A GROWING CONCERN: A few more elements for right plant, spot

Because your garden should reflect the best aspects of your tastes.

AS WE CONTINUE our discussion on what makes for “right plant in the right spot,” we must always pay attention to its ultimate size, length and width.

Last week, we talked about the big three: soil, light and climate.

Today, let us plow through the fun and artsy conditions that work to ideally put the right plant in the right spot.

4. Texture/habit/character.

To me, the biggest factor in making for the ideal location of a plant is how it grows along with how it looks and then how its shape fits the area it is growing into.

A slender, pyramidal tree is absolutely perfect planted between the windows of a colonial house.

A mixture apple tree is great for people in their upper years of life — no ladder needed to pick the fruit (as opposed to a 22-foot-tall semi-dwarf apple).

Pendulous or weeping trees add mood and movement as the branches defiantly sway in the breeze.

And the texture adds sizzle with thorns, needles, leaves, paper bark or multi-cane to mix up the look.

Always consider the texture, character and growth habit of the plant because vines can be a wild beast (for one example).

5. Color.

This is a big detriment factor for a perfect plant placed just right.

Does it bloom? If so, in how many different colors?

Does it have fall foliage display? If not, why? Select a different cultivar.

Does it contrast with the surroundings or complement the trim of the house.

Is it your favorite color? Color can create themes as well, so I am always looking for the right plants with a “spectrum” of consideration.

7. Theme.

This factor helps tie the whole yard together.

Is it a blue garden. a woodland garden, a wildflower garden or an orchard or vegetable garden?

Native plants, shade garden, perennial or a grove — all these aspects are prime models to use as a theme.

Color as a theme helps bring everything together. A bright red this and a very yellow that spread throughout the whole yard brings it all together.

Use and contemplate color carefully.

8. Special reason.

This is where we really get into the nuances of gardening and where it really puts the “right plant in the right spot.”

I want low-maintenance for my landscaping and yard, as I have other things to do (great special reason).

This factor would greatly influence plant selection and a minimum of grass, flower and fruit trees.

A chef would want a big herb garden, vegetable plot, berries, nuts and fruit trees, and how about an entertainment area, fire pit, pizza oven or an upcoming family wedding?

What are your “special interests”? Hone your plant selections to satisfy them.

9. Special features.

Do I want fragrance or as few as possible bees and hornets flying around?

Should it be deer-, dog- and kid-resistant or feed and shelter wildlife?

Do I want to paint or harvest plants for projects?

Are there memories or moods I am trying to re-create?

Always try to make a list of you and your yard’s “special features.”

10. Just like it.

I was just telling a brand-new client last week to remember: Whatever I say or suggest, what style and sense calls for, what everybody else does, it does not matter.

I (they) do not live here at your yard.

She mentioned how red and purple are her favorite colors, so since that is her wish, I am selecting some plants that are purple with an autumn color that turns red.

I will most always (cannot willfully sentence a plant to death, though) defer to a client’s wishes because that is what they (you) want.

After all, what makes you pleased around your landscape is the ultimate goal.

Peruse your passion and sense of style and desire.

Because you just simply like it is good enough.

Next week: fall foliage.


Andrew May is an ornamental horticulturist who dreams of having Clallam and Jefferson counties nationally recognized as “Flower Peninsula USA.” Send him questions c/o Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or email [email protected] (subject line: Andrew May).

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