Sunday 17th December, 2006


Plants make the garden

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This well designed garden bed has the tallest plants to the rear, followed by the medium sized and then the lowest in the front.

Selecting plants is an integral part of creating your garden. Having designed your garden and prepared the beds, your selections will be the next step in the process and this all depends on the type of garden you have in mind.

According to your choice of garden, be it a formal garden setting, a simple cottage garden, a flower garden, a mixed herbaceous garden or any other kind of garden, your selection of plants will vary.

This beautiful Cordyline terminalis and other varieties of cordylines create an impact in a group planting because of the striking variations in their leaf colour, shapes, sizes and textures.

In general, the plants must be sun-tolerant and able to withstand outdoor conditions; and you should know their growth habits eg, are they tall, shrubby or low-growing?

The individual plants and the way you combine them with others are what makes the garden interesting and attractive. They can be grouped with plants with either similar or contrasting, but complementary colours.

Members of the Araceae family (Aroid plants), when adapted to sunny conditions and planted in a group are an attractive sight in a mixed herbaceous bed.

Group planting

I often group members of the same family such as aroids (Araceae), or same genus such as cordyline, because of the striking variations in their leaf colours, sizes, shapes and textures.

Another reason for group planting is to create an impact, which an individual plant may not have. Certain plants, especially annuals such as salvias, should only be planted in this way.

You will also need individual specimen plants that stand out, or even small, flowering trees to serve as focal points. In lieu of plants, you can use ornaments such as birdbaths, garden statuary or even boulders for this purpose.


Before planting, position the main plants and arrange the others around them. This allows you to see exactly where to dig the planting holes and how the finished bed would look.

It is easy to plant at this stage, because the entire bed is made up of loose, freshly mixed soil, so the planting holes need only be big enough to accommodate the root ball of each plant.

A finished garden is always a thing of beauty, and a place for relaxation, recreation, entertainment and, above all, enjoyment.

When placing the plants, remember that the tall ones go to the rear. In front of these will come the medium-sized, followed by the lowest growing plants. Make sure there is sufficient space between plants for easy access throughout the bed.

To finish the beds, outline them with border plants such as small flowering perennials, dwarf ferns or small, clumping foliage plants. Neat edging gives

the bed a finished look and prevents erosion.

Finally, a choice tree or two, and the right amount of garden furniture and ornaments, strategically placed will give the garden its distinctive character.

Statuary is an attention grabbing focal point that adds elegance and interest to a garden.

Now, what do happy gardeners do when their garden has reached this stage? They continue puttering around the garden forever looking for ways to improve it. That’s what keeps them happy.

Regardless of what stage your garden is now at, you and your family can

certainly enjoy it this holiday season.

Have a

happy Christmas!

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