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Choosing plants - advice for novice gardeners

At long last the sun is shining, the weather warm so better get outdoors and tackle the garden.  If like me you’re a novice gardener who spends hours walking round garden centres reading all the plant information then coming home with the wrong type of plant for where you intended to sow it, help is at hand - the good old internet.  Why didn’t I think of this before I spent hours trailing round saying “I want this one” and “I want that one” only to be told by him indoors that it won’t grow in our garden, isn’t suitable for under the tree, will grow too high oh I wish I’d done my homework first!

Choosing plants for a garden is a skill and not one I excel in, all I want is pretty colourful flowers to look at, I’ve even thought it might be easier to buy silk ones and stick them in tubs – do you think anyone would know!!

Green fingered people have a gift that will provide a garden of beauty for everyone including the birds, bees and butterflies but how do we know we are buying good plants.  Below is a list of top 10 tips which I found on the internet after my garden centre visit:

1: Before you buy plants, make check on how much sun they can tolerate.  Remember the sun moves so some parts of your garden will in be in the shade at different times of the day

2.  Set plants in the ground at the same depth as they were in the container

3: Avoid buying plants that are already in bloom

4: Never water plants in the mid day heat, always water in the morning or early evening

5. Always inspect the leaves for pests, being careful to notice hard to see damage spots already existing on the plant. Mites and Aphids can totally devastate all your plants

6. Choose plants that you are sure that will really survive. A thing to look for is a set of thick or stocky stems. Thick stems are a sign that the plant is strong and healthy and more capable to survive during its transition from the pot and out into the ground. Plants with thin and frail-looking stems are definitely not a good choice

7. Don’t assume that the bigger plants are always the better plants. Many times the smaller plants may be healthier. Healthier plants mean that they will be easier to transition into your garden because they will probably not suffer from much transplant shock

8. Always look under the pot. Are there roots coming out the drainage holes? If so, this is a sign that the roots are bound and overcrowded

9. Try to do your transplanting on an overcast day or late in the afternoon to minimize stress. Before transplanting, check the soil in the packs or pots. If it's dry, thoroughly drench the soil, then wait a few minutes for it to saturate the soil.  Plants should pop out easily when the pack or pot is turned on its side. If they don't, gently squeeze the bottom of the pot to loosen the roots

10: Only buy a few plants at a time and don’t plant them too close together as they will spread and become overcrowded

Do hope this is helpful - Happy Gardening everyone

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