Saturday, November 27, 2010

Let Mr. Spock Choose Your Plants

Close your eyes. (Bad move - now you can't read this. Change of plans...OPEN your eyes. Drat! What if you don't see that I just typed "open your eyes"?)

Sorry, let's start over. Imagine that you're looking out the breakfast nook window when an 18-wheel tractor-trailer jumps the curb, it's back-up beeper piercing the early morning calm. Air brakes hiss and the engine revs. The bed tilts skyward. As the tailgate creaks, a river of ping-pong balls floods your front yard.

"What the...?!?"

You spring from the breakfast table as the truck pulls away. Tying your robe, you and your bunny slippers shuffle outside to inspect this curious cargo. Words are printed on each shiny orb: Miscanthus 'Morning Light' reads one, Cotoneaster dammeri, Artemisia schmidtiana 'Silver Mound', on and on, each sphere bearing the name of a different plant that grows in your region.

I don't know about you, but that's what it seems like when I start a new design project for a client - the realm of all possibilities. My Sunset Western Garden Book boasts "Over 8,000 Plants".

That's a smidge too much variety for the average residential lot. So how on Earth does an adventurous but rational gardener winnow all those tempting choices down to a manageable palette?

The Logic of Logic

Simple. Pop an old episode of Star Trek into the Blu-ray and unleash your uber-logical Mr. Spock. Shut down the "oh-but-it's-so-cute-with-its-sexy-maroon-leaf-bordered-with-a-darling-crinkly-chartreuse-leaf-margin" lobe of your brain. Delay your aesthetic gratification.

There's more to read at Fine Gardening...

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