Picking the Perfect Place for Plants

The secret to growing the perfect garden is neither luck nor a green thumb. Rather, putting the right plant in the right place is the one underlying rule for planting success. Plants will thrive in locations that provide proper light, soil, nutrients, drainage, moisture and protection. Here are a few tips:

Map It Out
Just as you wouldn't jump head-first into remodeling a room, take the same care when designing your garden. Surf the Web, read books and consult magazines for inspiration. Draw a detailed map of your gardening space, laying out planting locations first and noting particular conditions like sunny and shady spots, drainage issues, and measurements of the area.

Consult Experts
Good gardeners rely on expert advice. Visit your local hardware store or nursery and ask the experts to guide you in planning the garden. Show them the map of your site, and inquire about plants that will naturally thrive in your site's specific conditions.

Don't Buy on a Whim
Resist the temptation to buy plants before you discover what types will grow successfully in your garden. Most plants have a "tag" that describes their specific needs. Be sure you know a plant's mature height and width; if it is "hardy" in your climate zone; how much sunlight it needs; and what type of soil and drainage it requires. Above all, know your soil pH, as this is a significant factor in the health of your plants.

Don't Let Invasive Plants Take Over
Some plants can actually "invade" your garden, creating unfavorable growth conditions for the other plants. If you're a beginner, find out which plants may harm, rather than help, your garden and be prepared to combat them.

Get Creative
Once you know all the basics, turn your creative side loose. Have fun picking out colors, sizes, shapes and textures of plants. Remember that what you select will create an overall mood and theme to your garden. If you want a vibrant, lush look, go for warm and bright colors and plants that bloom big. If a more serene, peaceful look is your preference, opt for cool color patterns, and small and dainty blooms.

Follow these simple tips and your garden will be on its way to "full bloom." And remember, if you have home improvement questions and need a little advice, send me an email at asklou@acehardware.com - I'd be glad to help!

-Lou's Tool Box