By Jodi Torpey
“Right plant, right place” is the gardening mantra that’s kept me grounded for years.
Repeating those four words during planting season has prevented all kinds of gardening mistakes. I only wish I would’ve known that before planting the hardy climbing rose on the patio arbor. Those long, prickly canes require annual pruning to help contain the plant’s rambling nature.
That’s why we lovingly refer to it as The Rose Monster.
A bigger landscaping mistake gardeners often make is planting the right tree in the wrong place. That pint-size conifer looks adorable by the front porch right now, but plan on using a different entrance once it grows to full size.
Plants can’t overcome their genetics, so gardeners need to read—and believe—plant tags. If the tree’s mature size is described as 40 to 50 feet tall, plant it in a parklike setting or find a smaller tree. Fortunately, many dwarf versions of popular trees are available.
The idea of "right plant, right place" worked when I searched for perennials that would thrive in the hottest, driest corner of the backyard. Those four words meant matching plants with similar needs for sun, soil, moisture, and rock mulch. The right plants for this space include Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint, Echium amoenum ‘Red Feathers’ , Solidago ‘Peter Pan’, and assorted hardy groundcovers.
Planting in the right place pertains to annuals too. After frying many flowering plants I realized that "full sun" in the mountain region may be too much for plants unaccustomed to growing with low humidity at higher elevations.
Now I know the perfect spot for a pot of ‘Dragon Wing’ begonias is on the patio, where it gets early-morning sun, and then shade the rest of the day.
I’ve also used the “right plant, right place” idea when choosing plants to create a specific look. A white picket fence frames my cottage garden, so it had to have old-fashioned favorite flowers such as hollyhocks, shrub roses, lavenders, and sunflowers.
Do you have a mantra that helps you avoid making mistakes in your garden? Please share it here.
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