Rules 8-10 of Garden Catalog Shopping

With site assessment, spacing, sun/shade and other considerations covered in Rules 1-7, it’s time to think about the actual plants in the catalogs.  Rules 8-10 highlight the need for color, accents, textures, massing, repetition, all season color and experimentation in the landscape.

Eight.  Color in all seasons.  Dovetailed on the views rule, looking at only brown stems and grass can get kinda boring in February.  Fortunately, all types of plants with winter interest are available.  Winter features include colorful bark, persistent fruit, evergreen leaves and stems that sway in the wind.

Nine.  Need accent plants AND neutral plants.  Both attention getters and plants that fill in the gaps are needed in a landscape.  If you fill the spaces with plants that all scream  for attention, your eye doesn’t know where to go first, leading to an overwhelming feeling and dissatisfaction.  Choose wisely.

Ten.   Try one new plant.  Hundreds of plants are introduced each year.  Feel free to experiment with something that looks fun and attractive.   If you are leery of a specific plant, look for the AAS (All America Selection) or PW (Proven Winner) logo.  It’s a good place to start.

John Fech
Horticulture Extension Educator at Nebraska Extension
John Fech is a horticulturist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. The author of 2 books and over 200 popular and trade journal articles, he focuses his time on teaching effective landscape maintenance techniques, water conservation, diagnosing turf and ornamental problems and encouraging effective bilingual communication in the green industry. He works extensively with the media to extend the message of landscape sustainability, making over 100 television and radio appearances each year.
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