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Why Does Excellent Plant Knowledge Matter When You Choose a Landscape Designer?


It may seem an obvious question.


Excellent plant knowledge makes the difference between your investment surviving or failing. Plants always change, and planning for the desired outcomes, with the preferred type of maintenance is critical.

 

Can you imagine after making an thoughtful couch selection for your living room, having paid and installed at just the right spot, it started to change? What if you had to consider your couch changing shape, and color and possibly crowding out other furnishings? What if it grew so large you couldn’t watch the TV or make it to the refrigerator? What if it needed special vacuuming every week and if you missed a week during the summer, it would be reduced to a pile of dust? Imagine if it didn’t like the angle you placed it and part of the upholstery burned from the sunlight, or puckered and dried out with the winter winds from the front door, allowing insects to infest it? Consider the entire room, with all the chairs, tables and rugs were doing the same things, but differently, constantly. You can imagine potential chaos.

 

This fun illustration helps a homeowner consider that the many factors in landscape design plant choices are complicated and important. One must consider all of them about each plant, and the many ways it will interact with all the other plants on your property. You can begin to see why excellent plant knowledge is vital, and worth the investment!


What kind of Plant Knowledge Should You Look For?

Ideally, formal training with field work, as I have had through both client work and formal education is ideal. Working directly with clients and their plants, and both outdoor landscape work and academics in the Landscape Gardening program at the Sandhills Community College where I earned my Associate of Science degree helped me learn about hundreds of plants. The culmination of this specific industry training was an  internship focused on Fine Gardening at a pre-eminent horticultural nonprofit foundation in Va. Called Oak Spring Garden Foundation. Prior years working at a plant nursery where I saw them grow and change throughout the year was invaluable.


Wouldn’t an everyday landscaper know which plants to put on your property? Maybe, maybe not. Many landscapers have excellent knowledge of plants learned often on the job or through formal training. Working directly with plants is one of the best ways to learn the qualities of a given plant. Generally, landscapers are paid to do a specific repetitive job quickly and move on to the next customer.



What are the considerations for a plant to thrive at your home and to be suitable?

The conditions of suitability are many. These primary considerations will be covered in future blog posts in greater detail.

Plants have likes, needs and dislikes related to the following:

Light

Water

Soil

Heat

Growth rate and mature size 

New cultivars are released every year. The differences between a new cultivar and the parent species can be vast. Knowing which are tried and true and worth the investment makes the difference between success and failure.

Special characteristics

These include factors like flowering time, duration, height, susceptibilities, and foliage differences. Attractiveness to pollinators, strength, scent, and growth predictability are only a few things that change from one cultivar to another.

 

Maintenance required 

Fertilization, disease, and pest prevention, pruning to ensure flowering, best form and / or to promote unique training such as espalier, are only a few of the factors to consider.

 


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