Garden Rooms forum: What are your garden plans for 2015?

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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Jan 17, 2015 7:24 AM CST
A new garden room? A new garden bed? An addition to an existing garden area? A removal of something? Would love to hear what is on the horizon for your gardens this year!

I am planning on removing MORE of my front yard lawn to add more raised garden beds! And maybe start developing the partial shade gardens on each side of my house. The backyard is just about done. Since I garden for butterflies and hummingbirds, I shall be adding more nectar plants as well as some plants that "I" like, too!

I hope to post some photos of the progress once I get started!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
(Zone 4b)
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GardenLiz
Jan 18, 2015 8:50 PM CST
It's funny how those yards just shrink and shrink isn't it? Smiling

Ahh plans...I have way too many of those, and too little time to actually make all of them happen. But of course I will still try!

1. I am planning to plant some things in the area that has a few small fruit trees. It is a ways from the house, plus some of the area is covered with weeds and brambles right now. When you mentioned you garden for butterflies and hummingbirds I thought of that area because I would like to grow things that will attract the bees that will be needed in future years to pollinate the fruit trees. I am thinking of wildflowers and perhaps some clovers too. Maybe some butterfly weed too...I got some last year and it was so fun to watch the monarchs visit. The kids really enjoyed keeping track of the one chrysalis we found on it too. Maybe you would have some suggestions Becky for other flowers I should think of adding?

2. Tropical garden. We live in zone 4, but I thought it would be fun and a good challenge to try it out. I already have some of the groundwork and planting done for this one, but my DH needs to cut out some more buckthorn from the area so we can extend it out to the full sun part of the area. I am trying to mostly use hardy plants with big leaves or other tropical qualities, with a few tender tropicals like canna and banana and brugmansia. I planted some ostrich ferns last year and am getting some larger ferns too, plus firecracker vine.

3. Expand our vegetable garden. Last year was the first full year at our new place and we learned a lot about our soil and what grows well here and what does not. We have enough room for everything in our garden except the big vines like squash, pumpkin, etc. I need to find another location on our property for those. Plus our 6 year old is really wanting her own garden this year. Smiling We'll see!

I have other plans too but I think that is enough of a novel for now. I hope others will share their plans too! It is so fun to plan at this time of year.
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
Jan 19, 2015 9:02 AM CST
Welcome, Liz. Welcome! Sounds like you have some great plans.

You could try the plant database for bee-attracting plants. You can select for characteristics that include your zone, height of plant, flower season, size of flowers, color, leaf form, and--of course--bees. Smiling I did a search for minimum Zone 4a and bees only, which generated 5,651 plants. Bet you can find some things you will like.
http://garden.org/plants/search/advanced.php
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Jan 19, 2015 11:57 AM CST
Welcome GardenLiz!!! Always great to have a new member come post on one or more of the forums!

What county and state do you live in? If I have that information, I can hook you up with a website that will tell you exactly what butterflies and host plants you could try growing to attract more butterflies. I currently host 8-9 different species of butterflies in my yard. In Spring through Fall every year, my yard looks like a butterfly habitat. There are so many butterflies in my yard during most of the year. Winter it slows down, but butterflies start showing up come Spring and the show begins once again! I also raise and release some of the butterflies from caterpillars. (We have a wasp problem here and they eat caterpillars! Ugh!) I often find the caterpillars and cage them until they pupated into an adult butterfly to be released in my backyard! I bet your daughter could do that, too! It's very educational to learn about nature and the lifecycle of butterflies.

I just had a Hummingbird Bander come to my yard today and he captured, banded, and released 3 Ruby-throated hummingbirds. It's so cool to see them up close. I got to release them from my hand. Always a thrill! I am sure hummers come your way during some part of the year. I can share with you what plants to grow for hummers, too! I bet your daughter would get a kick out of hummingbirds as well.

Great idea about nectar plants to attract bees! Definitely!!!

I am very interested to hear and see more about your tropical garden! I love that you are trying that in your zone! Very cool!!!!

