Plants with Purpose

Plants can be used and viewed as functional objects. They connect the garden together and highlight the visual appeal.  A plant shouldn’t be put in a garden unless it has a purpose.  Some typical plant uses are listed below:



Foliage Colour

Floral display


Softening of garden features

Places for the eye to rest

Plants can be used in masses, others as individual specimens, and others in challenging growing conditions. It is also important to be unsentimental about plants once their purpose has past and then remove them. This helps rejuvenate areas in the garden and helps provide space for new plants. It allows the theme of the garden to continue and flow. The personality of a plant is also an important point to consider. Is the plant best as a lone specimen in a pot or better used continuously throughout a bed for contrast and visual interest?  Plants can help define a space, create and open closed areas as well as frame views. Think about your future plant choice wisely!


Published by

Kirsty Wilson

Horticulture is my inspiration! I am the Herbaceous Supervisor at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Photographer, Award winning Garden Designer, BBC Beechgrove Garden Television Presenter & BBC Radio 4 GQT Panellist. I want to inspire people to grow plants, connect with nature and have a positive impact on the world.

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