Answer: The best thing you can do for clay soil is to add lots and lots of organic matter. If possible, till in grass clippings, shredded leaves, compost, and/or rotted manure before you begin your planting. Then each year, try to work in some more organic matter where you can. Mulch plants with organic mulches like pine bark, rather than stone, because the mulch will enrich the soil as it decomposes. One idea for this first year is to plant a few shrubs, a few hardy perennials, and some annuals to give you color this year. You might try some shrub dogwoods, cotoneaster, juniper, or bayberry for shrubs. Good perennial choices include: coreopsis, rudbeckia, asters, and daylilies. And you can get a wide variety of annual transplants at your local garden center. Carroll Gardens, a mail-order nursery in Maryland, carries a wide variety of plants and has a very informative catalog. Their number is 1-800-638-6334.
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