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Cultivate some local experts

What's better than the internet? People whose brains you can pick for local information. Might be a neighbor, or one of the Master Gardeners in your area or the manager of a local nursery. When you need a run down on a specific plant, search the web. When you need info on your micro-climate and soil, ask an experienced gardener. And while you're at it, you get mini-lessons on pruning and planting.

Nursery professionals are often the most convenient, available all week and eager to talk to customers as long it's not spring rush. Save your questions for summer or fall. Yes, they'll steer you toward plants they stock, and the prices are a little higher than the box stores, but you pay for what you get and that's plants that have been cared for well and information you can trust.

Remember that every gardener has had experiences with different plants and they all have a slightly different slant on gardening. Don't expect them to all agree!

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