Tag Archive for: wrong plant wrong place

Lovely clematis (pretty face flower)

Lovely clematis flowers

Do you ever find yourself transfixed by a pretty face flower? I have. In fact, I’ve rarely seen a flower that I didn’t like. However, sometimes it’s easy to get fooled by a pretty face, or in this case, a flower.

pretty face flower

Over the weekend, I made a quick trip to my local grocery store where I noticed a display of beautiful flowering plants that stopped me dead in my tracks. 

Right by the entry was a collection of lovely clematis vines. Their lush green foliage and large purple flowers were gorgeous and enticed passersby into taking one home.

This made me mad, and I don’t get angry quickly. So, why was I upset? It’s not because I have anything against clematis – I think that they are lovely and have taken some photos of them throughout my garden travels including:

Minneapolis,  (pretty face flower) Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Olbrich Gardens, Wisconsin

Olbrich Gardens, Wisconsin

Butchart Gardens, in British Columbia, Canada

Butchart Gardens, in British Columbia, Canada

Astoria, Oregon (pretty face flower)

Astoria, Oregon

Aberyswyth, Wales (pretty face flower)

Aberyswyth, Wales

If you have paid attention to where I have taken the pictures of clematis, you may begin to understand why I was upset to see this outside my Phoenix area grocery store. 

The reason is that clematis are ill-suited for growing in a low desert climate. They struggle to survive without a lot of fuss, and you’ll be lucky if you see any blooms. 

The problem is, the average person doesn’t know this and envision how nice the clematis will look in their garden, so they hand over $25 and carry their new plant home with the assumption that the store wouldn’t sell plants that very difficult to grow in their area. 

Sadly, they are wrong. Unless they are a very experienced gardener, who is knowledgeable about clematis, they will have a vine that is barely clinging to life in a few weeks and blame themselves for its condition.

Sequim, Washington (pretty face flower)

Sequim, Washington

The moral of this story? Don’t be fooled by a pretty face. Avoid impulse buys and research before buying plants for your garden. If you see a plant that you have never seen before, there is a greater chance that it may have difficulty growing in your climate.

For information on how to choose the right plants for your garden, I invite you to read my post, 5 Tips for Choosing Plants From the Nursery

In my last post, I showed you a photo of a “landscape no-no” and challenged you to guess what the problem was.

Torch Glow Bougainvillea

Were you able to guess what is wrong with this planting?

I gave a hint that the plant in the middle is ‘Torch Glow’ Bougainvillea.

Well, I am happy to report that most of you were right about the problem.

*You see, ‘Torch Glow’ Bougainvillea (or any bougainvillea) for that matter, is too large to be planted in such a small area.

Although this bougainvillea shrub is small now, it will soon grow very big…

Torch Glow Bougainvillea

I planted the ‘Torch Glow’ Bougainvillea, above, in my father-in-law’s back garden. At the time I took this photo – it was less then 2 years old.

Personally, I like this variety of Bougainvillea – it has an unusual shape compared to other types of Bougainvillea and produces less litter.

But, it grows very fast and will soon outgrow a small area.  At maturity, it can reach heights of 8 feet and 4 feet wide.

So, back to the original planting in the first photo.  The problem that will soon occur is that the ‘Torch Glow’ Bougainvillea will grow wider and overhang the pathway to the entry.

Of course, at first, the homeowner will attempt to keep the Bougainvillea pruned back – but he would be fighting a losing battle.  This shrub grows too big.

Did I also mention that this particular plant has THORNS?

You never want to put any type of plant or tree that has thorns, next to an area where people walk.  No one likes to get stuck by a thorn.

This homeowner also had another landscape problem directly across the pathway from the bougainvillea…

bush Rosemary

He has a bush Rosemary planted in a tiny area that was 3 inches wide.

As you can see, he was already busy pruning it to keep it from hanging over the pathway.

Soon, the base of the plant will become more woody with less leaves as it grows, which will make it very unattractive.

In addition, the small amount of soil, will affect the ultimate health of the rosemary as well.

**So what is the lesson learned from this “landscape no-no”?

Take a few minutes to research the plants you select before you plant them (don’t always rely on your landscaper’s advice – check for yourself).  Make sure the plants will fit that particular area once they reach their mature size.

I hope this will help you to avoid a similar mistake in the future in your garden.

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I am still patiently (not really) waiting to plant my fall vegetable garden.  We are buying compost and manure this weekend to replenish the existing soil in the gardens and I hope to have everything planted soon.

I promise to keep you updated 🙂