Plant hoarder

frankielynnsie(7B)March 11, 2012

Have any of you all ever designed a landscape for a plant hoarder? Is it possible to have a pleasing landscape with one of these and one of those and new these's and those's that get bought every year? My front yard looks mostly normal but I have many these and those shrubs, trees, and perennials that I have tried to incorporate in mixed borders.

It would be interesting to hear your experiences in this area. I just bought 3 new trees, 3 bushes, and 2 roses. I am hopeless.

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Could you post some your yard pics here? you can download the yard pics from "google earth" .the yard where they're situated is the key.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 2:34AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Frankielynn, as a person who is equally hopeless a hoarder, I can say the best advice I ever got was to categorize plants by their form/structure rather than by identity, and design with plant forms.

So you might say "deciduous arching shrub here" and later decide whether that is the mock orange, the elderberry, or the lilac, or what have you. Identify what is needed at a given spot - tall narrow evergreen, spreading tree... it can even help to focus your shopping and reduce the hoarding impulse. I found that once I could put purposes to plants, I was less prone to buying on impulse. That, and once the yard was done I couldn't convince myself I would have places for much new stuff!

You obviously also go by plant attributes - fragrance where you will encounter it, for example - and some of the acquisitions may stay in your plant nursery/pot ghetto for a while if you are plugging into a design taking shape on the ground vs. on paper. But even then, to find a place, reduce the plant to its form and attributes to figure out where it should go.

Karin L

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 11:19AM
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Agree very much with Karin -- the other thing to consider is repetition. If you have the room at all, try to let some plants repeat throughout the landscape. If you can't let a particular plant repeat (not enough room and the collection is too big), then, along Karin's lines, at least try to let a similar plant repeat. I'm no trained designer, but my amateur eye tells me that when plants repeat, the landscape is unified/pulled together which tends to be something a collector garden needs.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 12:55PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Something else that helps is a regular, geometric layout. It looks quite unified even if the beds are filled with weeds. There is some symmetry, but it is more the sort where a tall, thin plant on this side is balanced by a tall thin plant on the other side. They don't necessarily have anything else in common.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 1:01PM
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I have really been trying to group things and simplify my gardening due to getting older and physically less able. We live in what use to be a pasture. It is about 1 1/2 acres. I will have to do some digging up and moving to get more symmetry in my mixed beds. Mostly they are a hodge podge of plants. Some areas look good-totally by accident, but others aren't quite right yet. This gives me some direction.

I guess my main problem is not being able to resist some of the new plants that come out every year.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 8:23PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

You're just going to tease us and not post any pics!?!

I'd love to see some of your plants even if they aren't in the perfect spot.

Just one other thing to add. Repeating color themes can help as well. If you have lets say a mixture of white, purple and blue in one area, repeat that in another area.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 10:27PM
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Try being a professional designer and collector/hoarder as well!!

Some great comments here, especially with regards to repetition. And while it may not be repetition with regards to the exact same plant, strive for repetition with regards to form/structure or foliage color. Repeating non-plant elements as well can be helpful, like hardscape features, etc.

There are a couple of good books on the subject you might want to hunt down that could also provide some enlightenment: Design in the Plant Collector's Garden by Roger Turner and The Collector's Garden by Ken Druse. Definitely worth adding to your personal library if you are a plantaholic like so many of us are.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 8:23PM
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Today I spent the day 'cleaning up' leaves, branches, pine and oak seedlings and pruning in 3 areas in the yard. I haven't been able to really do anything for 2 years and I have some major healthy weeds and saplings. If you have pinched nerves in both arms Celebrex and a shot of steroids in the spine are your friends. I promise to take some pictures and figure out how to post them as things look a little better. I have decided that now we are in daylight savings time I will do 1 thing every afternoon after work, I was off today. I am the kind of person that would clean before the cleaning lady got there, if I could afford one.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 10:06PM
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