Growing up in central and southern Africa, Phillip got used to the huge variety of plants growing with almost wild abandon. The warmth of the soil seemed to effortlessly squeeze buds out of seeds and all one had to do was water and …. sometimes fertilize.
With a mother running the only florist for miles around, their house was never without the aroma and display of exotic and not so exotic flowers. Tulips from Amsterdam, Protea from the Cape of Good Hope and everything in-between.
The climate-shock of settling in North America with its hardiness zones, in some cases the short growing seasons, and the altogether different zoning in the eastern states and provinces, necessitated quite a challenging learning curve. In time Phillip sought out proven plants from a number of sources to help him in his quest to start and maintain a garden.
In the beginning one of the challenges was to be able to make sense of the vast number of plant varieties available in the average garden nurseries. (The average plant nursery could carry up to 5,000 varieties). For a beginner gardener trying to learn about plants and gardening methods it seemed an almost impossible task. Even the most dedicated and knowledgeable nursery worker simply wouldn’t be in a position to spend the time to assist in the selection of suitable and colorful plants for a garden.
Phillip needed a starting point. Working with Steven Loewen, a college professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario Canada, they developed PlantSwatch. PlantSwatch featured over 230 tried and tested plants, simply categorized by colors and hardiness zones. Plants that would be available in most reputable garden nurseries. We hope you will enjoy it as much as they enjoyed creating it.