You will probably get plants and seeds from retail garden centers (nurseries) or from mail order retailers. Large nurseries usually have a wide range of plants; smaller garden centers usually have a smaller stock of plants to choose from, but you can often find a more relaxed and helpful sales staff. Mail order suppliers may carry hard to find or unique plants, and anything else you want as well.

Retail garden center
Retail garden center

Nursery stock should be labeled. A good label will tell you the basics: how and when to plant, proper spacing, and the plant’s hardiness zone. It should also list any special features that the plant has such as its color, texture or size.

Typical nursery label

The following is a brief description of the major plant categories that you will come across at the nursery. At the most general level plants break down into two groups: woody and non-woody plants. The subdivisions are listed below.

Note that some plants can be listed separately from these basic categories, either because they are very popular or because they have special characteristics that they have become known by. Some of these plants are roses, herbs, vegetables, edible berries, groundcovers, shade plants, and vines.

Module Progress

Module 3: Selection – Plants that fit your site and style

A high-level introduction to plant types, plant names, and what to look for when selecting plants for your garden

Additional Modules

01

Module 1: Site – What is a garden site and site analysis?

What is a site? Your site is the place where plants go: a garden, flower pot, window box, yard. While most people think of a …

Module 1: Site – What is a garden site and site analysis? Read More »

02

Module 2: Style – The elements of garden style

What is Style? Style can be many things to many people. For you it will be the unique way you arrange the materials that will …

Module 2: Style – The elements of garden style Read More »

03

Module 3: Selection – Plants that fit your site and style

You will probably get plants and seeds from retail garden centers (nurseries) or from mail order retailers. Large nurseries usually have a wide range of …

Module 3: Selection – Plants that fit your site and style Read More »

04

Module 4: Design – From concept to plan

Up to now we have discussed principles and techniques for evaluating your site, designing gardens, and selecting plants. In this module we take up the …

Module 4: Design – From concept to plan Read More »

05

Module 5: Prepare – How to get your planting site ready

Unless you are already endowed with good soil and a ready site, you will need to prepare your soil for planting. Preparation involves laying out …

Module 5: Prepare – How to get your planting site ready Read More »

06

Module 6: Preview – Make sure your garden looks right and has room to grow

Place your plants (still in their containers) in the bed and space them as the label indicates using the enclosed tape measure. When measuring the …

Module 6: Preview – Make sure your garden looks right and has room to grow Read More »

07

Module 7: Plant – Install plants of all types and sizes

You should be ready to plant now. Follow the directions on the plant label, if provided. Use a shovel or hand trowel to dig holes. …

Module 7: Plant – Install plants of all types and sizes Read More »

08

Module 8: Maintain – watering to winterizing and everything in between

A clean garden is not like a clean room. A mulch will fade, weeds will crop up, and your sharp edges will blur. Your goal …

Module 8: Maintain – watering to winterizing and everything in between Read More »

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