It has taken us a few years to get the hang of the whole gardening thing. Last year was our first really “successful” gardening experience, meaning most of the things we planted lived! This year we drew on prior experience and we knew what we wanted to buy for the most part. We also knew wanted to avoid “greenhouse stress”.
Greenhouse stress is the stress of trying to figure out which plants you want in what colors, remembering how many you need, and attempting to do the math of how much it will all cost…..while also being distracted by a variety of beautiful colors and small children.
To avoid this condition, we decided to take a tour of the local greenhouses last week, visiting one or two places each evening before making our decisions. This way we could see what plants looked good, which place had the best prices, and really discuss what we wanted. And greenhouses are among my favorite places to visit, so it was pretty awesome!
Here are my tips for having a great garden shopping experience:
1) Do your research. Look for ideas on Pinterest or ask an experienced gardener which plants they recommend for your area and what looks good.
2) Decide on a color scheme- or if you even want one! Do you like classic red and white, different shades of pink, or as many colors as you can get your hands on? Whatever you like, its helpful to have a vision in mind before you get to the greenhouse.
3) Make a note of how many pots you have to fill and what sizes. This can be hard to remember when your flower pots have been in hiding for the past six months. Take an inventory before you go. It is easier to shop when you know how much you need of each plant. And don’t forget, larger pots will usually need more than just one plant.
4) When filling large pots, remember this simple rule: Thrill, Fill, Spill. The thrill is something tall (like a grass) for the back, the fill is the color (this year I did two colors!) to place in the center of the pot, and the spill is something like a trailing flower or vine to go over the front of the pot.
5) Pay attention to the little plant tags. This was our big mistake for a long time. If a plant tag says full sun, it will not make it on your shaded front porch! Shade plants will wither in full sun! Those little tags aren’t just suggestions.
6) Pace yourself. Taking our time and checking things out ahead of time really made for a relaxed shopping experience. Gardening is supposed to be fun, so take your time, find what’s right for you, and enjoy! Happy shopping!