I have a friend named Paula who would like a low maintenance, deer resistant shade garden with low water needs. She has a beautiful rural property surrounded by woods. Where to start?
I could do some searches just using the Advanced Search feature, without needing to register for an account, but I decided to give the new GardenAway features a test. Note that you do need to be a registered user to use these features, and registration is free.
I created a folder called ‘Paula’s Garden’ in Clippings. I checked Paula’s hardiness zone by using the Zone Finder feature under the Plants heading in the navigation bar. I went to her street on the map , finding her zone to be 4a.
I built an Advanced Search by selecting the following:
Care Level: Easy
Light Levels: Shade
Soil Moisture: Low
I clicked the Search Now button, and got 49 plants in my search results. A pretty good start. This is the basis of the plant selection for Paula, and I want to store this search in my ‘Paula’s Garden’ folder. I click the Save button at the top right of the Search Results, select the folder and name the search 'easy, low water, shade, deer resistant'. To make things easier for Paula, I thought I’d find some perennials for her. I clicked on the search I just saved; clicked the Refine button, then selected
Plant Type: Perennial
That narrowed the plant selection down to 26 plants. Then I thought some fragrant flowers might be nice, so I clicked the Refine button again and then
8 plants came up, with some choice in bloom colour – pink, purple or blue. I’ll Save this search into ‘Paula’s Garden’ folder, too, name it 'perennials, fragrant flowers'. Hmmm… I notice that some of the plants listed, Vinca minor, are showing the caution of ‘invasive’ (the yellow square black leaf icon). But because Paula’s area is dry, and the soil is not rich, Vinca minor will not grow as vigourously, so this may not be a problem. She can just check the runners every year if it becomes a problem. I'll add a note to this item with this information.
Maybe she’d like some showy foliage? Well, you get the picture. You can keep on finding plants from your initial search results (the 49 plants in this example) by using the Refine button, and choosing your own custom requirements.
It’s easy, and the different plant options open to you will give you ideas you may have never considered. Exploring plant ideas for your personal garden needs and planning your garden has never been this easy!
Originally published June 25th, 2010. Republished to reflect the new user interface.