Ask a Question forum: How to choose the best flower plants for garden

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Name: jeson martin
florida
jesonmartin45
Dec 17, 2013 7:51 AM CST
Hey all ..i've just started with gardening .. it feels good.
Just want my garden to look better..
Any tips for what is best roses and any other flower plants that can help me to do the same.
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Cat Lover
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Xeramtheum
Dec 17, 2013 8:26 AM CST
Welcome to our world! One of the most wondrous things about gardening is that it's not permanent. Plants can be moved. I know how you're feeling .. like a deer in the headlights! All these plants and what to do with them. You will never be finished with your garden. It's an ongoing project forever.

Start off with looking at other gardens and how they are laid out. I'd be willing to bet there are a number of books on landscaping in your public library. They will give you ideas on how to put it all together.

One way to keep from being overwhelmed, divide your space into rooms/sections and go from there and start off with plants in containers so they are easy to move around. Through experience you'll find out what works and what doesn't work for you. And as I said, plants are very movable. I have one Confederate Rose that had been dug up and moved 8 times before I finally found a place that worked for it and me.

Gardening is purely subjective.
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

Unknown

Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
Dec 17, 2013 9:40 AM CST
Also, look around your neighborhood for plants you like in the neighbors' yards. If you feel comfortable with it, knock on the doors and ask the owners for the names. Talk to the staff at a local nursery. You need plants that will do well in your climate and soil type. Could talk to the county agricultural extension office, too, for their recommendations. Would help to know what your growing zone is to determine what plants will be happy. For roses, do you want shrub roses, tea roses? There are a dozen David Austin roses listed for zones 9 and 10, all shrub. If you want low/no maintenance, try Kordes roses. Knockout roses are often recommended, so you might want to look those up, as well.
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
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Dutchlady1
Dec 17, 2013 9:50 AM CST
Welcome! and I agree, the best way is to look what others in your area are growing successfully.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Dec 17, 2013 10:19 AM CST
I agree with all of the above...and Welcome! from our frozen corner of the US! Another little trick you could try without leaving the comfort of your computer is to go to the member list (the link is down at the very bottom of the page) and look for members in your area (enter your zip code in the search box). Then you can look at their profiles to see if they've added any Multi-Plant photos, and if so you can click on that and see what they have planted together. Green Grin!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Dec 17, 2013 11:03 AM CST
Find a close-by nursery you like and buy one flowering plant every month. Instant gratification and you will begin creating a multi-season garden.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
Dec 17, 2013 1:18 PM CST
woofie, you are brilliant. Thumbs up
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Dec 17, 2013 4:22 PM CST
woofie: I am lazy. Hilarious!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Dec 17, 2013 7:25 PM CST
Hi Jeson! Welcome to ATP.

I started listing the ideas above that I thought were great, but I listed them all. Those guys are smart.

If you list a more detailed address, other ATP members who live near you can find you. Some day you might want to get together to swap seedlings, cuttings or plants if you can all meet at a big parking lot or fast food place.

Also, when you look at member's plant lists, sometimes they list them in categories like "have seeds to swap" or "want to swap plants". That way, you know the plants do well in your soil and climate, and you have a local source for advice.

I want to add a vote for checking out your neighbors' gardens. A knock on the door if they like surprises is a great way to make a gardening friend: praising someone's garden is like praising their children. Immediately they will know that you are wise and discerning.

I'm not so sure about walking onto their property and leaning over a fence. Admiring from the road is good, waving at them in the yard is good.

Leaving a note in a mailbox is the least intrusive way to introduce yourself. Not everyone likes having a stranger show up on their doorstep, knocking on the door.

A note saying you wish you could see their garden up close some day at their convenience, with your phone number and email is more likely to make a positive first impression on someone who is shy or territorial. And you can write it out before leaving home.

Many people do not bother with exact plant names and won't be able to tell you what exact cultivar or species something is. Some people get defensive if you ask for Latin names. take a photo and ask back here in the Plant ID forum!

They might offer you a cutting or a seed-head so you can grow it without ever knowing the name ... but some people are possessive of their prize plants.

You might want to wait a few visits before asking for favors like cuttings. Maybe wait until after you have something to offer them (seeds, compost, manure, leaves, clean pots, rooted cuttings or divisions of plants) or loan (like a wagon or watering plants while they're on vacation).

Asking for a cutting or division 2-3 visits AFTER you offered them some things is a classy way to avoid being thought of as pushy.

On the other hand, asking for advice like "How DO you get them to grow so big?" is more like giving them a gift, than asking for a favor!

[Last edited by RickCorey - Dec 17, 2013 7:34 PM (+)]
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Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
Dec 17, 2013 8:22 PM CST
I agree I agree I agree I agree I agree I agree I agree I agree
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
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flaflwrgrl
Dec 17, 2013 8:51 PM CST
Hi Jeson! And Welcome! Welcome! to ATP.

