Need help with my backyard plants that never flourish


I would like to request for your guidance.
So I live in Vaughan ON and my backyard, when ever I plant anything. It doesn’t flourish or they just die. Could you suggest somethimg please. I am submitting pictures, if I am doing anything wrong. My strawberry plant died too.Plz let me know.
Thanks so much


Hello Saima – Thanks for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners and sending along a photo of your garden.  From your photo, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t be able to find plants that would thrive in your garden.  The key is to understand the growing conditions you have and then choose plants that do best in these conditions.

The first consideration is hardiness.  Canada uses a formula of 7 climate variables to define a series of climate zones.  Our hardiness map is divided into 9 zones, from 0 which is the harshest to 8 which is the mildest.  Vaughan is in zone 6. If you want plants that will survive our Canadian winters, be sure to select plants that are hardy to zone 6.  If you’d like to read more about hardiness zones, click here to access an earlier response on this topic.

The second consideration is light. Is this a full sun location which means it receives at least 6 hours of direct sun a day or part shade, receiving at least 3-6 hours of direct sun per day?  Plants that don’t receive their optimum light requirements may not die but they will not be as vigorous and produce fewer flowers.

The next consideration is moisture and this pertains more to the texture of your soil rather than how much you water your plants.  The soil texture is determined by the proportion of clay, silt and sand in your soil.  The texture of your soil will determine how well it drains.  The best soil has a balance of these particles referred to as loam. A soil with a high proportion of clay will not allow moisture to easily move through it.  Plants growing in these conditions, will have their roots sitting in water for lengthy periods as the moisture slowly drains.  A high proportion of sand causes the soil to dry out very quickly.  You can do a simple test to assess your soil texture. Pick up a handful of soil and wet it a little.  Squeeze the soil in your hand. Open your hand. If the soil crumbles, you have sand. If the clump holds together, poke it. If it crumbles, you have loam. If the clump holds firm, you have a clay soil.  Note that you can improve the texture of your soil over time through the addition of organic matter such as compost or composted manure.

Finally, as your garden is surrounded by lawn on three sides, any watering and fertilizing of your lawn could also be affecting your garden.

When shopping for plants, the plant label will specify the hardiness, light and moisture requirements.  You can have fun searching the internet to find appropriate plants for your conditions.  Search on something like ‘hardy perennials for moist shade’.  We’d also be happy to make some plant suggestions if you specify your conditions and the types of plants you are looking for.

I hope you have better success with your next plant selections.

June 29, 2021