Ask a Question forum: newbie in Ocala FL

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Name: Pamther
Ocala, FL
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tundrasull
Mar 1, 2016 8:30 PM CST
Hi I'm looking to start a small sidewalk garden probably in pots I want lots of flowers in spring colors and was wondering what is good for my area any advice would be helpful my email is tundrasullivan@Yahoo.com
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
Mar 1, 2016 8:41 PM CST
Hi Tundra! Welcome to ATP.

Probably most members will answer here rather than by private email so that others can come by and read the answers, add to them, and discuss them. That way it's a resource for everyone.

My own approach would be to start with annual flowers. They are easy to start from seed and often fairly cheap to buy as small plants. Annuals usually have more flowers, bigger flowers, and they can bloom for months instead of weeks.

I don't know Florida at all, so these may not be suitable for you. Or maybe each has some varieties that can tolerate heat, humidity, insects, fungus and mold.

These are just some of my favorites, meaning easy and flashy.

Marigolds
Pansies/violas (but they like it cool!)
Alyssum (low, floppy vines, usually white. They re-seed, so they act like an annual if you put them in beds)\
Lobellia (small intense blue blooms)
Sweet William (Dianthus)
Cosmos

I wish I could say "go to a local nursery and take notes on what is well-suited to your climate". Actually most nurseries stock whatever they can get someone to buy. It might die on the way home in your car, or become invasive and take over the county, but if they get their 50 cents profit, they'll do it agin next year.

If you can find a plant sale by Master Gardeners or a church group or school group, you are more likely to get WISELY chosen flowers!

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
Mar 1, 2016 8:53 PM CST
Another question is whether you want to start from seeds, or buy small plants. Even at "six for $2", I would rather start flowers from seed because I have some chicken ancestry: I am cheap, cheap cheap.

One packet of seeds costs less than several small plants, and provides hundreds of flowers, and can be saved (dry, dark and cool) for years.

But for your first year, buy plants at Lowes, Home Depot, a supermarket, or, best, at a plant sale by some charitable organization. Pot them up into larger pots and enjoy the blooms while you experiment with starting from seeds.

BTW, look around your neighborhood and the neighborhoods of all your friends. Look for great gardens.
Find some plants that you wish YOU could grow.

Talk to the owner if you can.
"What IS that beautiful blue flower over there?"
"How do you keep your beds so free of weeds?"
"I'm just starting and would LOVE to grow something like THAT one!"
"Your garden is so lovely that I HAD to come over and say Thank You."

Is there a gardener in the world who doesn't respond to a compliment by giving away extra seedlings they just started, or clumps of perennials they've divided but can't stand to throw away?

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
Mar 1, 2016 9:03 PM CST
I forgot. Every area has some kind of "extension co-op" organization, usually run by a local university. They have advice at all levels, for beginners through commercial growers. I bet they would have lists of suitable varieties.

I see two for Florida,

http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/
http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/lawn_and_garden/getting_...
http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/lawn_and_garden/plants_a...
http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/global/2016/02/29/planting-in-marc...
(what to plant in March - links for Northern, Southern and central FL)

I didn't find much for home gardeners under this one:
http://www.famu.edu/cesta/main/index.cfm/cooperative-extensi...
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
Mar 1, 2016 9:09 PM CST
@Pamther

Are you new to Florida? New to gardening? What are the conditions where you will put the pots -- sunny all day, or shade or mixed? Do you have easy access to water them?
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: Pamther
Ocala, FL
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tundrasull
Mar 1, 2016 9:17 PM CST
Hi RickCorey thanks for the advice as far as the email thing goes I'm new to forums as well. We do have a master gardener spring festival coming up and the admission is not bad only a dollar.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Mar 1, 2016 9:59 PM CST
Welcome Pamther (love it). Yes Hurray! on the Master Gardener festival, you will be able to buy good plants that are suited to your area there, and also get lots and lots of good advice. Most Master Gardener programs in Florida have a help desk or plant clinic that you can contact by phone or e-mail with questions, too.

Annuals do well here in the winter, but they really do poop out by June, when our all-day and all-night heat sets in. So in the fall its fun to plant some annuals for the cooler weather months - I highly recommend things like Nasturtiums planted in October. If you plant them now, you won't get great mileage from them. Go for some flowering perennials like various Salvias and maybe Pentas. They will be beautiful, drought and heat tolerant and even attract butterflies and hummingbirds if you're lucky.

A picture of the area where you want to plant would be a big help in giving you advice. Um, have you considered that pots might be stolen if they are out near the street? (sorry to float this negative thought, but . . . been there, had that happen) If you can sink the pots into the ground a bit, and mulch over the edges so the pots don't show, that might make it not so obvious to light-fingered folks. This method really works well for a garden in pots.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Pamther
Ocala, FL
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tundrasull
Mar 2, 2016 10:13 AM CST
hi Ann I'm not new to FL. I am new to gardening. Where I plan to put the pots is sunny during the morning and shady in the afternoon. I have a water faucet nearby.
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
Image
RickCorey
Mar 2, 2016 1:25 PM CST
Good luck with the MG spring festival! They can be a good resource, even more local than a county extension agent.

Many people use "chat threads" in forums like group emails for socializing. But asking or giving advice is really beneficial in public threads, since then people can find it years later by searching for the topic.

BTW, after a year or so of trying different plants, it would be a real kindness if you came back and said "Well, after trying all these ...., the ones that worked best in my area were these: .....

(And that's a perfect place for show-off photos!)

I hope more people make specific recommendations like Elaine's.


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
Mar 2, 2016 8:52 PM CST
tundrasull said:hi Ann I'm not new to FL. I am new to gardening. Where I plan to put the pots is sunny during the morning and shady in the afternoon. I have a water faucet nearby.

Elaine & Rick have both given great advice. I'm glad you'll have some shade in the afternoon. When things say "full sun" that means 6 hours of sun. Since you're not new to FL you know well that in summer we have merciless sun for 12 hours. Few plants can handle that without a ton of care.
Elaine gave some good suggestions for plants. I would add that they can be very hard to find in the summer so buy them now -- petunias. I always had great luck with petunias all summer long. They really can take a licking & keep on ticking as long as you have some water for them & when they start getting too leggy/long, just cut them back & they will get new life and be more compact. Vincas aka Madagascar Periwinkle are easy, colorful & tough to kill.
Madagascar Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus)

This is another great plant & can take more than 6 hours of sun. Bees go crazy over this stuff! These can take dryer conditions than a lot of things. These are also evergreen in FL. They will stop blooming but the plant will still live & then when warmer weather comes they will start blooming again.
Stalked Bulbine (Bulbine frutescens)
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 ~~



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