Goldilocks & The Just Right Plant

by Joanne Neale

GARDENERS CAN SOMETIMES SUFFER FROM “GOLDILOCKS” SYNDROME. A FAVORITE PLANT IS JUST TOO BIG FOR THE SPACE, ANOTHER IS JUST TOO MUCH WORK AND ANOTHER IS JUST NOT QUITE RIGHT FOR ANY NUMBER OF REASONS. THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THE SOLUTION TO THIS GARDENING SYNDROME OFTEN LIES IN PLANTING A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT PLANT FROM THE SAME GENUS, THAT SHOULD GET YOU TO ‘JUST RIGHT’.

Too big, Too much Work, Too Fussy - find the just right plant for your garden. www.pithandvigor.com

TOO BIG!

Love butterflies, but can’t get over the big ugly butterfly bush mess that happens every winter?

Late summer blooms and butterflies, especially in a small garden, can be had with dwarf Buddleia x ‘Lo and Behold’ series – none gets more than 3 feet tall.

Buddleia x 'Lo and Behold'

Buddleia x ‘Lo and Behold’

The ‘Lo and Behold’ series offers lots of color choices: blue, lilac, pink and deep purple. Any one (or a combination) would make a fantastic mass planting in a hot, dry, sunny spot, and you can sit back and watch the butterflies at play. Full sun, Zones 5-9.

Alternatives for (too fast-growing) River Birch, (massive) Arborvitea, and (out of reach) Lilacs are also provided in the full story – available in the Autumn 2015 Print Issue of PITH + VIGOR –  To read the full story visit the P+V shop to order your copy.  

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TOO MUCH WORK!

Love the flowers in the spring, but hate the mess in the fall?

Older crabapple varieties drop their fruit, resulting in a mess. Newer varieties like Malus ‘Sugar Tyme’ (Malus x ‘Sutyzam’) hold their fruit well into the winter when the birds need the extra food.

Sugar Tyme™ Crabapple - Monrovia - Just Right Plants - www.pithandvigor.com

Malus ‘Sugar Tyme’ (Malus x ‘Sutyzam’)

Pink buds open to fragrant white flowers are followed by masses of 1/2-inch glossy red crabapples in bronzed-yellow color. A strong, disease-resistant small tree with four seasons of interest. 14-18’ tall by 12-15’ wide. Full sun, Zones 4-8.

Alternatives for oversized rhododendrons, out of control ferns, and roses that don’t have thorns and don’t need pruning are also provided in the full story – available in the Autumn 2015 Print Issue of PITH + VIGOR –  To read the full story visit the P+V shop to order your copy.  

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TOO FUSSY!

Cringe at the cost of tulips, knowing they will never bloom after the first year?

Big, blowsy Dutch hybrid tulips are what we think of when we think tulips, but after a few years they dwindle to zero blossoms and lots of foliage. So plant smaller, less-fussy species tulips. Many are stoloniferous, or self-seeding, naturalizing in the garden to perform well for years.

tulipa bakeri 'lilac wonder' by Philippe Teuwen by CC via www.pithandvigor.com

Tulipa bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’

A descendant of tulips native to the rocky fields of the Mediterranean. Soft pink with a yellow center, this variety has thrived in my garden for over 20 years! It needs to bake in summer, so don’t plant in irrigated beds. Full sun, Zones 5-9.

Alternatives for hydrangeas that don’t bloom and winter damaged boxwoods are also provided in the full story – available in the Autumn 2015 Print Issue of PITH + VIGOR –  To read the full story visit the P+V shop to order your copy.  

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images courtesy of proven winners, monrovia, and Philippe Teuwen by CC

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About Rochelle Greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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