Planting in Threes: The Argument For… As with any large-scale project, it is crucial to ensure we have an appropriate provision of supplies before commencing the endeavour. This is doubly the case when crafting a garden. Where other craft or DIY projects might not be time-sensitive, the same cannot be said for a garden. Between the turning of the seasons, accessibility based on weather conditions and the time it takes to plan, prep and plant, creating the ideal garden creates a whole host of issues that cannot be avoided. They can, however, be mitigated.
The number three is not considered a popular number in social situations. Whether this is in regard to the awkwardness of being a “third wheel”, the myth of bad news coming in threes, or certain nationalities holding three to be an unlucky number, we have always had an uneasy relationship with the digit. However, when it comes to horticultural matters, buying plants in threes can bring with it some tangible benefits.
There are the obvious points to start with; when crafting an image from your garden, prominence of shapes and colours plays a starring role. It can be hard to generate the right mix of colours using only individual plants; one shade can easily drown out another. Therefore, buying three of a kind allows for a stronger representation of that colour or profile, allowing you to achieve a prominent final look. This can be done through dispersal, placing the plants throughout a row or as part of a medley, or by growing them in neat, colour coordinated rows.
To return to the point made in the introduction, meanwhile, buying in bulk ahead of time will also allow for failures in growth; planting a single seed of a single species of flower will in no way guarantee the successful development of that plant. Planting in threes is, in effect, a way of hedging your bets and ensuring at least one of the crop will grow, otherwise, you face the prospect of waiting another season before finalising your garden design.
Planting in threes brings additional benefits beyond those mentioned based around the imaginative way they can be placed. Planting three in a row can be dull and uninspiring, however, planting in a triangular formation can help introduce a diversity of features to your garden. This can be particularly effective when you’re trying to create depth in your garden; taller plants can offset the smaller ones, larger ones can provide bulk in an otherwise thin dispersal of delicate flowers. Although while on this topic, be sure to space out the plants themselves for the obvious reasons of healthy growth and equal access to sunlight and water.
In terms of creativity, there is no need to stop at artful arrangement. Planting in threes does not necessarily refer only to the plants themselves; garden ornaments such as sundials or birdbaths could easily be incorporated to complete the trio, as much of a stretch as this may be to some.