Social Network Planting

By Amy Voight, A Team Landscaping, Inc

Our human social networks can complement our everyday lives by helping us achieve success, pushing us to go further, lifting us up in encouragement or just being a listening ear when we need to vent. Our chosen online platforms help us tomingle with others that have similar 

interests and invite them into our lives.

Plants do the same type of thing, and harmony describes the plant world social network. When plants are thoughtfully chosen and planted, management becomes less stressful because the focus can be on the whole garden instead of individual plants. This concept of plant communities instead of individual elements creates sustainable gardens that use less water, are visually stimulating and require less maintenance overall once established.

The use of “green mulch,” which refers to groundcover plants, shades the soil and aids in preventing weeds and loss of water due to evaporation. Some of the great plants that fit the groundcover category are: low sedge grass such as Pennsylvania Sedge, strawberries, self-seeding columbines, woodland poppies and prairie dropseed grass.

Your garden can reflect your personality just like your profile and/or picture on your social network site does. Color choices, accent pieces, leaf shapes and more can all play a role in representing your creative self (or, with the help of a landscape designer, the creative person you are deep down).

Plants have grown in their communities since the beginning of time and do many things in support of each other. Think of prairies and how grasses and wildflowers combine to create expanses of “groundcover” in the heat of full sun and blowing wind. Prairies usually fade into woodland edges (often called savannahs) and different set of plants are present with the introduction of shade. Woodlands then rely on a high tree canopy that creates shade almost the entire day to the understory trees and shrubs, ferns, wildflowers and sedges at the forest floor. These inspirations in nature can be applied to our own urban plantings that surround our homes and businesses and through creative design and educated choices will be beautiful and sustainable.

As you think about your landscape and gardens this year, find out how your current plants (or desired new ones) can benefit from giving them a “social network”’ and implement the right community for the long-term health of the environment. Also take time to sit and recharge, observe the “community” in your own yard and learn from the interactions within nature that seem so simple yet can be highly complex but take place for the ultimate health of all its members. Create your landscape to give back!

Amy Voight, CNLP, Landscape Project Manager/Designer at A•Team Landscaping, Inc, a division of Voight Home Improvements, Inc., can be found at ateamlandscape.com or amy@vhiinc.com.