Vegetable gardening .... ahhhh ... how I wished I could grow such a garden successfully. Climate and soil does not bode too well for that here. Though I do grow some plants like bell peppers and tomatoes. On the otherhand, I do have great luck with herbs grown in my vertical herb garden. See this article I wrote if you are interested in what a "vertical" herb garden looks like:
http://garden.org/ideas/view/beckygardener/1893/Vertical-Her...

I did the vertical garden because herbs are too invasive in the ground here in Florida.

Here is a photo of one of the captured Ruby-throated hummingbirds after being banded before he was set free. You can see the tiny band on his leg.:

Thumb of 2015-01-19/beckygardener/ee356a
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
[Last edited by beckygardener - Jan 19, 2015 12:04 PM (+)]
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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Jan 19, 2015 11:58 AM CST
Debra - Great idea to point Liz to the plant database! Thanks for suggesting she check that out!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
(Zone 4b)
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GardenLiz
Jan 20, 2015 9:05 AM CST
Thanks Debra for alerting me to the plants database. I looked at it and it is indeed very thorough. Smiling I can see myself using that for all sorts of things!

Becky--I can tree-mail you my county and state, that website sounds interesting! 8-9 varieties of butterflies is impressive! I have only seen about 3 different varieties of butterfly in our garden. Monarchs, swallowtail, and one other that I didn't recognize. We had a big butterfly plant right outside our house last summer and there were lots of monarch caterpillars on it, but a strange bug would come and jab them and they would die. I found the bugs and killed them several times but we only got one chrysalis to form and hatch. Then I found the bugs killing the potato beetle larvae in the garden so I decided to let them be as maybe they are a good bug after all. This year I hope to plant lots more of the butterfly weed as I would imagine the more weeds there are, the more butterfly larvae there will be and there will be more survival. The kids love to run out and look at all the caterpillars every day!

It is funny how we have about the opposite problems here--here it is more a case of trying to keep herbs alive (well, except for mint--that can be invasive) than trying to keep them in check. Hah!
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
Image
beckygardener
Jan 20, 2015 9:10 AM CST
Send me your county and state info via tree-mail and I will send you a link for butterflies in your area.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
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lovesblooms
Feb 3, 2015 12:59 PM CST
beckygardener said:I just had a Hummingbird Bander come to my yard today and he captured, banded, and released 3 Ruby-throated hummingbirds. It's so cool to see them up close. I got to release them from my hand. Always a thrill!Thumb of 2015-01-19/beckygardener/ee356a


Not to get off topic, but "Always?" Always??? You do this on a regular basis? Wow! And how did the bander know to come to your yard to catch them--did you register your yard with them? They loved the nasturtiums and the gloriosa lilies here last year--at least where I saw them most frequently through my windows.
[Last edited by lovesblooms - Feb 3, 2015 1:00 PM (+)]
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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
Image
beckygardener
Feb 3, 2015 11:21 PM CST
Taqiyyah - Here is possibly a current list of Master Hummingbird Banders:

http://www.rubythroat.org/BandersListMain0009.html

This list does not include the Subpermittees that can also band hummingbirds. Many of those on this list have an email address that you contact them through by clicking on their name (if it is in blue). And a couple of them list their phone#s.

I contacted a bander in 2010 and she came out in early 2011. I hadn't been able to get a hummingbird bander back to my yard until this year. I also have a Eastern Painted Bunting bander who came to my yard twice last year and is due to return this month. There is a research project concerning only "Eastern" Painted Buntings through PBOT:
http://paintedbuntings.org/

Banding birds requires a Federal and State License. Hummingbird banders require a different Federal and State license. The Painted Bunting bander is also licensed to band other birds as well, but not hummingbirds. That requires specialized training and certification.

Painted Bunting. You can see the banded bird on the right by looking at the colored bands on his leg.:
Thumb of 2015-02-04/beckygardener/24b4e5

I have these birds coming to my yard in the Winter. So that is why I thought to contact banders. I was very lucky that they came to visit my yard and capture, band, and release some of those birds.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
[Last edited by beckygardener - Feb 3, 2015 11:37 PM (+)]
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Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
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lovesblooms
Feb 4, 2015 8:57 AM CST
So is it kind of a favor to them to contact them since you have some birds they're looking for--if they can get there? I didn't know we could do that kind of thing!
Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
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lovesblooms
Feb 4, 2015 9:04 AM CST
And sorry, back to the topic you started, Becky: plans.

