All plants have evolved within a habitat that suits their needs and allows them to multiply. Placing a plant in an area for which is not suited will eventually lead to the loss of the plant. In naturalistic gardening we choose plants to suit the native soil, and only on rare occasions do we modify the the soil that exists. But soil is only one part of plant requirements.
We also need to be concerned about patterns of light, moisture and the seasonal climate. Now this is not to say that plants are delicate things and that they drop dead the moment their environment changes beyond an narrow norm – most plants have significant tolerance in the conditions they will grow in. But the consequences of the wrong plant in he wrong place leads to stress, which increases the chance of diseases taking hold, and perhaps to the loss of the plant.
After a year’s recorded observation in the garden, you should be quite familiar with the different “micro-habitats” that can be found throughout the property. Regions of shade, dryness or continual moisture, once the bane of the traditional gardener, can now be exploited rather than feared. Using a comprehensive perennial resource book or web site, you can now begin your search for suitable specimens.
Having found the suitable plants, it is seldom sufficient to plant only one of each. In the naturalistic garden planting, full ground coverage by vegetation is the goal and any open soil is an anathema- open soil leads to weed invasion. It is here that mulching shows its worth: all soil which is not planted or where you are waiting for new growth to fill in, must by properly mulched.