Planting Season Series

Planting Season Series

A Plant Inventory
Can you identify all of the plants in your garden?
A plant inventory or stock take of the plants  growing in your garden is a very handy tool to have.  It is especially good to have on file before you start adding, changing or renovating your garden.

What do you need to know about your plants ?
-You will need to understand what the health of the plants are?

-What age are your plants?

-What is their life expectancy?

-How to manage your plants in the long term.

This is a service we can provide for you.

How to do an inventory
Walk around your garden with a note pad and pen, writing a list of the plants you have growing in your garden ideally you could mark them up on a mud map or you could group them in categories like trees, shrubs, perennials, and ground covers.

If you have planted out all the plants in your garden yourself then hopefully you can identify each species and know what their maintenance requirements are.  If you are buying new plants regularly then having a rough sketch of the beds and labeling what plants are in each bed is a worthwhile reference to have.  I would also recommend keeping one of each plant label in a file or box so you can easily reference the exact botanical name and or variety or cultivar if needed.  When you do talk “plants” to other gardeners or in a garden centre then having the ability to know the full botanical name of the plant in question is important as there are many plants in the world that have the same common name.  If it comes to asking questions about one plant or ordering more of the subject plant, then you need to be able to quote the correct name otherwise you may end up with a different plant that has the same common name.

If you have inherited a garden full of plants you can’t identify, then either taking an image or cuttings of the plants in your garden to the local garden centre can be helpful.  You could try using one of the many plant ident APPS that are available.  Alternatively you could employ a horticulturist to do an inventory of all your plants.  Horticulturists  can provide you with a management plan of how to care for those plants. This is a service I provide both onsite or virtually.

Plant Ident Tips

-Ask at your local garden centre – First up if you are taking plant cuttings into a garden centre for identification purposes, always make sure they are secured within a sealed clear plastic bag or container as you don’t want to risk bringing any insects or disease into the garden centre that may infect their plant stock. Alternatively take some photos on you phone to show at garden centre.

-Book a consult with a Horticulturist to visit your garden.

-Send photos to a gardening friend.  You could also take some images of the plant to show a horticulturist.

The images should show

– an overall photo of the plant, a close up of its leaves and or flowers and a close up of its trunk and or bark.  Ideally if you can provide some additional information such as if the plant is evergreen or deciduous, what colour the flowers are if not photographed, an approximate size it is in your garden and other distinguishing features you may have noticed for example does it have any fruit?

An interesting fact …..
Did you know to correctly identify many Eucalyptus species you will need to see the overall tree, its trunk, its bark, its habit or growth form, a few leaves ideally still hanging on a branch, its gum nuts and sometimes even the colour of its flowers.

Tips for Gardeners with Bare Earth
If you do have a new house block where the builders have just left bare soil around the house, I would suggest installing some form of coverage close to the house in the short term to prevent dust and weed growth. Whilst you make plans for the garden area or have a landscape plan drawn up.  The most cost-effective way of doing this is to lay rolls of turf or spread some grass seed.  The key to establishing turf is to ensure you have removed all weeds, level/grade out the soil, spread some organic matter, and then keep the turf or seeds well-watered as they begin to grow.  This vegetation cover can be a short-term solution whilst you are getting to know your garden space, working out a design and sourcing plants.  The timing of laying the lawn or seed will also be determined by the season and the species of grass you are wanting to establish.

If you do have areas you know will be garden beds then I would remove all weeds, start building up the soil with compost and organic matter then spread a layer of mulch over the top. This will mean you can start planting as soon as you source your plants and the weather cools down.

My Top 7 Recommendations for Plant Selection
Plant selection for a garden is like creating a recipe for the perfect cake or like devising a formula in maths to solve a problem. My top 7 recommendations for the bulk of your planting palette are these;

-Select plants that are tried and trusted for your area.  These are the ones that will be drought and frost tolerant. This doesn’t mean you can’t plant anything unusual I would just say trial those other plants maybe don’t make them the main feature plants.

-Select plants for the interest they will provide in the garden – don’t just select plants because of their flowers.  I would always look at the foliage of the plant to see what their leaves look like together.  Their foliage shape, size, texture and colour are the key. It is also the habit or form they will grow to that needs to be considered.  Trying to have a mix of these is important.

-Have a combination of deciduous and evergreen

-Look at the flowering times so you can have flowers throughout the year

-Include plants that will support your local wildlife

-Mass plantings using a minimal number of species but in greater numbers. If I do a mass planting of plants, I tend to plant in odd numbers – so the one plant would be planted singularly or in groups of 3 or 5.  This is with the aim that in time the spaces in the bed will be filled in with blocks or sections of the one plant – this will have a greater impact. Another advantage of mass planting is that with a limited number of species the garden maintenance should be easier as you are only dealing with the requirements of a few species.

-Repetition – re using similar planting styles will give you a cohesiveness to your design.

Glenice Buck