This year, I realize my main planning surrounds pest control. Last year I was too exhausted after months of intense work configuring and reconfiguring my container veggie garden and then my front lawn-turned-garden. So this year I'm reading up on the latest ideas from other gardeners for keeping the groundhogs, cucumber beetles, and Japanese beetles from enjoying too much of my hard work.

Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
Image
beckygardener
Feb 4, 2015 6:30 PM CST
Taqiyyah - It is not a favor to the banders. If they are working on a project or research that requires banding certain birds, coming to band in your yard might be helpful to their project. Most of these banders do this as volunteers. I like to reimburse them for their vehicle gas and provide breakfast or lunch for them, but that is just a courtesy on my part. They are often spending their own money to travel and eat when banding at various locations. This is a perk for them since they may not mind coming back if you are such a gracious host. Not everyone wants to have the birds banded that come to their yard. I do, because I am genuinely interested in the travels of these birds. There is a possibility that the birds will show up and be recapture by another bander in a different part of the USA. There is so much we do NOT know about most bird species, that banding sometimes presents a clue. I think it is important work.

As far as your garden plans, I have the same issues with pests and disease. Living in a mild climate means that Winter does not kill such things off. So it is a fine balance of nature. I am an organic gardener, though there are times I have conceded and used chemicals. But my ultimate goal is to find organic ways to fight bugs and diseases of plants so I can completely eliminate chemicals from my garden. That also goes for commercial fertilizer. I have started 2 worm bins to collect worm castings which makes organic and healthy fertilizer for my plants!

As far as Japanese beetles, I had read that growing 4 O'Clock plants will attract them. They eat the 4 O'Clock foliage and flowers and are poisoned by it and die. There are many, many other companion plants that serve a purpose of fighting pests and even diseases of other plants.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Container Gardener Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Roses Salvias Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower Region: Mid-Atlantic
Image
lovesblooms
Feb 4, 2015 7:12 PM CST
Oh, okay--I was thinking a favor as in, "I know you're looking for these birds, and I've got plenty--come and get 'em!" but I see now it's actually more of a wild goose chase for them--literally. Perpetually. Lol.

I read about the four-o'clocks thing and noticed some differences in opinion on its effectiveness, but that's the same for everything--I'm willing to try it, I guess. I never kept four-o'clocks because I wasn't moved by the prospects of flowers that are closed most of the day no matter how pretty, but I'm willing to try.

I plan to keep a more regular schedule of spraying Deer Stopper around my flowers and get my homemade blackspot-blaster recipe back online (both worked well).

I also plan to plant only C. moschata squashes and watermelon this year and no cucumbers or muskmelons, to decrease the chances bacterial wilt will get the plants, since I simply can't keep all the cucumber beetles away, and all my moschata squashes survived each year I planted them while the rest died off.

I don't like using chemicals, but beyond all the greater-good rhetoric, the little ones love to pick eat the tasty fruit, herbs and flowers while standing in the yard, and I don't want to worry about what they're eating just this once--when it came out of my own garden!
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
Image
beckygardener
Feb 4, 2015 8:05 PM CST
I don't know how well the 4 O'Clocks worked because even though I saw leaves chewed on them, I still had an infestation of Japanese Beetles on my Cuphea (hummingbird plant). The beetles didn't totally destroy the Cuphea this past year like they have in the past, so I do believe the 4 O'Clocks helped. I only grow the yellow blooming 4 O'Clocks. They have the best scent at dusk and through the evening. They are planted in 4 pots sitting right next to my back door on an outdoor concrete patio. They do drop a lot of seeds which sprout, so I grow them over concrete to cut down on that happening. They can be invasive plants, but the seedlings are easy to pull up. I love the honeysuckle smell and the bushy growth.

I do not have a deer problem here. I do have raccoons and squirrels though, which can be a challenge at times. I feed the squirrels as well as the wild birds, so I think I have found that happy balance of feeding all of them (except the raccoons). I have plenty of wild birds, so the squirrels are NOT chasing them off.

