In one of my horticulture classes, there has been much discussion about the use of native verses non-native plants in the landscape. I do not presume to have the answer, but I know this much: intelligent conversation about all aspects of gardening and good garden design is always of value.
Myths about Native Plants, a series of posts by Thomas Rainer, the author of grounded design—the latest winner of Horticulture’s Best Gardening Blogs 2011— immediately caught my attention. In the first post of the series, Thomas addresses the myth that native plants are more drought tolerant than their exotic counterparts. He also tackles the myth Native Plants are not as Tough as Exotic Plants and finally myth number three, Native Plants are not as Showy or Ornamental as Exotic Plants.
In his post The Case Against Mulch Rings, Thomas expertly explains why we should bid farewell to the unsightly practice. His photos alone beautifully state the case for nixing mulch rings.
An excerpt from Is Your Planting Evocative or Provocative?:
“Of all my various rants, one point I am consistent: planting design is an art. Planting design needs to be liberated from its traditional role as ornamentation to architecture. For too long, the role of the American planting designer has been to ‘shrub up’ the base of buildings, like placing parsley around a pot roast. Instead, planting can be an expressive and dynamic medium in itself, capable of conveying meaning and emotion.”
Thomas lets his humor and whit shine through in his writings and his what-were-they-thinking department, No They Didn’t: A Gallery of Mockable Landscapes.
Before you head to the garden or nursery, take a bit of time for yourself to enjoy grounded design by Thomas Rainer. It will be time well spent.
Jenny Koester is the Garden Blog Editor for Horticulture and the author of the garden blog The Garden Life.