The Q&A Archives: New Gardener

Question: I want to start planting flowers, shrubs, vines etc. around my house. What do you suggest?

Answer: A complete landscape design is beyond the scope of this Q&A, but I?ll give you some ideas to consider and a good local resource. The most important things when choosing plants are determining what sun exposure (full, partial, shady) they will thrive in and how much space they need to grow to maturity (both vertically and horizontally), and then comparing that with what your landscape offers. Soil type is another important characteristic. In other words, you wouldn't want to put a huge sun lover in a tiny, shady location. This seems obvious, but many people forget it when they go to the nursery and are confronted by all sorts of beautiful plants. Analyze your site and think about what you want from plants (color, shade, cut flowers, bird attraction etc.) then choose plants that fit that situation. I also strongly urge you to stick with native and well-adapted choices. They require less maintenance and fuss, are less likely to be bothered by pests or diseases, and birds and other creatures recognize them as sources of food and shelter.

Here is the website for free horticultural publications produced by the University of Minnesota Cooperative Extension. It includes lists of plants that are well-suited for your region.
For further info, contact the Stearns County Cooperative Extension office in St. Cloud:

Extension Regional Center, St. Cloud
Midtown Office Complex
3400 First Street N, Suite 400
St. Cloud, MN 56303-4000

Good luck with your new garden!

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