There’s a plant for every purpose!
I love working with plants. I wish every job we did was planting and pruning. But landscaping in America involves patios, pergolas and walls. That’s OK, the “hardscape” is very exciting. For many people, it’s the essence of their “garden”. But we can accomplish a lot of good with plants alone such as screening, shading, groundcovering and color. In a nutshell, plants properly used can provide a comfortable, functional, attractive environment for a minimal investment.
The Europeans are very aware of the importance and benefits of plant materials. I once translated a book called “A Pocket Guide to Choosing Woody Ornamentals” from German to English. It is a series of plant lists of hundreds of possibilities for various situations such as wet sites, poor soil, excessive shade, etc. I also once worked at a nursery in England that grew over 14,000 different species and varieties of trees and shrubs! Think about that for a minute. And you thought it was all about boxwood and arborvitaes! Here at Hickory Lane Farms we’ve always grown the unusual. It’s just more interesting and often these plants perform better than some of the common things we see in our neighborhoods every day. I recall when Rhododendron’s and azaleas were commonly requested. It’s no wonder. They are beautiful in the right climate. But Central Ohio is not the right climate. After many years of killing these “ericaceous” (acid loving) broadleaf evergreen plants, we don’t use them much anymore. I never did! There are other plants that actually enjoy our heavy clay, hot summers and cold wet winters. “Go figger!” We really need to use more diversity in our landscape to prevent disastrous plant loss such as that resulting from Dutch Elm disease, chestnut blight, emerald ash borer and Blue spruce needlecast. Our cities plant a lot of trees along the streets and they’ve learned the hard way that diversity is critical to a healthy tree canopy which helps to cool our environment. For 30 years I sold plants to these cities as well as other landscapers and garden centers all over the midwest. Many of my customers were happy to continue planting boxwood, burning bush and purple plums because that’s all they knew. I spent a lot of time trying to convince them to use something different when I could easily have sold them the same old boring plants time after time.
Make your landscape more interesting, healthy, attractive. Plan and plant for success!