Jeson, we have lots of members in Florida. why don't you come join us over in the Fl. forum
http://garden.org/forums/view/florida/
We'd love to help you. Big Grin
And please do make a point to post in this thread where we do a lot of sharing of what's in our gardens:
The thread "What's in your Florida Garden?" in Florida Gardening forum

I might add that it really would help a lot if you posted your general location in the state. Florida is such a long state that we cover zones 8 - 11. But many of us have lived somewhere else in the state at some time so we are familiar with different areas & what grows there even if we don't live there anymore.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Peter
(Zone 9a)
The only scarce resource is time
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Cantillon
Dec 17, 2013 8:53 PM CST
Hi Jeson, welcome to ATP,

I guess it is important not to over reach yourself when you start gardening, and commit yourself to too many plants and too many beds. Have a little success with a finite manageable area, rather than a large amount of work that takes a couple of seasons to mature into anything.

Also only spend one hour in a nursery for each 8 hours in your garden. It is easy to spend money and end up with plants you don't know what to do with, which then die in pots. However wandering around nurseries with your hands in your pockets for hours and days is a great investment.

Before you do a lot of gardening, do a little, maybe with a bed that is 8ft long by three feet wide.

* Mark out the bed and watch the sun go around it. What goes in the bed should fit the light and sun hitting it.
* Next consider the ground you are putting the plants into, and invest time in it improving it and making it a tremendous medium in which to plant. It makes the bed easier to work with every day you plant and weed.
* Buy great plants, healthy young well grown plants, and maybe pay an extra dollar to support a proper nursery and get ten dollars of free advice every day you go there.
* Have a watering point nearby to the bed.
* Pick a plant you like, and learn a lot about it, history, famous garden examples, best growers, investigate and choose a couple of smashers preferably plants with awards or with the Award of Garden Merit from the RHS ( see Royal Horticultural Society website).
* Gardeners are generous people, with advice , encouragement, and plant gifts, so join a society, find some kindred spirits near you, and join the community.

I bought a couple of nice miniature Japanese acers, and brought them back when all the leaves dried up and dropped off. It was humiliating to be told they were deciduous, so there aren't any mistakes you will make that we didn't all make, and there aren't any stupid questions.

Grow beautiful plants that make you happy every time you see them, and remember, gardening is a journey, not an event. There is no rush.

There is a Rose forum on this site, and like all the separate fora, some people know a lot, and they help everybody else.

I tip my hat to you.







Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Organic Gardener Garden Sages Birds Frogs and Toads Plant Identifier
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terrafirma
Dec 18, 2013 12:00 PM CST
Whew! Excellent info from everyone! All I can add is I agree & Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! Jump right on in, and have fun! Happy gardening!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Dec 18, 2013 12:49 PM CST
Cantillon said:

I guess it is important not to over reach yourself when you start gardening, and commit yourself to too many plants and too many beds. Have a little success with a finite manageable area, rather than a large amount of work that takes a couple of seasons to mature into anything.
...
* Next consider the ground you are putting the plants into, and invest time in it improving it and making it a tremendous medium in which to plant. It makes the bed easier to work with every day you plant and weed.
...
* Have a watering point nearby to the bed.
...
so there aren't any mistakes you will make that we didn't all make, and there aren't any stupid questions.



I agree

I'm very glad that I started gardening with some very easy annuals (Zinnias and Marigolds) and a few vegetables that I liked. I forget what "difficult" plants I tried to start from seed that first year, but the Zinnias and Bok Choy that came up despite rocks and clay still make me smile.

Improve your soil in a small area (raised bed) before buying expensive plants! Or grow in big pots with very well-draining potting soil. Maybe add some small bark nuggets to peat-based commercial potting soil that is too fine and holds too much water.

Or start plants from seeds, if you like fiddling and gadgets and deferred gratification. I guess it is harder than buying plants, but letting go of ten dollars is harder for me than nursing a tray of baby seedlings. it satisfies my maternal instincts AND my cheapness instincts.

First and unavoidably, you need good sun. Plan your beds for where the plants will have enough sun. All too many plants do best only in full sun. If all you have is partial sun, pick your sunniest spots. I guess that will be less of an issue for you in FL than it is for me in the far-North, cloudy PNW.

Maybe drainage matters, but not for everyone. If you have good drainage, like sandy soil, there's no problem. In clay soil, or where there is a high water table, avoid low spots. Put beds up a slope, facing somewhat South if practical. You can impriove the drainage if you have some grade to work with, and can lead excess water away from your root zone, to a lower spot.

You can always make good soil, especially if you have access to raw materials for making compost, or sheet composting, or mulching. ESPECIALLY if you listen to Cantillon and start small. A few square yards is enough for you learn what methods are pleasing to you and seem easy to you. THEN, after you have A System, you can become the Army Corps of Jeson and implement the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

>> Have a watering point nearby to the bed.

YES, especially in hot climates, dry climates, and anywhere the soil does not retain water well (like sandy soil).

If your outdoor water spigot is far from the sunniest, well-drained locations, it's surprisingly cheap to run some 1/2" or 3/4" plastic irrigation mainline from the spigot to the bed, or all around the house. You can have a spigot every 50 feet if you want!

Once you trust the connectors, you can leave the mainline pressurized all the time, and run hoses and have sprinklers, sprayers, drippers, spinners and misters from plastic valves that you've installed wherever you want them.

http://garden.org/ideas/view/RickCorey/1246/More-Spigots-Equ...

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