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Plant Perennials So They Look Natural

One of the most common mistakes we all make at one time or another is by not planning out what we are going to do in our perennial garden.

Here is what often happens:

There you are at the nursery or a home improvement center and you see a gorgeous perennial, that just happens to be in full flower (funny how the nurseries can do that isn't it?). You're hooked by its color, flower size or some other wonderful feature, so you buy the plant, take it home, and plant it out. Mission accomplished, right? Well, not quite.

By not taking a moment and thinking about how that one solitary plant is going to work with what you already have, that plant is going to stand out like a sore thumb, not blend well, and just look odd.

Here's how to avoid the problem:

Plant Perennials So They Look Natural - Plant in Groups

Most small and medium sized perennial plants look their best when planted in groups of three or more of the same kind. Planting just one of each, does not give you any impact and can make your perennial garden look rather hodgepodge.

For more natural looking arrangements, stagger the plants within in each group and try not to line them up in rows. That is just too regimented and nature would never grow like that.

Larger perennials can be planted individually, but if you have a large border that has enough space to accommodate groupings, then do so.

Examples of large perennials would be:

False Indigo (Baptisia)
Baby's Breath (Gypsophila paniculata)
New Zealand Flax (Phormium)
Eulalia Grass (Miscanthus sinensis)

Repeat The Groupings

Another thing to do, in addition to grouping by plant size, color, and texture, is to make sure to repeat your plantings more than once.

Repetition in several places in the garden not only helps unify the composition, but it draws the eye through the garden, giving it a more natural appearance.

This can be done by planting three or four large specimens at intervals, or repeating groupings of the same plant.

Here is a Simple Perennial Garden Design to Help You Get Started

To solidify the above information into something useful for you, here is a perennial garden design that is for full sun, grouping plants together that have warm colored flowers such as orange, red, and yellow.

Notice we have also grouped plants together in masses , and used

repetition, to give it a more natural look, as if it has been there forever.

Plant List

A. Achillea 'Rodney's Choice' - Yarrow (1)
B. Achillea tomentosa - Woolly yarrow (1)
C. Calamagrostis x acutiflora - Feather reed grass (2)
D. Carex elata 'Aurea' - Golden sedge (4)
E. Clematis tangutica - Golden clematis vine (2)
F. Coreopsis grandilfora 'Early Sunrise' (3)
G. Euphorbia x martinii (3)
H. Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Goblin' (5)
I. Geum chiloense 'Bradshaw' (5)
J. Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty' (2)
K. Hemerocallis 'Stella de Oro' - Daylily (3)
L. Hemerocallis 'Flasher' (5)
M. Hemerocallis 'Red Rim' (3)
N. Imperata cylindrica 'Rubra' (7)
O. Lobelia cardinalis (1)
P. Penstemon x gloxinoides 'Firebird' (3)
Q. Penstemon x gloxinoides 'Burgandy Red' (3)
R. Rheum palmatum - Ornamental rhubarb (2)
S. Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' (3)
T. Thymus x citriodorus (7)

Professional Tip: You can also group plants together that only have cool colors, like blue, white, lavender, and pink. It's up to you; get as creative with this as you want. That's what's so fun about it.

Professional Tip: Next time you see a perennial garden that really catches your eye, look to see how they grouped the plants, and how often they repeated those groups. You can learn so much by just observing what others have done.


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Planting Depth

As a general rule, most bulbs are planted at a depth that is equal to 3 times their diameter at their widest point.

Tulips like to be planted about 6 inches (15.2 cm) deep and 4-6 inches (10.2-15.2 cm) apart.

Always plant bulbs as soon as possible after purchase to prevent them from drying out.

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