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Choose the right plant

by Tom Fischer on June 8, 2010

in Gardening

“For many gardeners, buying plants is an addiction like a sweet tooth. We cannot stop at just one, and we are always on the lookout for our next tasty treat.”

A nugget of wisdom from authors Stephanie Cohen and Jennifer Benner. (No word on whether they have learned how to control the plant sweet tooth!)

When it comes to plant selection and location, Cohen and Benner offer a plethora of suggestions. Here are 6 tips on how to pick the right plants for a year-round mixed garden.

1. Do not fully commit to hardy plants that return yearly. Designate space in your garden for annuals, biennials, and tropicals. This action will give you some shopping trips to look forward to each gardening season.

2. Avoid impulsive plant purchases. They often lead to gardens that look like they were designed with a blender. These gardens have no rhyme or reason, just a whole lot of one of this and one of that.

3. Do not plant in straight rows. Plant in odd numbers and in random configurations. Pick one showy plant as a focal point.

4. Remember that less is more. Planning a minimum of 4 to 6 square feet per plant variety is a good place to start

5. Focus on foliage. Although foliage may seem like a plain Jane when compared to flowers, it is one of the most important features on a plant. Flowers are transient, while leaves can last up to two, three, or four seasons. If a plant has “yuck” foliage right after flowering, as many spring perennials do, it might be best to plant it in your compost pile.Choose plants with leaves that dazzle for at least a portion of the year.

6. Get the most bang for your buck. The best nonstop garden plants are tough and have a lot of character. Ephemeral plants help to round out the mixed border, offering seasonal color when the main attractions are off duty.

As a final note: Cohen and Benner offer many other tips and tricks in their book.  Don’t forget to check out our contest, where you could win a copy of your own!

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