For one thing, soils and climates are different, and plants, trees and shrubs react different in various areas of the country than what and where it is photographed. They might have used an area high in acidic soil, and the garden area you are interested in using has low acid soil, or it may be rocky or have lots of clay. It may be exposed to harsh road conditions such as snowplows, sand or ice in the winter. All in all, those photos and diagrams look great on paper and in photos, but don't set yourself up for failure. I've tried that a few times and even ordered the exact number and cultivar of plants only to have it fail on me. Now, I might refer to a diagram, but it's my diagram. A diagram that I created AFTER I planted my plants and it shows what is coming up and where. Then, I know if specific plants have failed to make an appearance.
Another problem with suggestions from magazines (other than the fact that I'm sure some of them are staged) is that some of the plants might not be suitable to your hardiness zone. Or even if it says they are that doesn't necessarily mean that they will thrive in your area or garden conditions. I know from past experience that it's not worth fighting with a plant to try to get it to survive in a certain area. An example of this is that I just love the scabiosas (pincushion flowers) and gaura, and have planted both of them several times in different areas on our property only to have them disappear the following spring. I guess if I want the scabiosas I'll just have to consider them an annual. And as far as the gauras are concerned, in certain areas of the country some species are considered noxious weeds. So sometimes garden failures like these are blessings in disguises.
|The robin on her nest is pretty well camouflaged.|
A lot of my plantings are just hit & miss. Either it's a hit and I love it and it is not too invasive, or it's a miss and it has missed out on having a happy place in my garden. I've lost a lot of different varieties of shrubs and perennials for different reasons over the years, but you just move on and try something else.
One of my fellow gardening bloggers, Donna Abel Donabella, recently wrote a beautiful post on 'personal failure'. She writes beautifully and from the heart. She is very knowledgeable on wildflowers and a variety of other gardening subjects. Here is a link to one of her recent articles on Doubling My Rate of Failure which I'm sure you will find very insightful.
|A lovely spring scene from our friends' garden, Jan and Jim Tighe|
"I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying."
Also, I've read where cocoa shells is a great mulch to keep deer out of your garden, but the downside to this mulch is that it can be toxic to pets. On a side note, my father-in-law used to use this mulch and while I absolutely love any form of chocolate (my family can all attest to that), I could not stand the smell of the cocoa mulch, especially on a very hot and humid day.
|Fiddle heads (from emerging ferns)|
Some landfills offer free mulch. If you are interested in getting some check with your county landfills to see if they offer it and what the requirements are. You probably have to have your own vehicle to transport it, and they may or may not load it for you. If you do get mulch from your local landfill be careful because sometimes there might be a lot of weed seeds in it or even poison ivy that has been mulched. We have used this mulch in the past for our paths through the ground ivy in our back yard.
Avoid using new sawdust. Sawdust should be seasoned at least one year before it is used otherwise it will take nitrogen out of the ground around your plants and nothing will grow. It takes quite awhile for sawdust to break down. And some sawdust, like from walnut wood shavings, is toxic to plants. Sawdust is better used in composting as "brown" material.
Another type of mulch is stones. There are different types and color of stones. If you use this type of mulch you will have to consider what type of plants you are using it around. You will not want to use it with plants that will need frequent dividing or where you like to plant annuals every year. The stone mulch will attract heat from the sun, and will dry out your soil. So if you have heat loving plants that like dry soils you're ok, but otherwise. . . you probably will want to consider some other type of mulch.
Here is a lovely 2:30 minute video on YouTube on The Beauty of Flowers by Vladimir Vorobyov. (Click on the arrow in the middle of the photo below to view it)
#Gardening #Mulch #Nature #Photography #Blogger #SpringFlowers
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