Avoid botanical boredom by trying new groups of plants in your garden.
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"One of the ways I maintain my interest in gardening is by constantly expanding my horizons," says master gardener Paul James. "And one of the ways I do that is by focusing on a specific plant group, learning all about it and planting as many plants as I can within that group." Years ago Paul got hooked on ornamental grasses, and to this day, he keeps an eye out for introductions that could work perfectly in his landscape.
"More recently I fell in love with evergreens, especially dwarfs and oddly-shaped varieties." And his inventory of evergreens has gone from zero to 50 in just three years.
Paul is also big on Japanese maples (figure A), and he's always on the lookout for new places to plant them (figure B).
"Of course, not everyone likes or appreciates the plants I prefer," he admits. "You may be hooked on heucheras or passionate about poppies, or you may not know what you like. But if you're as nuts about gardening as I am, then I urge you to explore new plant groups now and then."
Let's say you like ferns. Although most nurseries offer at least a half-dozen types of hardy ferns, catalog or internet sources may offer two to three times as many.
There are also hundreds of varieties of daylilies available (figure C). You may find that these easy-to-grow perennials are perfect for you and your garden. Or maybe cacti and succulents are your preference. If your plant tastes lean toward the unusual, you never know what you might find within the wonderful world of plants. Consider bog lovers, night bloomers and carnivores.
"The point I'm trying to make is that if you plant the same plants year in and year out, your interests in gardening could wane and you could suffer what I call 'botanical boredom'. But if you constantly expand your horizons and explore new plant possibilities, you'll get so much more out of gardening."
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