there are some that must have alkaline soil to grow. You
can alter the soil’s pH level or simply plant for the soil you have.
Do you want to plant in groups or singly? If you buy ‘one of everything’ your garden may
seem rather unorganized. Group plantings are a much more harmonious way to garden.
Now that you are prepared to plant, do a test run. Place your chosen plants around the
garden bed in their pots to see how they will look. Re-arrange them until you are
satisfied. Grouping plants in sets of threes or fives usually looks better than planting
in groups of even numbers. Tall plants should go to the back, or the center of your
garden will be viewed equally from all sides. Keep your plants away from trees if
possible. Tree roots are fiercely competitive and will steal all the nutrients and
moisture from your flowers.
The right color scheme is another way to maintain the harmony in your garden. Imagine the
color of the flowers when they are in bloom. Some colors may clash with others, but can
still be planted side-by-side if they have a different blooming season. Foliage color is
also important. Many flower plants have silver, grey or purplish foliage that is just as
attractive as the flower. This means that they are still attractive well past the
blooming season and so have added value.