The purpose of the soil in a garden is growing plants. You might wish to be utterly unadventurous, with turf grasses forming a central lawn which is edged with borders and spotted with flower beds. These beds and borders are stuffed with shrubs and bedding plants. You can almost certainly find room for a few Rose bushes and a woody climber or two for your walls of your house. For many the lure of home-grown vegetables is irresistible.

This standard pattern of your suburban garden is slowly changing, flowering shrubs, evergreen ground covers and little trees are rising in popularity, plus the classical herbaceous border is losing its charm.

You might wish to depart from your routine pattern. You will discover folks who devote their front gardens to alpines and bulbs, others create Rose gardens, some generate natural gardens with shrubs and wild flowers, and there is the organized chaos of the cottage garden with its herbs, annuals and old-fashioned perennials.

The choice of plants for you to select from is kind of staggering. The catalogue of a seed nurseryman contains hundreds of varieties, the list of a general nurseryman is even more incomprehensible with all of its shrubs, trees, climbers, herbaceous border plants, alpines, and so forth. A leisurely walk around a modern garden centre is a most satisfying encounter which was denied to our ancestors, but it is also a bewildering job when the idea is to choose a quantity of plants that will be right for your garden.

You might think the selection is up to you. It is simply a matter of liking the image in the catalogue or the specimen in the garden centre. Well, no it isn’t – there are a number of factors which have to be considered if you don’t want to waste a lot of time and money, and some of these factors are outside of your control.

Follow the step-by-step guide below so as to make sure the plants you want to grow will thrive in your garden. You need the right plant from the right supplier.

Step 1. Do you want a lasting feature or a short-term display? Trees and shrubs are used to establish the permanent living skeleton of your garden. Hardy perennials will survive in your garden for many years, but they do die down in the winter. Annuals are for temporary display only. Do you want a labour-saving plant? Herbaceous perennials and ‘hobby plants’ such as Dahlias and Chrysathemums entail a lot more work – staking, feeding, dead-heading, dividing etc. Most shrubs and trees require just a little yearly maintenance, but well-timed pruning might be a requirement. If want leaves to stay over winter? Choose evergreen, however is not always the perfect plant to grow. A Garden filled with evergreens can look boring and monotonous – deciduous plants add an extra dimension with fresh leaves opening in the spring and changing colours in autumn.

Step 2. Choose the correct plant type. What shape and size would be suitable? One of the commonest mistakes in gardening is to buy a plant which at maturity is way too large for the space available. Cutting back every year means that both natural beauty and floral display can be lost. Always check the expected height before purchasing. What will the growing environment be like? Check if the plant has clear-cut requirements regarding sunshine, temperature, soil, lime tolerance, drainage and soil moisture. Some plants are remarkably tolerant of extreme climatic and soil conditions, others are not. Nearly all annuals will need full sun, rockery perennials need good drainage and Pieris, rhododendron, Camellia, Calluna and Pernettya hate lime.

Step 3. Is money your main consideration? Seed purchased in packets or saved out of your own plants is easier on the pocket, but it may take years to raise a shrub or herbaceous perennial by this method. Rooted cuttings taken from plants in the garden are another economical source of plant material. If simplicity is the primary factor, containers have revolutionized planting out. Just choose a container grown specimen at any time of the year, dig a hole in your garden and pop it in. But containers are not quite that simple, but they are surely probably the most convenient and ‘instant’ of all plant materials.

Step 4. As a general rule you get what you pay for, but this does not mean that there is a ‘best’ supplier for all circumstances. A ‘bargain offer’ from a mail order nursery might be the correct choice if you are short of money and have a big space to fill with common, garden shrubs, but in many cases it is preferable to look at what you are purchasing beforehand, and it is always wise to search out a supplier with a reliable reputation.

I enjoy writing about my work, specifically the DIY projects I carry out around my home.

A fantastic amount of my time is spent in my garden, but as I am getting older and things have become harder to do. I have decided to use a company called Gardener London. Up to now they have given me all the help and advice that I have asked for. I still do a bit of pottering around my own garden.

shrubs shaped like critters
By miki on 2005-04-23 06:05:29
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How to Design a Perennial Garden : How to Plant Shrubs in a Perennial Garden

Shrubs in a perennial garden offer balance and contrast to the brightly colored flowers and foliage. Learn how to plant shrubs in a garden of perennial plants and flowers with help from an experienced gardener in this free video on growing perennials.

Expert: Martha Cycz
Bio: Martha Cycz has been a perennial backyard gardener for more than 20 years.