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Fatsia japonica 'Camouflage'
Ask your plants: "What have you done for me lately?"
It's a fair question.

The universe of plants is vast but space is tight, so plants are asked to work hard to retain their coveted position in my garden.

And they've gotta be a top performer to make the grade. With larger trees and shrubs, I'm especially choosy; smaller plants get a bit more leeway and that's what I call "the Goodness Ratio.

The Goodness Ratio boiled down: the bigger the plant, the higher the bar.

How does a plant make the cut, you ask?

▶︎ It gives more than it takes. The enjoyment it gives and the function it contributes is commensurate with the amount of effort and resources it requires. I'm talking maintenance, water needs, pest resistance, etc. If coddling is required, it usually gets the boot.

▶︎ It has a job to do, and it does it well. For example, a groundcover stabilizing the soil, a hedge dividing space, or a tree screening an unsightly view.

▶︎ It contributes in an off-season, when we're hungry for color, with decorative stems, bark, berries, or bloom.

▶︎ Multi-season performance: it looks good over a long period and year-round appeal is the gold standard. Do keep in mind, making the cut isn't based solely on good looks. As seen above, performance can be interpreted as fulfilling a function.

But I'm not an ogre. If a plant makes you happy every time you look at it, that counts too—it's your garden, you get to decide where and how high you place that bar.
Until next time, enjoy your garden!
Top picks from eGardenGo for multi-season appeal:
Front Yard Worthy Plant Combo
This front-yard-worthy planting combination looks good year-round, thanks to careful plant selection.

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