The humidity is very high here in FL. I try to find plant species cultivars that are resistant to blackspot and other such plant diseases. I look through a lot of seed catalogs!!! LOL!

And I agree, anything that is edible really needs to be grown organically because the fruits/vegetables/herbs that we are eating should be safe.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Catherine
NW Illinois (Zone 5a)
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jerseyridgearts
Feb 21, 2015 9:37 PM CST
I'm dreaming of big garden plans this year albeit from the safety of my reading chair and pretty catalogs....

1. First is removing storm damaged trees in the Orchard then replanting two apples, two peach and maybe a Northern Pecan (!)

2. Next is moving the veg garden to the former goat pasture ... Will be starting from scratch but bigger and sunnier

3. Then reconfigure the large English Perennial Garden. I started last fall but ran out of time and energy. Lots of editing and plants to move.

Oh and there's greenhouse repair, a possible hugelkulture bed and small smaller gardens that need a boost.

This is my optimistic 'starter' plan.... Thumbs up

Catherine
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Feb 22, 2015 7:32 AM CST
Catherine - That is quite an undertaking! Good luck. If you run out of steam, be sure to complete at least 1 project so that you feel like you accomplished something. I get overwhelmed and discouraged if I start and don't finish projects, so I've learned to do a little at a time from start to finish. Which is why it is taking me so long to get my garden areas completed. Plus the financial funds to do all that I want to do is rather tight, so I spread it out over time.

I would love to see how your projects progress. Do you have acreage or a large yard? That's awesome to be growing plants that provide food! I wished I had the land to do such an endeavor! Do share photos, please!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Catherine
NW Illinois (Zone 5a)
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jerseyridgearts
Feb 22, 2015 10:38 AM CST
Thanks Becky. We live on a little over 5 acres with half in gardens probably. Until an illness 3 years ago I was able to do quite a lot. Slower now but my 'wish list' remains optimistic Sticking tongue out Here's some shots of my gardens in previous years:


Thumb of 2015-02-22/jerseyridgearts/e6b91f


Thumb of 2015-02-22/jerseyridgearts/66c519


Thumb of 2015-02-22/jerseyridgearts/90a40a

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
Image
lovemyhouse
Feb 22, 2015 11:06 AM CST
Love the view in the first photograph, Catherine. Smiling
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
Image
beckygardener
Feb 22, 2015 11:23 AM CST
Catherine - Oh my! How beautiful! Looks like you have already done quite a lot of work. Your garden areas are amazing! Lovey dubby Lovey dubby Lovey dubby Lovey dubby

You really have an eye for making garden areas look natural. 5 acres is a lot of land to work with, too. Years ago, I wanted acreage, but now that I am older, I think (for me) that would be more than I could keep up with. Instead I pack a lot into a small yard. (And even then, it is overwhelming at times.) Boy, do I wish I could see a virtual tour of you gardens. I bet Springtime is a real joy to experience! Do post more photos if you are able to of what the gardens look like this year. I hope you are able to complete all or at least some of the projects on your list this year!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
[Last edited by beckygardener - Feb 22, 2015 11:24 AM (+)]
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Name: Catherine
NW Illinois (Zone 5a)
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jerseyridgearts
Feb 22, 2015 11:33 AM CST
Thanks Debra - that's looking from the Shade Border to the Bird Garden. Both are on the 'spruce up' list this season.

The Shade Border is anchored by a 75 year old (at least) Black Walnut Tree - quite a challenge but so far I've had success with Redbuds, sumac, ninebark, and some evergreens....added an old simple bench last fall and some Japanese maples - we'll see how they fare after the snow melts:

Thumb of 2015-02-22/jerseyridgearts/a14e45

The Bird Garden needs a ton of editing - although the overgrown condition sure invites the birds...it's anchored by a pergola covered with clematis, a big clump of red twig dogwood, 2 service berries, a lilac, cranberry viburnum, weigela, seven sons tree, phlox, monarda, spring bulbs, stonecrops, iris, day lilies etc And birdhouses & baths....a bit of a jungle.

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