Picking Plants: Understanding is Key

Before you decide what to plant in your garden, it's worth getting to know the various plant groups, different plants' needs and growth patterns, and other features that can help you pick the best plants for your space.

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Mirroring Nature

Bringing together plants from different parts of the world but from a similar habitat, is a great way to create interesting and unique groupings. Seeing the plants in their natural environment will inspire you, and give you a feel for the conditions they require, so try to remember to take notes on what plants you see when you go on vacation or travel for work.

A plant’s ability to cope with gale-force winds and salty spray will govern your choice for a seaside garden (image 1). Luckily, there are some beautiful plants that are perfectly adapted.

You don’t need to be willing to go totally wild to create a woodland garden. You can combine plants from different countries, so long as they all enjoy cool dry shade in summer (image 2).

A rock garden is designed to emulate the free-draining dry conditions of an alpine meadow. This image of the real thing shows the effects you can aim for (image 3).

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Excerpted from Garden Design

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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