I confess: I am a repeat offender of The Rule Against Onesies.
When I first began gardening, my cousin the landscape architect (hi, cuz!) laid down the design law: don't plant single examples of plants around your garden. Instead, plant in groups for impact, and always in odd numbers to avoid things looking too regimented.
I've had this lesson reinforced to me many times over the years, and the pros definitely know. I've seen enough violations--my own and others--to deny the truth. So why do I continually break this rule, over and over and over?
Impulse buying. Those who know me well know I can spend hours at a time snooping around the garden center, my face covered in pollen as I literally stick my nose into every promising blossom. I may have come for a bag of garden soil, but I'll be leaving with a cart full of random plants that are "so pretty"! However, since I have no real plan regarding what to do with them, I've only bought one each--because who knows where I'll be able to fit them in at home?
I have learned my lesson, somewhat. Those single perennials who looked okay in my little square patch at the townhouse look like little orphans lost in the mulch in my big beds at the little blue house. To be fair, I inherited a bunch of onesies when we first moved in, so I'm not responsible for most of them . In fact, I've divided a good many of the little fellers to remedy the situation.
But then there were shrubs.
My beds are way too big to fill with just flowers. They need some anchors. They need some shrubs!
Problem is, well, the same as before: I see, I impulse-buy ("so pretty!"), I have no plan. Now I don't impulse-buy to the same degree as I used to with the perennials--after all, shrubs aren't $5 each, and I was brought up to be a thrifty girl. But even so, I've ended up with quite a few singletons when it comes to my shrubs: nandina, mahonia, St. John's wort, beauty berrry, forsythia, broom, abelia, virburnum, boxwood... And just a month or two ago, a Mugo pine, a goldthread cypress, a bluestar juniper, and a... a... another thing that was 100% impulse buy and I have no idea what it's called (but it's PRETTY!). Oh, and that other one that was reddish and droopy; what was its name? (Also SO pretty!)
Right now my yard probably sounds pretty crazy-looking, but I swear, somehow it works.