I enjoy working with plants that are totally familiar. I can recognize them at any stage of their growth, I know how fast they grow, what they combine well with, what conditions they require – everything.
But do I want only to use those plants? Of course not. Using plants that were not familiar is how the plants that are familiar got that way.
Whenever I design a garden I try to use about 10% of plants I’m not familiar with. (With my clients’ knowledge, of course. They usually accept my disclosure when I’m going through the plant list with them.)
I’m not coming from total ignorance. I do a lot of research, formerly using my rather vast library, now more on the internet. But I do know, in an abstract kind of way, what the new (to me) plants will do. I have to say though, that all the research in the world is not the same as seeing and living with a plant, live and in person and hands on.
So here at Timshala, I’ve been putting in several unfamiliar plants – with full approval from my client (that would be me).
These are all plants that are being recommended to me as being suitable for the soil and climate here. And not surprisingly, they are doing beautifully.
And next time I use them, they will no longer be on the list of “Never used that before”. They will have become familiar and I will have to find other plants for the next “Unfamiliars’ list. Yeah!!!