By Dalton QuigleyJanuary 22,2014
Companion-Blooming-plant Quince and Forsythia bushess
When I was a child I grew up in an apartment complex next to a swamp in New Orleans LA. The closest I got to developing a love of plants was when one of my elementary school teachers gave me some beans in a cup to grow. From that experience I became fascinated with the growth habbits of plants. The next couple of events for me were growing some Cherry Tomatoes in an old fish tank later to be transplanted into pots on my porch, I could not get enough. If you love plants like I do then you understand how addictive it can become, well next I dug up a small swamp maple that had just emerged from the little propeller seed in the swamp. I planted it and watch it get about 14′ tall before it was destroyed by neighbor kids. I later grew vegetables, more trees, shrubs, and even nurtured wild Morning Glories on an old fence at my girlfriends grandparents home when we were dating. As I became a young adult and planted all sorts of ornamental shrubs and perennials for clients I noticed what was interesting different times of year in the landscape and have always wanted to write about different plants that work well together for one reason or another.
The photo I have posted on this page shows a Flowering Quince and a Forsythia. I live in Middle Tennessee ( Nashville ) area and when early spring arrives we see this combination around town. Some others have caught on that these two plants bloom at the same time and make a complimentary look. Do you know of other plants that look really well together at a certain time of year?
During a recent conversation with a fellow plant lover it was revealed to me that if you were to plant Sweet Peas next to Tomato plants there is a beneficial relationship that will happen. The Sweetpeas give off lots of nitrogen and the Tomatoes need lots of nitrogen. So by placing these two plants together you can make a larger harvest of robust tomatoes. What other combinations of companion plantings can you think of?
For ornamental combinations I like Knockout Roses and Skypencil Hollies. The Skypencil Hollies are the backdrop and the Knockout Roses become the show. The look has kind of a Mediteranian look. I also like using a large boulder, a Dwarf Alberta Spruce, and a large grass like Miscanthus ( Maiden Grass Adagio ). This has the effect of stability in the stone, movement in the grass, and the Alberta Spruce gives the entire thing a slight upscale feel with its conical shape and dense form. Do you know of any stone / plant combinations?
As a child I dreamed of having a place with lots of land to grow the plants I liked and today I have an acre with loads of my favorite plants I have collected over the years. I have made combinations like a xeriscape herb garden, a zen garden, and a butterfly perennial garden. I love putting different combinations of plants together to try out different ideas when ever I get the chance. The Quince / Forsythia combination works well with color, form, and shape. The Tomato plant and Sweet Pea companion planting will make tomatoes abound for gardeners, and for designers you just can’t go wrong with Skypencil Hollies that have Knockout Roses in front of them for a beautiful show. I hope you learned a little from this information and will consider putting together plants that compliment each other in some way the next time you install plantings at your home or a clients property. Share the article if you found it beneficial and if you like it please give a like, +1 or Tweet. Thank you so much for spending a few minutes with me today and I will see you around on the web.
By Dalton Quigley January 12,2014
Reasons To BUY From Local Nurseries
There are many reasons to support your local nursery but here are just a few.
I want to let everyone know I am in favor of mom and pop small businesses. No matter the industry these great industrious folks make our country function and provide valuable services and products in society. When you buy from someone in your local community the money tends to stay in your area and you benefit in a variety of ways. Landscapers, gardeners, and homeowners are always looking to make a dollar go farther as prices increase and when you understand the reasons to buy local this decision becomes easier to make. Just take a look at an example.
Bob the Landscaper buys from a big box location.
Bob the landscaper needs plants for his projects. Bob has a big box store nearby and they may have what he needs. Upon arrival he may or may not be greeted by a person in a work apron who says hi and then goes about their business of guarding the door. The plant nursery/ outside gardening area is the next stop for Bob in his search for plants and materials for his project. If the sales person for the area is busy Bob will likely wait a few minutes at least for some-one to give him service. I know my plant material and have stopped by a big box in a pinch and I want to share a personal experience ( I haven’t found a person at a big box store to be knowledgeable about plant material in 20 years ). I don’t even give them the chance often but when I have it has been disappointing as far as plant knowledge goes. I also find the selection is limited to the very most commonly bought plants and materials, if you want something striking and not so common they aren’t the way to go. So back to Bob he has worked out with his client exactly what plants he needs. While going over his list and looking through the available plant material he discovers some of the plants are dehydrated and not where you can just give them some water and they will recover right away. No these plants will slowly wither and die even after being watered because they are beyond help. This has also been my experience over the years, it seems these workers just don’t give the plant material the time they deserve with regards to watering. Now Bob understands that if the plant dies the big box store will take it back and give him another but he also realizes that if he buys it and it dies he has to go through additional expense to stop his day to dig up the old one and make a special trip to stand at the service desk with a dead plant in hand to exchange. “There is one good reason to buy from a big box store and that is to rescue dying plants”, this was stated by a wonderful person on a facebook gardening group when I posted a link to this article. Maybe local nurseries have benefits compared to Bob’s experience.
Bob the Landscaper buys from a the local mom and pop plant nursery.
Lets use Bob again but this time let’s have him go to a local nursery near the project. I tend to buy from local nurseries for my purchases so I can vouch for Bob’s experience just a bit. When Bob enters someone greets Bob with a friendly hello and asks how he may be helped. Now I understand this may not happen every time but it is more often than the alternative. Now Bob has some plant questions ( and here is where the real value comes in ) about the plants he wants to buy and possible other options that may work in the same environment. The helpful person asks about sunlight, irrigation, and soil conditions all of which the big box person has no idea about. With this information in hand the person and the mom and pop local nursery is able to show Bob a few options and make recommendations. I also find that not only do the local people know the plants better but the plant material is cared for much more carefully which leads to more successful establishment of your plants on the job at your clients home. With this information in mind Bob will now save countless hours of replanting failed plant material and he will also seem much more knowledgeable to his clients.There is another reason to use the local nurseries and that is because most of them let a local business set up a credit account where if you need the plants for a project but have to wait for a balance they will not cash your check until you tell them to.
Did you know that at some local mom and pop nurseries you will be able to find ornamental, and food plants?
Did you know that some big box chains tell you that they take a check when in reality they charge your account like a debit card the moment you give them the check, to me this is a debit transaction because the reason I would use a check is for that gap in time you get between giving the check and the processing.
So when you are looking to buy plants for a home landscape or even a vegetable garden stop by your local small family owned nursery you will find the plants you need, and you may even learn a little bit that will help with selecting the proper plant for the job.
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