Are you new to gardening? Or is it time to refresh a landscape that you planted years ago? In either case I highly recommend that you read Right Plant, Right Place by Nicola Ferguson. It’s the ultimate guide to low maintenance gardening.
This book was originally published in the early 1980s and quickly became a classic. It was extensively updated in 2005 and is now subtitled “Over 1400 Plants for Every Situation in the Garden.” The best feature of this book is that plants are organized by several criteria:
growing conditions (acid soil, heavy clay soil, dry soil in sunny sites, dry shade, and others),
purpose (ground cover, climbers, hedges, fillers for crevices in paving, containers), and
appearance (leaf color, fragrant flowers, ornamental fruit, long blooming period, and so forth).
This will save you a great deal of time when you’re planning your garden. If you’re looking for something to plant in dry shade you can go to that section of the book rather than consulting a huge list of plants and trying to find the ones suitable for that condition (and hoping you didn’t overlook a good candidate). You’ll also save money by checking on the suitability of a plant before buying it.
The lists are extensive and very detailed. You’re sure to find the perfect plant for even the most difficult location. Each plant description includes a color photograph, size, flowering season, needs, and care.
Matching the needs of a plant with the place where it will be planted is the heart of low maintenance gardening. All plants naturally thrive when they’re growing in their ideal conditions and hence need far fewer interventions from the gardener.
20 years ago this was my favorite gardening book but I must confess that I later became distracted by the latest must-have plants displayed at the nursery or advertised in catalogs. I now have plants that have failed altogether or require far too much work and attention from me. It’s time for me to refresh my garden and replace the high-maintenance beauties with equally lovely plants that are better adapted to the environment in my yard. I’m very grateful to have rediscovered Right Plant, Right Place. If you’re new to gardening this comprehensive book is all that you need to get off to a good start.
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