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Camilla Care

Column Garden Guy: Think before you buy

Vaseline 4 weeks ago

Although we have just passed our average last freeze date, the warm winter and good weather we have had has pushed us to buy and plant. I’m as big of an impulse buyer of plants as anyone, so the thoughts I’m about to express are sometimes rehearsed and sometimes not.

Everything looks good in the spring. “Any damn fool can have a garden in April and May. It separates the men from the boys when you have an interesting place in August. Allen C. Haskell. Take some time in July and August to think about your gardens. What colors are needed? Are there areas that need new or different planting? Why? What might suit that place better?

When you go to the nurseries and garden centers in the spring, most plants are in bloom. Do they bloom in July and August? We must be careful when we buy to avoid having color for only one or two seasons. All you have to do is read about the plant, think about the flowering time and buy the plants that meet your specific needs. This information is often on the label of the plant. If not, search online for reliable information.

Don’t just look at the plants with beautiful flowers. Look for plants that are not in bloom, with the same idea of ​​when they will bloom and for how long. Many plants that only bloom in warm weather will not catch your eye unless you are looking for them. Also consider plants that only have foliage; not everything has to bloom.

Who doesn’t remember last year’s weather? Spring has given us an abundance of rain. But that was an extremely unusual and rare event and we have to think about the needs of our plants in normal weather. Should some plants be replaced with more drought-tolerant plants? Gardeners hate to admit that something isn’t working the way they wanted. I’m one of those people and I don’t feel like removing plants while they’re still alive. But that’s exactly what we need to do if we want something to do well without requiring a lot of extra attention, work, and probably expense.

I’m not suggesting that we view every purchase solely through the lens of sustainability and thrift. Spontaneity, serendipity and experimentation are some of the joys of gardening. But the heavy burden of our gardens must be borne by things that look good through the seasons, without the need for much extra help, water or other special needs and with the environment and sustainability in mind.

Knowledge builds on knowledge. If you focus on the things you need or want to change and if you look at plants a little more closely, you will find that it becomes easier and easier to find the right plants to put in the right place. A little attention to detail ensures that you have beautiful gardens in all seasons. “Action without thinking is like shooting without a target.” Proverb.