Location is crucial: for houses, businesses, nuclear power plants….and also garden plants.
During our first year of community gardening, we gave away zucchini and yellow squash seedlings to our gardeners. What we forgot to anticipate was that these little seedlings would grow into huge plants in our smallish 10’X4’ raised beds. And this led ultimately to failure due to lack of space, poor airflow, and insects that jumped easily from plot to plot. Powdery mildew and squash bug were rampant. We did enjoy a fun evening of shop-vac’ing the bugs one night. But ultimately it would have been better not to have 1000’s of squash bugs in the first place!
Likewise, in the ornamental plant garden, it really matters to place plants where they want to be. And where they want to be is not always so clear on tags or even in advice delivered by professionals. That is because your space, yard, deck, is your space with its own unique environment. Only you can truly know the degree of sunlight, general humidity, elevation, prevailing winds, soil, rainfall, etc. It’s a lot to know! And getting to know what works best involves making mistakes which then involves spending more money when you feel compelled to purchase that same plant again and plant it elsewhere.
Sometimes we even plant something in the right place and it still succumbs. I experienced this recently with a wood poppy that fell victim to Sclerotium rolfsii (southern blight). In this case, not only did the wood poppy have to be removed but also all the surrounding soil that was near it. These things happen though. Weather is out of our control and can make disease pathways easily navigable by organisms.
The world of gardening is both science and art. There’s plenty of science and it’s helpful to know it. But, gardening takes a bit of intuition – meaning that we are reading clues that we are not necessarily understanding, we just know there are clues. In fact, part of the fun in gardening is in learning to read these clues.
Educate yourself all you can. Learn from experience. Trust your intuition. Like all of life, gardening is a process, so have fun with it.