Recently I have been asked frequently how to decide what plants to go for. Whether to grow vegetables or ornamentals. Believe it or not but this is not a straightforward thing to give a simple answer to. So here a little insight in the best steps to take when planning your own garden.
So the very first thing to do, is to have a look at the site you want to plant things. Consider soil type, drainage, quality of soil, existing plants and weeds, sunlight, exposure (wind, traffic, children...), You can note these down, or make a little sketch with all these details, it has to work for you. This first step is essential as these will be your selection criteria when choosing plants.
WANTS AND NEEDS
Then you need to sit down, and maybe have a chat with people you share your garden with, and decide what you want from your planting. Do you want to grow traditional vegetables, cutflowers, attract insects, make the garden more pretty. Decide in what the priority is for you. It is only natural to want everything from a garden, but it makes plant selection virtually impossible.
How much time will you have to spend? Might it be better to plant plants that can be left to their own devices? Or do you love gardening and digging out dahlias and cannas every year to keep them going overwinter? It is better to do little at first, and then as you get into things add to it or be more adventurous.
So now that you have a better ideas of the selection criteria, there are several ways to start seeing which plants suit these. A good resource is the rhs plant finder. For Scotland particularly the books by Cox on both ornamentals and edibles are a great starting point. And once you have made a list of possible plants, make sure to edit! Be ruthless and only go for the plants that fulfill all criteria and suit your style.
I hope this helps. If you are still feeling overwhelmed by the process, a planting plan might be the way forward. I go through all these steps with you and then design a planting plan for your garden. An affordable way to grow beautiful borders, edibles, wildlife havens and more.