Friday, May 18th, 2012...5:46 am

Planting in Wind Swept Areas

Wind Swept by druss101

TheGardenLady received this question from Joyce.

I have a small garden bed at the front of my house. It gets the sun in the morning only, and it’s very opened to the wind.  Could you recommend any plants I could get to make it nice and colorful.

Wind swept areas are difficult planting areas. The wind not only batters many plants but windy areas will experience drier soil conditions. But for anyone to give you answers to what might grow in your garden, you really have to provide more information.

When trying to recommend any plants to grow in your garden, it would help to know what Hardiness Temperature Zone you live in. Not all plants grow in all Temperature Zones.  Another thing that would help in suggesting plants that might grow for you would be to talk about your soil. Are you living in a windswept coastal area with sandy soil? Or are you in a windswept area with prairie soil? What type of soil is in the area where you have your garden- also what is your soil pH and what direction is your garden facing.  How many hours of sun does the plant get in the morning? Does it get 3 hours or 6 hours of morning sun? The more sun you get, the more options you have to plant flowering plants. Your garden might be more conducive for plants that are grown for their foliage.

Without the above knowledge, I would suggest you try to get the answer for the plants that will grow in your garden by yourself. For example, you walk around your neighborhood and look at your neighbors’ gardens. See if any neighbor has a plant that you like that would look pretty in your garden. Your neighbor has a similar environment to yours, so if it grows well in his or her garden, it will probably grow well in your garden. When you next see your neighbor outdoors, tell the neighbor how beautiful the plant is and ask him or her what the name of the plant is. Gardeners are proud of their gardens and seem to love to talk about the plants in their garden. Write down the name and maybe the nursery where the plant was purchased. That is a beginning for your choosing plants.

Next drive around your neighborhood to see if there are plants you like that grow locally in parks. Take photos of the plants if you do not know their names. Then go to your local nurseries or garden centers to see if they have the plants you have seen and liked. You can also ask the nursery people if they have plants that will grow in your area. Nurseries generally sell plants that will be happy in your area even with the wind and then you can tell them the amount of light your garden gets and the soil in your garden. Read the labels on the plants to see if the plant needs full sun or will thrive in partial shade. Since you have only morning sun, don’t buy any plant that needs to be in full sun. Buy the plants with labels that say partial sun or partial shade. Before you buy the plant, talk to the sales person and ask if the plant is hardy in your area with the harsh winds. If you go to a good nursery, the people who work there are generally knowledgeable about the plants they sell. They want you to be happy with your purchase so that you will come back to buy more plants, so they will tell you all that you need to know about the plant. If they sell you a plant that dies, they know you will not return to buy more plants and you will tell your friends not to shop there. If you go to a store that does not specialize in selling only plants but does sell a few plants,  like a supermarket or a chain store, you might get a cheap plant but the people won’t know anything about the plants they sell and won’t be able to give you any advice.

Call your local Master Gardener Office and ask them your question. They will be able to give you advice about good plants for your area that has winds and only morning sun.

Another suggestion would be to try to build barriers that stop the wind from blowing so hard on your property. You might consider building fences, screens or hedges that can soften the impact of the wind in your yard. Open fences and screens are preferable to solid barriers.

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