Right Plant. Right Place.

Life at the garden center. All those innocent looking plants in their little containers seem like such a great idea…you have the perfect spot for them.

Like our client Andy. He headed to the garden center to select plants for a lovely hedge on the side of his property. It was to be the perfect solution to gaining more privacy from foot traffic along the sidewalk. He got a great deal on 21 shrubs that he planted 20 inches apart and 18 inches from the side walk. Pretty purple spring blossoms. What could possibly go wrong?

Plenty actually. The shrub was a sun-loving lilac that matures at 9 feet tall and 8 feet wide. In 5 years or so, the hedge would be sprawling over the sidewalk rendering it impassable. Did we mention the area is in deep shade? No blooms for you!

Lilac Sensation.jpg

My woodworking dad taught me to measure twice and cut once in the workshop. That goes for the garden too. When thinking about a planting, measure the width and depth of the area you want to plant in and approximate the ideal mature height of the plant. Then, consider how much light the area receives: full sun, part sun, full shade. Then, and only then, are you ready to look for the perfect plants.

Key things to look for in plant hunting can be found on the tag. Using Andy’s lilac shrub, here’s what he missed.

Common Name: French Hybrid Lilac Sensation

Scientific Name: Syringa Vulgaris ‘Sensation’

Exposure or Light: Sun to part sun

Height and Width: 9’ x 8’

Hardiness or Zone: 3

This shrub is beautiful. But it will only be beautiful in the garden when properly sited. Unfortunately for Andy, it was the wrong plant and the wrong place.