What is a successful garden? Do you have a successful garden? I find myself wondering if I have a successful garden. I really love reading gardening magazines, especially those which feature native gardens and talk about birds, ecosystems and regenerative practices. I also enjoy watching ‘Escape To The Country’ which is an English programme featuring not only gorgeous houses but also ‘to die for’ gardens. Maybe this is why I wonder if I have a successful garden………….because I measure up my garden against these designer offerings. Not only are they designer gardens but you can be sure that the shrub which is dying will not feature in the glossy photographs. The plant with the munching caterpillars won’t be there either and nor will the tree blown over in the wind. The garden help are likely not to get a mention and what’s more rain will fall at just the right time to keep everything looking fresh.
The definition of success is ‘the achievement of something that you have been trying to do’. So what is a successful garden? It is a garden that is unique to you and uniquely suited to your purposes. It is a garden that is pleasing to your eyes and to heck with everyone else. If that purpose is to show it off in ‘House and Garden’ or ‘Country Style’ magazine then so be it. You will need to have designer tendencies or employ someone who does and everything will need to be ‘just so’ at all times. If you can do this you will have a successful garden. However if you desire a garden as a place for relaxation, the kids to run and play, birds and bees to find food, and where you can smell the roses, and it serves its purpose then it is a successful garden too.
That is not to say that there are not ways and means of building a garden which is more likely to be pleasing to your eye. Balance, shape, form, colour, repetition, and a cohesive plan are all good things, but if you like a casual collection of plants, or you like neat rows then this is what you should have. Is it pleasing to your eye? Then that is what matters. You don’t need grand statements if you are not a grand statement person and you don’t need to feel you have to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ (or the horticulturist at your local nursery for that matter) in your garden patch.
That being the case the only important decision we each need to make is which plant to choose to fit that spot we have waiting, convince ourselves not to compare ourselves to others, and we’ll all have successful gardens.
A plant label should always include the scientific name but may also include a common name. Each plant has a unique name, which is the same no matter where you are in the world. This means you can be sure of what you are buying (presuming of course that it is labelled correctly). Never rely on a common name. These can be misleading as some common names are given to several different plants (for example ‘Black Eyed Susan’ is the common name for Tetratheca thymifolia, Rudbeckia hirta and Thunbergia alata) and some plants have several different common names.
The scientific or Latin name has two parts. First is the genus followed by the species as in Grevillea juniperina. This is simplified but gives you the gist.
PBR or Plant Breeders Rights
This indicates that the plant has been bred and registered as such through a legal process which gives the breeder the sole right to produce clones of the plant for sale. This is akin to intellectual property rights.
Moderate water means that this plant will not like to go for long without some moisture.
Moist conditions is as it suggests…this plant prefers constant moisture in the soil.
Well drained soils. This can be ascertained by digging a hole (where you want to plant) big enough for a bucket of water. If this drains within ten minutes this is well drained soil.
Measured in height by width. Once you have this information you can plan how far apart to plant your plants. Tiny little plants do look very silly planted so far apart but it is good to be disciplined in this regard so that the plants can grow to their full potential. Don’t forget that these measurements are average only. If you give your plants extra food, water and super soil they are likely to be bigger than mine!!!
Hardy means that this plant will withstand freezing temperatures.
Coastal conditions means that this plant can withstand salt spray and coastal winds but does not necessarily mean that it cant also withstand inland heat, dry conditions or frost.
Suggestions on what the plant might be used for such as ‘hedge’, ‘pot plant’, ‘border’ are suggestions only.
LOCAL. Our labels at IDP Nursery additionally note if the plant is local. This is an indication that we have sourced our parent material from local grown indigenous plant stock.
I'm sure you will find plenty more confusing or ambiguous instructions on plant labels. If you have any queries at all we are always happy to answer plant questions. You can contact us via Facebook, email or phone.