Unfortunately when I purchased shrubs this year I didn't give it much thought except to know not to buy something that would grow to monumental proportions in a small amount of space. I wanted shrubs that would eventually provide height and a different dimension to the backyard garden. That's not what I purchased so I will work on this for next year. I do have a camellia. My mother lives in Philly but she also has a home in Georgia where she was born. She has the most beautiful blue hydrangeas and other mature bushes, trees, and shrubs. Last Summer she sent me 2 hollies 1 for her and 1 for me. She also sent me a blue hydrangea and a crape myrtle. The crape myrtle is doing well but the hollies didn't make it. I should of kept them on the sun porch instead of outside. I have read that when purchasing shrubs or perennials to buy the largest size you can afford although this is debatable. I was pleased to see how well the 4" potted plants did once planted and they do catch up quickly to already established full sized plants.
When I rearranged my front outside bed this Spring, I dug up my balloon flowers. I accidentally chop into what looked like a white parsnip looking thing in 4 pieces. I thought oh I have definitely killed it but no, it's doing well. I planted each piece and each piece was a new flower. I learned something new. I learned that it's okay to move plants around and rearrange them and actually take plants out that don't work. What I take out can be given to someone else who wants it. My garden including the front flower bed did not look well last year. My father was very sick and gardening was not a priority. When I did have time last Winter I thought about what I wanted to do differently and it came out okay but not exactly what I had planned. I wanted stachy across the from of the bed, geraniums behind them, canna along the boarder in the back since they are tall. Well out of 8 stachy (lambs ears) I planted, only 3 survived. I gave 2 to my mother and I kept 1. Hers are beautiful and mine is doing well also. I refused to buy any to fulfill what I had planned. I realized that this may have not been realistic given the small amount of space. Canna are large and take up a lot of space and I didn't buy the dwarf one I was supposed to order. I did plant one but it didn't come up. I think I left it in the package on my porch too long and it may have rotted. I removed the lirope and moved the coneflower to another spot. See how it looked last Summer, bad but much improved this year. Next year I plan to remove the sedum and plant a different type. I also have a peony that only has ever had 2 blooms since it's been there. I will take her out but I have to keep it because my mother gave it to me.