There’s nothing like seeing plants in the wild to give you an idea of how to grow them. It’s worth taking seriously the dictum ‘right plant, right place’ though of course there are always surprises. Everyone knows Heuchera villosa ‘Palace Purple’, that unappealing burgundy-leaved stalwart of the perennial border (okay, I grudgingly admit that it’s a good foil to the zingy Tradescantia in the pic below), but the species is lovely, with sprays of delicate green-white flowers above neat hummocks of hairy fresh green foliage. In the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina I only saw it in extremely wet seeps but in south east England it is surprisingly happy in dry part-shade under birch and oak trees. It rapidly makes quite large (easily controlled) colonies and provides long-lasting mid- to late-summer interest.
I’m a trustee of the Merlin Trust, which gives grants to young professional horticulturists so that they can travel, either to visit gardens or to see plants in the wild. I wrote about the organisation for the Alpine Gardener (the journal of the Alpine Garden Society) and you can read the piece here.