Garden Center Summer Series, Part II: Choosing the Best Plants for Your Yard

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Summertime is quickly approaching, and many of us are preparing to enjoy the warm weather by hosting barbecues, indulging in summer pool parties, and most likely ending up on the receiving end of a sunburn. When you picture yourself enjoying the summer, what do you see? Maybe you’re spread out in an Adirondack, cocktail in hand, four hot dogs into a slightly regrettable cookout binge? Maybe you’re up and about, socializing with colleagues and neighbors, playing the social butterfly? Or maybe you’re simply enjoying a summer morning, sipping a tea or latte, and spying on birds visiting your bird feeder? In each of these situations, how does your yard look? Is it a hot, burned wasteland with browned grass? Are there heat waves lazily drifting across your vision? Or, is your backyard a lush oasis, full of vibrant, fragrant blossoms, that endlessly impresses your family and friends? If you’re like us, you probably imagined the backyard you want to have, not the backyard you might have right now! Lucky for you, we’re here to give you some expert gardening tips that will transform your backyard space into a gorgeous, peaceful sanctuary where you can relax, entertain, and enjoy the warm weather.

This week in our gardening series, we’re giving you a step by step breakdown on how to choose the best plants for your yard. Though it’s tempting to run to your nearest Jungle Jim’s and buy the prettiest plants you can find (which is all of our plants here!), the reality is that this does not work! The most successful gardeners plan ahead, consider the terrain they’re working with, and account for their plants needs! Keep scrolling for sure-fire ways to make the most of your backyard.

  1. First, don’t, under any circumstances, go into your gardening project blind! You need to plan ahead like you’re playing Risk with the winner of the World Chess Championship. Well, maybe you don’t have to be that serious, but you get our point. Planning ahead is an essential element of gardening. Draw it out, make a list, just make sure to think ahead and consider each of the important points we’re about to bring up!
  2. Think about the terrain of your yard and consider slopes, hills, and valleys. This may seem obvious, but if you’re excited to start gardening, it’s easy to stop into the Greenhouse on a whim while you’re doing your regular grocery shopping. One thing leads to another, you leave with a cart full of plants only to get home and realize that the plants you’ve chosen aren’t hardy enough to survive in your backyard. Avoid this mistake by doing the research first. If you have a yard with lots of slopes or small hills, chose low-lying shrubs and hardy plants that can withstand heavy rain and winds, like golden St. John’s wort or sumac. If your yard tends to flood with heavy rain, try planting foxglove or marsh marigold.
  3. How much water or sunlight do your favorite plants need? How much space? Are they climbing plants or do they need room to spread? These are important questions and you must know the answers while planning your garden. Here are some tips to keep in mind when considering plant needs. First, make sure to put tall plants in the back! For example, if you have a flower bed nestled against the side of your house, make sure that tall flowers and plants that grow high are in the back against the side of the house or shed. That way, you can see and enjoy all of your flowers and the taller varieties won’t block out light for the other plants. Secondly, consider the water needs of each plant. For example, you would never plant cactuses next to cattails! That’s an extreme example, but you get the point. Some plants thrive on water, some can live without it. Don’t plant these types together.

Some of what we’ve said above may seem simple, but both novices and professionals know the importance of planning ahead, considering the eccentricities of your yard, and accounting for plants’ needs. Plenty of us have been shocked and dismayed to find that our plants aren’t thriving or our garden has grown out of our control! But follow our tips and your garden is sure to grow into a beautiful backyard paradise. That’s all for now, we’ll see you next time for the next installment in our summer gardening series!

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