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Janice Peterson: When it comes to planting, are you a planner or a plopper?

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Janice Peterson
August 13, 2014

There are two kinds of gardeners: “planners” and “ploppers”. Planners create a well thought-out design and execute according to plans. Ploppers randomly throw plants in the ground. I admit I tend to be a plopper even though the results are often less than desirable. The best gardens have some thought behind them, so I try very hard to be a planner.

Several years ago my husband created a wonderful garden bed in a sunny part of our yard, complete with stone edging. We dubbed it “Mike's berm” and I had free reign to plant it however I liked. The first thing I did was layer in spring blooming bulbs. This was a great idea (thanks, Mark Dwyer!) and I have a beautiful, no-fuss spring display every year.

However, my planting of the berm beyond bulbs was less than stellar. I plopped in some perennials, threw in some annuals and generally added any orphan plant I divided or was gifted. It was kind of a mess, and this year I finally decided to create a real perennial garden.

First I wrote a wish list of all the plants I wanted to include. I actually created a spreadsheet, and listed each plant's height, spread and flowering time. I narrowed my list down to about a dozen varieties and drew up a plan. Next I removed all existing plants from the bed (some to be replanted according to The Plan) and prepared the bed for planting. And when I planted, I stuck to The Plan!

I can see there are a few areas that need filling in, and I am waiting for the Rotary Botanical Gardens Fall Plant Sale, September 6 and 7 (click here for more details) to find some intriguing perennials to complete this garden.

Now the hard part – I pledge never to just plunk some random plant in Mike's berm. I promise I will stick to The Plan!


Janice Peterson has worked as a grounds horticulturist at Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville since 2002. She is a master gardener with the Rock Prairie Master Gardener Association. Though her education is in plant science, she considers her love of gardening and strong back to be her true qualifications. Janice is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. Her opinion is not necessarily that of The Gazette staff or management.


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