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Soliciting opinions: spacing between plants, visual result

West Newton, MA

My annual flower garden is looking pretty good now. I planted seeds from several varieties a bit late, in mid-June, but the most of the plants have good blooms now. I have bachelor's buttons, cosmos, zinnia, marigold, sunflower, calendula and a few others.

I want to solicit people's opinions about the proper spacing between plants. I'm not so much interested in the actual figure of inches or feet for any given flower, as I know this is typically given on the seed packet. I'm more interested in having a general discussion about this issue on a broader botanical and aesthetic level. When I initially planted the seeds I envisioned a wildflower look to the garden: plants close, a profusion of blooms close together, with not a lot of space between plants or flowers. I do like that look as it seems more "natural," visually closer to a field in nature. But I'm also aware that when plants are too close they do compete for water and nutrients. Each plant then suffers and perhaps doesn't produce as many blooms as it would if it had more space to itself.

When the plants are farther apart, the garden has a tidy, clean look to it but sometimes the feeling is too "finished" a look.

I'd love to hear some comments about this issue. Which look do you like and what do you do to achieve it? Have you found that putting plants too close together genuinely does result in each producing fewer blooms? Are you content with that in order to have a more natural, wild look? Or do you prefer the cleaner, more finished look you get by spacing your plants farther apart which also gives you more blooms per plant? Or something else?

This message was edited Aug 26, 2015 12:58 AM

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