I’ve seen this happen before, and may have even done it once or twice myself, when people enter a nursery or garden center and suddenly lose all sense of rational thought. Amongst the myriad of choices, sale signs and enthusiastic nursery staff it’s quite easy to lose your direction and start buying plants willy-nilly.

Gardeners walk out with a trolley full of plants that they rue later on because they didn’t do their homework first. Without a plan of attack they become magnets for every possible bad decision that could be made without any forethought – and they end up paying for it later on.

Usually it’s just a few annuals and some trendy perennials. But in a few extreme cases it may be a tree or a perennial shrub that will reak havoc with your garden in years to come.

Entering a nursery without a plan for your garden is like grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Everything suddenly becomes an option and the trolley fills with all possible foodstuffs to sate your appetite. Then when you get home and you’re stomach’s been appeased you wonder why on earth you bought those sugary bakery items and how that’s going to effect your regimented weight-loss program.

If you find yourself at the nursery without a plan – turn around and go home.

Before heading off to the nursery you’re much wiser to have spent some time in your garden assessing your needs. Do you need a new tree? How big and wide can it grow? Does it need to be deciduous to let in some winter sun or will an evergreen suffice? Will it drop annoying fruit or blooms in your yard? These are just a few questions that you may want to start asking yourself.

You’ll need to know;

  • Hardiness Zone
  • Light/Shade conditions
  • Soil Type
  • Existing plants
  • How is your garden used? Pets? Children?
  • Most importantly – your budget

Now that you’re armed with a few facts the nursery will become less intimidating and you can access it on your terms. Buy what you need, steer clear of the sales that won’t fit in your garden and look for inspiration for your next trip.