The Q&A Archives: Need to know what plants & flowers grow well together

Question: I am lucky, I guess, I am starting from nothing. I had lawn put in last year and I know where I want my vegetable garden, but the rest if a blank canvas. I want to learn how to identify bushes, flowers, shrubs, and ground covers that are compatible with each other in type of soil, and with how moist soil will be. I have gathered info but just putting similar soil needs together is overwhelming, am I better off going to garden center and getting advice? I am very concerned with where to buy my plants once I decide. Some that I want are expensive, I believe Home Depot has a guarantee but is that just for popular flowers? I want a Hydrangea bush, I have a perfect spot that gets morning sun and is under the porch cover to protect from cold. I have everything to do, everything to buy I just need guidance. My Mom was the

Answer: Identifying the micro-climates in your garden and doing some research on desired plants is a wonderful start to a fantastic garden. Plants that make good garden companions are those that share the same growing requirements. For instance, in a sunny spot with somewhat dry soil, you could plant Purple Coneflower, Coreopsis and Lavender. In a sunny spot with average to moist soil, you could grow daylilies, dahlias and cosmos. Probably the best source of information for you is a book entitled Sunset Western Garden Book. It's usually available in garden centers and nearly every library has copies. Of course you can purchase it at your favorite book store, too. Sunset Western Garden Book classifies growing zones based upon proximity to mountains, bodies of water, elevations, etc. and once you find your growing zone, you'll find lists of plants that will do well in that zone. When you look up the suggested plants, you'll find their sun/shade requirements, soil preferences and a complete description of the plant's growing habits. This one source should be all you need to design a landscape, install the plants and maintain them after planting.

Best wishes with your garden!

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