This time of year most people love to add a splash of color in the front or spruce up a section of the garden with some new plants.  Before you head out to the nursery you should at least take some mental notes and make some general decisions. For example, are you looking for annuals or perennials? What location? Are you looking for shade, partial shade, or full sun plant material?  Size and shape, ie. growth habit of the plant material, is an important consideration – basically, are you looking for something that will grow tall or stay low and spread?  Evergreen or deciduous? Color preference? Soil type and water needs?

For a seasoned gardener, many of these considerations are automatic and instinctive. However, for a novice gardener or those prone to impulsive purchases (like myself…), thinking about these specifications in advance will save you LOTS of money, especially when you are dealing with perennials, trees or shrubs.  For example, a tree planted on the wrong side of the yard can die simply from not enough or too much sun. Or, a large fast-growing tree planted in the wrong location can cause serious damage to pavement or underground systems.

Annuals tend to be a little less risky and expensive since they only live for one growing season. On the other hand, annuals only live for one growing season…so they are less economical in the long run.  Spend some time to think about your needs, talk to your local nurseryman and read the tags!