Gardening is an ever evolving process for me, a constant learning experience. The more I plant and grow in my yard, the more I realize how little I actually know. That’s the wonderful thing about gardening: you may lose a plant once in a while, but you will learn from the experience and easily replace it. I gravitate toward plants that I’ve had great luck with, especially ones that take little care. I like to pick a few complementary colors and, most of all, blooms to attract pollinators. In today’s world, the importance of pollinating insects only grows and I do all I can to promote a sustainable environment for them. When looking for plants that can work for an area, Monrovia makes it easy. All plants are tagged with information letting you know for which climate zone they are designed, if pollinators are attracted to them, letting you know how they will hold up in dry conditions (being “water wise”) as well as their mature size. And honestly, having the right information takes away much of the guess work.
When I start a landscaped bed in a new area, I always make sure to have some year-round structure that will define the area. In this bed, I’m starting with Green Velvet boxwood shrubs, which are my go-to. I love that I can keep them trimmed to any size and shape; plus, their green foliage is always appealing. To center the area and add formality, I’m using Malonyana arborvitae. These plants have an upright growth, making them a good substitute for cypress in cold climates. Used independently, they give an architectural statuesque presence.
Thankfully, planting is not rocket science. Start with a well-watered plant. Next, dig a hold larger than the plant container. If your soil is rocky or filled with clay, you may need to amend with compost. Break up the roots slightly as they can become root-bound in the container. To avoid suffocation, do not plant any deeper than how the plant was growing in the container. Next, backfill with dirt and lightly press around the root ball to make sure there are no air pockets. Finally, water again. During the heat of summer, you will need to water more often. The first week after planting, water every day or every other day. After the initial week, when you notice the top few inches of soil are dry, you will need to water. This could still be every other day.
I know I used to over-think planting and stress about what to plant and how it would turn out. The best way to learn about gardening is just to start. Find what works for you and what you like. Eventually your yard will be full of lush greens and beauty.
Video and images by The Gray Boxwood