PICK WISELY

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

At what point does a gar­den morph from the idea of a dream to a night­mare that is out of con­trol? Who knows? But maybe it’s a thing to do with “age and stage” – the younger you are, the more likely you are to have a busy gar­den.

As you get older, there is ei­ther a re­fine­ment of how a gar­den works and what to grow or a re­duc­tion, mean­ing less work and main­te­nance.

What­ever stage you are at, it is al­ways about how you choose the plants in the first place.

Maybe you in­her­ited some­one else’s dream that got a bit out of hand or maybe you like the struc­tural qual­i­ties of the choices some­one made a long time ago.

As we be­come a lit­tle savvier with gar­dens and how they work and for what rea­son, we start to see the re­la­tion­ships be­tween el­e­ments like soil and plant types.

For in­stance, you would have picked up that a large-leaf Spathiphyl­lum wouldn’t stand much of a chance in the open sun on sandy soil.

The catch out here is buy­ing plants from large out­lets when the plants are well-pre­sented, with a la­bel that looks ter­rific, and they ap­pear good and healthy but will curl up their toes in a mat­ter of months.

You’re faced with more dis­ap­point­ment and count­ing the cost.

Five plants in rea­son­able-sized con­tain­ers can cost you up to $150, so fail­ure is not a good op­tion.

Many of these plants are sim­ply not meant to grow here. Yes, there are al­ways ex­cep­tions and peo­ple clever enough to know how to pro­vide in­ten­sive care.

But the av­er­age gar­dener doesn’t have the lux­ury of that time and meet­ing the on­go­ing costs of dead plants.

All we are say­ing here is to do a lit­tle re­search on the plant that you like be­fore you buy it.

Googling it while you’re stand­ing there is use­ful.

You may dis­cover that pretty lit­tle plant is an alpine cover and has no place in the trop­ics.

Take your time rather than re­spond to the im­pulses the sell­ers hope for, do some re­con­nais­sance one week­end and work out a list and you will save time and money.

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