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15. Choosing the Right Plants for Your Garden

You have made the decision to start a flower garden, have chosen the style you want, and now you need to determine which plants are appropriate for your garden look. In making this decision, there are several things to consider. First, you need to determine the hardiness rating for the geographical location in which you live. You can get a chart from any nursery or research by looking on many of the seed packages or bulb packages that you purchase.

Certain plants will do extremely well in humid or arid weather whereas other plants will not. The USDA Hardiness Zone Map takes the country and divides it into regions based on average minimum winter temperature. For example, if you live in USDA Zone 4, which has a minimum winter temperature of greater that 20F, you would want to choose plants rated for Zone 5 or lower. So if you were to choose plants recommended for Zone 6, which specifies greater that 10F, more than likely, you would lose plants due to freezing.

When you are choosing the right plants for winter, you also need to consider what kind of hot summer months your plants and flower will need to endure. Direct sunlight is a major consideration since there are specific plants that cannot tolerate this condition while other plants thrive on the sun. When buying plants, be sure to read the instructions include on the label or on the id stick. Plants that love the sun can be grown in partial shade but you may get fewer blooms or plants that do not grow as strong.

Almost all perennials have a specific time in which they bloom. Some are continuous bloomers but most bloom in early spring or in the fall. So when you start laying out your garden, consider the blooms so you have a nice spread of color. You do not want to plant all your bloomers together and non-bloomers together. Instead, spread them out for splattering of color and add in some brilliantly colored annuals to fill in the gaps.

Annuals are a plant or flower that generally will grow for one year and then will need to be replaced the following year with another plant or flower. There are some annuals that will come up year after year if the winter did not kill them off completely.

Choose flowers and plants that can thrive in the hot or the cold zone that you live in, while considering how much continued work you want to put into your garden by picking perennials or annual flowers and plants.


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