Why is my "soil type" important?
A majority of plaints will be quite happy growing in any fairly well-drained soil, however there are some plants for instance that will actually thrive in boggy, wet soils, such as the Flag Iris and there are others that are lime hating plants that need a more acidic soil. To explain this in a bit more detail, soil types usually refers to the consistency of the soil, its moisture level and the soil pH.
The soil pH is simply a number that describes how acid or alkaline your soil is. A pH of 7 is neutral, below 7 is acidic and above 7 is alkaline. When planning a garden this can be important as certain plants prefer and acidic soil, such as rhododendrons and camellias whilst there are some that thrive in more alkaline soils such as lilac. It is well worth taking the time to invest in an inexpensive soil testing kit just to be clear as to the plants that do well in your garden. When doing so its also worth testing several areas of your garden as some areas may have a different soil pH to others.
In terms of consistency, this can range from a very sandy, loose soil type, through more loam based soils to heavy clay. Again, this can determine the types of plants that will thrive in your garden. For instance, more mediterranian plants like lavender and rosemary prefer a more free draining loose soil, whereas others like Mahonia or Buddleja will tolerate clay soils.
So, in order to get the best from your garden and have the most success with your plants, it is well worth getting to know your soil!