By Jeff Ray

(CBSDFW.COM) – As your garden grows, experience grows your wisdom. You learn (usually the hard way) what plants work where across your yard.

Time teaches you what plants age well. As your working inventory of potential plants expands you can start playing with relationships between them. Does plant A look good next to plant B? Do they have the same sun or water requirements?

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An integral skill to nice looking landscapes is to work shapes, hues and textures in your landscape in a pleasing form. This is where art lay for all to see while your sweat and tears remain hidden from view.

I should tell you right away, I steal all my combination ideas. I am a big bike rider (every summer I train for the Hotter Than Hell bike ride in Wichita Falls at the end of August). As I tool around in neighborhoods all I seem to look at is the landscapes.

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If I see a nice combination of plants sitting side-by-side, I’ll stop and take a picture. This source pales in comparison from where I do most of my thieving — local botanic gardens. Yes, I let the pros do the thinking for me and simply try to duplicate their success. I have no shame.

This weeks story interviews Fort Worth Botanic Garden veteran Steve Huddleston, he gave me a tour of the Learning Center building and how size, shape and color drive the design. It is a quick review to a long haul vision you slowly build for your own yard.

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We are getting into the real heat of summer now. This is the time to water frequently. I like to hand water. Why? Because the best thing you can put in your garden is your shadow.