How much did you spend the last time you went to the garden centre?

from The Weatherstaff PlantingPlanner – intelligent garden design software

Did you just cast your eyes down and look a little bit sheepish then?

Plants are enticing, beguiling little things. They whisper: “Buy me! Put me in your trolley! See that gorgeous little flowery thing over there which matches my colours so beautifully. Buy us both! And you too will have an award-winning show garden border in your back yard.”

In May 2014, the Independent wrote that Britons will spend an average of £30,000 on their gardens over a lifetime, with a third of that amount going on plants, “often fuelled by impulse buys on garden centre visits”. That figures…

Planting plan for a show garden
Who wants a show garden in their back yard?

I remember a friend of mine proudly showing off her flower bed to me. She’d just moved in to her new house by the sea and was keen to plant up the long border in the narrow back garden. It was looking fantastic. She’d gone to the garden centre, she told me, and spent a small fortune – but it was all worth it, because here was her garden transformed into something that wouldn’t look out of place at Chelsea.

Except that, just like the spring-time show gardens, her garden border wasn’t designed to last very long either.

The following year, it looked dull and despondent. Most of the plants had died. Some were
annuals in the first place, so couldn’t have been expected to put in an appearance the following spring. Some just couldn’t cope with the salt-laden air or exposed position. (The fact that she didn’t actually know how to look after them didn’t help either!)

My friend admitted that she couldn’t possibly afford to spend the huge amount of money she’d spent the previous year on an annual basis. She was planning on getting some utilitarian ground cover plants in to fill the space.

Garden from Weatherstaff Planting Planner
How do you get a planting plan that lasts?

This was a useful lesson for us when we set about transforming our own garden borders a year or two later. Determined to make sure that every living thing I planted had the best possible chance of survival, I did my research, reading every gardening book I could lay my hands on and poring over my enormous Plant Encyclopaedia – weighty enough to hold down a small potting shed in a hurricane. I made lists of possible flower bed beauties, then scratched them all out and made new lists in my efforts to create a successful planting plan. Read about it here.

Now I felt I knew a bit more about plants – the difference between perennials and biennials, how some loved acidic and others needed alkaline soil, that some were more demanding than others, some were great for attracting wildlife, lots were poisonous.

But I was no garden designer… And that was why a trolley load of plants does not a show garden make!

Winter scene
What’s your garden like in winter?

I realised I hadn’t really considered structural planting – important in the summer months and essential in the winter. My garden was missing a focal point – a specimen small tree or shrub to draw the eye. Buying a collection of plants in the spring meant that they all flowered beautifully in the spring, but there was no tapestry of colours and textures, changing and performing in succession throughout the seasons. There was a bit more to this than I first thought!

The Weatherstaff PlantingPlanner - garden design software
The Weatherstaff PlantingPlanner – a virtual garden designer

That’s when the idea for the Weatherstaff PlantingPlanner was born. We decided we needed to create garden design software that would select the right plants for your garden’s conditions and arrange them with the eye of a virtual designer.

The program chooses plants for all-year-round interest, so that your borders are not a one-season wonder. It also gives you the opportunity to select your favourite garden style and colour palette, as well as providing family-friendly, wildlife-friendly and low maintenance options.

If you are going to spend your hard-earned money on transforming your garden, you need to make sure the money is spent on those plants which will not only thrive in your location but will also look stunning all year round. The Weatherstaff PlantingPlanner will show you how.

Don’t forget – the Weatherstaff PlantingPlanner also makes a great gardening gift! Buy it for the gardeners in your life and they can enjoy designing their own garden borders with the help of its built-in intelligence and interactive features.

The Weatherstaff Team