Saturday, February 25, 2012

Diary Feb 25/2012 - Avoid mistakes at the Nursery

Soon, very soon, it will be time to make one of your many trips to the local nurseries to buy wonderful new plants for the garden. Oh! How easy it is to get carried away there! Everything looks so colourful, so lush, so "plantable" - you feel you could buy the whole place out!! But remember - gardening is an expensive hobby to begin with. There's no need to wipe out your total monthly budget!! Here are a few pointers for shopping at the garden centre.
1. When buying perennials, buy spring blooming plants in the fall and fall blooming plants in the spring. (Did I just write that correctly? Yes, I did.) This gives the perennials a chance to establish good root systems before blooming. Now, with annuals, you certainly can buy open flower plants but sometimes it's better to buy ones with tight buds. You'll get a longer "show" if they are not already spent when you plant them.

2. Check the plant for (a) spots (b) insects (c) mildew (d) or excessive dryness and wilt. Don't feel you need to rescue a plant - buy a plant with strong, multiple leaves, sturdy stalks and signs of new growth.

3. Even though I said not to blow the budget in the garden centre, be careful that you aren't too stingy either. Many times gardeners only buy one or maybe 2 plants of a single variety. Instead, think the way landscape designers think: plant a mass of one type of plant and colour. You will make a design statement which will be worth the extra cash spent.

4. Check that the plant is not root bound by turning the pot almost upside down. If there's a mass of roots coming out of the holes, it may be weak already. Choose plants with moist soil that lift out easily out of the pot.

5. Stick to your shopping list!! Impulse buying can be expensive and impractical.

6. Don't buy a perennial or shrub without an identifying tag. Tags contain a lot of important information that can help you place your new"baby" in a spot where the conditions suit it best. Also it helps you avoid buying a plant that grows much larger than expected!!

7. Keep your receipts!! Many nurseries offer a one year guarantee, so if your plant fails to survive, you can very often get a replacement if you have a receipt.

8. Buy as many plants as you can place in a specific amount of time. If you buy too many flats and can't plant them fast enough, they may dry out and die.

9. Buy trees and shrubs that are native to your country and area. Sure, sometimes it's fun to go "beyond your zone" and experiment with a plant that needs warmer conditions but in general plants that are used to your climate will do better in the long run.

Keep these tips in mind and you will have PLENTY of money left over for all the other stuff: fertilizer, manure, mulch, new tools, gloves that always wear out in the middle of the season, etc. etc.etc.


Alistair said...

So many good points Astrid. Here in the UK the garden centres tempt us with half hardy annuals in March and April. Its not everyone who knows that you should wait until the danger of frost has passed before planting them out.

Astrid said...

Hi Alistair! Nice to hear from you.
I did write this early, considering Canadians, i.e. those from Ontario don't really start hitting the garden centres until late April but even then, it's usually too cold (and risky) to plant annuals until late May. But it's hard not to get carried away, isn't it?

debsgarden said...

Great advice I could give myself! Unfortunately, I don't always adhere to your good pointers. I am the WORST at being drawn into a plant rescue, and I am guilty of an impulse buy or two. I try to be good, but my husband and my budget both confirm trying and doing are two different things!

Astrid said...

Deb - that's hilarious!
I know I sound extremely practical in the actual blog but you're right, in reality, I'm no different than you :)
I think what happens at the nursery should stay at the nursery
Thx for your comment - really enjoyed it!

Nadezda said...

you writes about me!
In's very easy to buy some plants and then ...Oh, Oh, it failed!
Your post is very useful.
Thanks for visiting my blog with "The fantastic Landscape"

sadiya afrin said...

I am Sadiya.You are absolutely right Shirley. Renovating or landscaping can be really difficult or messy at times. That is why I am going to hire a consultant for this purpose because I don't want to end up like the guy in the picture.

please follow this link