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Home Recreate Nature's Woodland Paradise in Your Own Backyard
Recreate Nature's Woodland Paradise in Your Own Backyard PDF Print E-mail

Have you ever been walking though the woods admiring the plant life around you, thinking how beautiful it would look in your home garden?

No matter how beautiful the plants are, you should never dig them up to take home.

Here are some tips on how you can bring back the ideas found in nature and recreate their effect in your home garden.

Transplanting Wild Plants

The plants you see in nature most likely will not survive in your home garden environment. A plant grows naturally where it is because the soil Ph is perfect, the sun exposure is just right, and the fungi living in the soil are beneficial. If you take it away from its natural environment, it will not survive.

Instead of trying to move a plant to your home garden, look for a commercially available plant that you can use as a substitute. Many trees simply get too big for a home garden, so look for dwarf versions of your favorite large trees, at your local nursery. Sometimes a totally different plant may give you the effect that you admired so much in nature.

Even a plant that could grow well in your home garden environment may not survive the transplant because of root damage or other trauma from the process. You can find many of these plants at your local nursery to place safely in your home garden.

Recreating the Effect

In spring, wild dogwoods decorate the woods with their beautiful blooms, enticing you to uproot them for transplanting in your home garden. Don’t be tempted, these trees have very fragile root systems.

You can purchase white dogwood trees (Cornus florida) at most nurseries. These are essentially the same tree that grows wild. However, the white dogwood is very susceptible to disease, so we suggest substituting the Chinese dogwood (Cornus kousa. It flowers 2-4 weeks after the white dogwood, has fewer disease problems and is more drought-tolerant.

Mountain laurels are beautiful flowering shrubs that grow in dry, rocky soil on slopes and stream banks all along the east coast; they need acidic, well-aerated soil to survive. Even if your home garden can provide these conditions, mountain laurel roots are fragile, so the shrub wouldn’t survive the move.

Mountain laurels are also commercially available, but they require very specific garden conditions. You can substitute a rhododendron with white flowers to get the same effect. Rhododendrons are available in a multitude of sizes, shapes, and colors. They need well-drained soil, and protection from the hot sun in the afternoon.

Wild ferns have complicated root systems that intertwine with the roots of the surrounding plants. If you try to dig one up, you will not only destroy that plant, but also the surrounding ones.

You will find many different types of ferns available at your local nursery or at online retailers. They are available with many interesting textures and colors. You're sure to find some that will give you the same feel as those you came across in the forest.

Many other wild plants and trees have been domesticated and are being sold commercially, including:

Red Cedar
Eastern Redbud
Mountain Myrtle
Wild Hydrangea
Flame Azalea
Mountain Winterberry
Smooth Sumac
Brown Sedge
Switch Grass
Creeping Phlox
Foam Flower
Winter Creeper
Passion Flower
many types of wildflowers
and much more.

Before you start digging, look at your local nursery to see what’s offered. You will be surprised at the selection of plants available to help you create your woodland paradise. Remember to take your camera with you on your next nature walk because pictures will help to capture the feel of the area.

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Want To Use This Article in your E-zine, Website or Publication? Yes, you may use the text but not the pictures. Also, you must provide the following copyright notice and information about the author: © Peter Bochenek & Associates, Inc., 2007. All Rights Reserved. The author is Gay Enright. She is a garden writer and designer who can be contacted at her website, www.myidealgarden.com, which is dedicated to helping its visitors have a home garden they’ll always love.