If there’s one gold nugget of wisdom we could offer those embarking on a new garden landscape or overhaul of an existing outdoor space, it would be this.
‘Plants aren’t expensive, but design mistakes are.’
We’d be billionaires if we had a dollar for every person that tells us plants are too expensive, and who then take shortcuts to reduce their budget by buying cheap plants that are just not suited to the position and condition of where they are planted.
To give you some context, twenty years ago, an azalia plant in a 14cm pot would set you back about $3.50. Today, that same plant comes with an identical price tag.
The thing that has changed in those 20 years, is the variety of plants has exploded – as has the way they are marketed.
People aren’t just planting azalias these days, they’re planting a bunch of varieties with little knowledge of their origins and specific requirements.
The way big box nurseries now work in Australia is becoming a huge problem and people need to be aware of it.
Many people don’t realise that the majority of wholesale nurseries in Australia need to operate from warmer parts of the country to be able to service the industry 12 months of the year.
Western Australia has the largest wholesale nursery in the nation, followed closely by Queensland. These wholesalers service the big box outlets right across the country which means people in Echuca, in central Victoria, are buying plants in the middle of July that have just come off the back of a truck from as far north as Townsville.
These plants are transported from interstate in refrigerated containers and then set up to look fantastic in fake store environments.
In some of the big box nurseries, these plants are packaged up in coloured pots and fancy labels, and because the marketing is so appealing, people are enticed to buy the product even when it is not necessarily suited for its intended garden position.
Homeowners are buying whatever looks pretty and whatever label hits them in the face. They haven’t gone to the nursery with a design plan or theme in mind, and are filling up their trolleys with flowering plants that look beautiful in that moment and are at the right price in their mind.
More often than not, the customer takes the pretty plants home, puts them outside, and on the first cold night the plants go in to shock and die.
It’s like buying fruit that is out of season and expecting it to last.
It’s a huge trap and 9 out of 10 gardens we walk on fall in to this category.
At The Garden Planners, we ask clients to talk to us about the plants they like, and we then tell them where they’re best suited.
You may love gardenias and want them in a specific part of the garden, but they need to be planted in a position and in conditions where they will thrive.
If not, you will pay dearly for it.
For the small investment of a landscape design – between $400 and $600 – set against buying $600 in plants which don’t survive beyond 12 months, households can save hugely in the long run.
And if you’re not a confident plant shopper, we can also help source plants for our customers. We collect truckloads of plants for local landscapers and personally handpick plants of high quality to ensure they will survive when they arrive back at their final destination.
So next time you’re feeling like getting dirty in the garden, remember plants aren’t expensive. The most important factor to consider is what plant grows best where.
The growers aren’t making any more money than they did 20 years ago – but the marketing companies are. And the people losing out the most are the punters on the street who just want to grow a healthy garden that will last the distance.
For more information on a range of landscape design topics, contact Craig at The Garden Planners today on 0438 463 233.