All Things Gardening forum: New & Overwhelmed!

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Name: Dawn
Chicago (Zone 5a)
Hibiscus
dmarie17
Aug 7, 2016 5:30 PM CST
Hello! My name is Dawn and I'm new to this site and to gardening all together. I live in Chicago and have never attempted to grow anything more than basil & cilantro. I'm writing because we installed a fence last weekend and 'the deer will eat all the flowers' excuse I've been using is no longer valid. I basically have a blank canvas and have no idea what to do with it! I've been reading the forums and even did an online gardening course this weekend in an attempt to get some direction, but I guess I don't know where to start and I'm extremely overwhelmed. I'm not even sure I should start anything being it's August already. Crying
If anyone has any thoughts/advice or can nudge me in the right direction, I would be so grateful!
Thank you so much!!
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Name: Reine
Porter, Texas (Zone 9a)
On the 3rd day God created plants.
Cactus and Succulents Houseplants Bee Lover Critters Allowed Frogs and Toads Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Seed Starter Region: Texas Dog Lover Container Gardener Spiders!
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Reine
Aug 7, 2016 5:53 PM CST
Welcome! Welcome! :welcome: dmarie17

Hi. You do have a great canvas to start with. I like your fence. Lovey dubby

I don't know a lot of planting advice, as many others here at NGA will be able to give you. But I can tell you to know your soil, what kind it is and what it may need added to it. Different plants have somewhat different requirements, but remineraliziation of your soil with rock dust would be beneficial to most all plants. Google rock dust, there's different kinds with different amounts of minerals.

Happy growing!
Reine Smiling
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
Aug 7, 2016 6:08 PM CST
Welcome, Dawn. Smiling
Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!

I didn't know anything about gardening, either, when I started 12 years or so back. One of the tricks that helps me not feel overwhelmed is to focus on smaller bits. For example, do you really like Tulips and/or Daffodils? Roses? Iris? Daylilies? Start with just one of those categories. Or maybe go for favorite colors. Fall-planted bulbs will give you a glorious Spring. You can also use the NGA plant database to look up a group of different plants according to the characteristics you want like Perennial or Annual, color, planting zone--just a host of different points. See what you get. Even if you just plant one shrub or Rose or one bag of Hyacinths or Daffodils, it is a start. Hang out on the specific plant forums. I have strong preferences for Iris and Daylilies, so those forums are the two which get the most of my attention. Keep in mind, too, that gardening is a process. Rarely, if ever, will there be an 'ah, all done, now' moment. I always see something to be added or taken out or moved or SOMETHING. Hilarious! Good group of people, here, and lots of help is available from them.

http://garden.org/plants/search/advanced.php
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
[Last edited by lovemyhouse - Aug 7, 2016 7:10 PM (+)]
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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Aug 7, 2016 7:10 PM CST
I would plant some 'backbone' plants - small trees and shrubs - first. Maybe add a boulder or two for interest. Then a fun thing to so is to find a local nursery and buy things every month that are IN BLOOM, which gives you immediate gratification and also builds a diverse garden that looks good every season.. As you learn what you like, and what will grow in your region, you will gradually fill in that lovely area. Everything needs regular watering for a couple years until the roots get established. Depending on your rain pattern, you may need to add irrigation, sprinklers, or soaker hoses. I don't bother with any of that, but I get plenty of rainfall except in late summer. You'll figure that out as things droop (or not).

I do second Debra's suggestion to add bulbs this fall. You will be pleasantly surprised next spring - just be sure to mark them well so you don't dig them up planting other things.

As a newbie, I also suggest opening "My List" as you add plants, as a good tool to keep track of what you have, where it is, and how to take care of it (each entry in "Your List" is also a link to the main database for that particular plant. Check out several member's lists to get an idea of how to organize and categorize.

Pick out a couple forums to 'watch' - your growing region and whatever plants catch your interest. Even if you just lurk, you will learn lots.

Good luck, welcome to NGA, and keep us posted re your progress (we all like to follow projects with photos!).
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Heucheras Echinacea
Hellebores The WITWIT Badge Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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NJBob
Aug 7, 2016 8:35 PM CST
I would spend my time now shaping the garden and amending the soil. Add a few shrubs and a smaller sized tree or two this Fall with some Spring flowering bulbs. That gives you the Winter to choose the other plants you would like to add.
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
Aug 7, 2016 9:02 PM CST
Hi Dawn, and welcome! First you need to stain or paint that nice new fence - it's much easier to do that before you plant anything!

Then, it's really not that great a time to plant new things, until the weather cools off quite a bit. Fall is an excellent time to plant trees and shrubs and an added advantage is that a lot of nurseries and the big box stores mark their bigger plants and perennials down substantially to clear them out before winter. Yes, spend your time now amending your soil - another thing it's easier to do now than after planting. Some counties have great compost available from the landfill - it's even sometimes free!

Drawing a diagram on a big sheet of paper is always helpful. What are you going to use your yard for? Do you want a patio? Where do you want to plant trees? Consider both shade, and privacy but be sure the trees aren't too close to the house - their roots extend even further than the mature spread of the branches, so can cause problems with plumbing and your foundation if they are too close.

Be sure to keep some money in the budget for mulch ( a thick layer of wood chips or bark is best, leaves or pine straw also will work) to insulate your new plantings from freezing this winter, and also it helps maintain moisture in the soil for the new plants.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
[Last edited by dyzzypyxxy - Aug 7, 2016 9:42 PM (+)]
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Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Aug 7, 2016 9:38 PM CST
Welcome! Welcome! Dawn! IDK a thing about your region, what grows in your summer or and your winters. I hear you complain about it being August. We in Texas are in full swing with summer and it will last at least another 2-3 months. So really I am no help with plant selection.

But I love landscape planning. I am drooling over your blank slate! Drooling I recently helped my GF by drawing plans on the computer, playing with flower bed shapes and tree location options. But most of the planning imo has to do with your sun exposure. Take the time to make note about where the sun is and isn't in each season. There's no sense planting a full-sun plant,, shrub, or tree in an area of your yard that gets only shade and vice versa. Trees and shrubs that grow large and block the sun can help your energy bills, covering windows to keep the harsh summer sun out (so you have that?) of the house. Certain trees are good for wind breaks as well. And of course plants are good for privacy issues.

Take a trip around your neighborhoods and look at what's growing and pick out something that you like. Take a picture and take it to the nursery. They can give you the name of the plant/tree , the particulars and the needs of each plant you like. Whether it will come back each year (a perennial) or die when cold weather comes (an annual). What plants are ever green or ones that lose it's leaves and go dormant. (Deciduous) That will help you with placement. It seems overwhelming now. But you're going to have fun!!
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Peggy C
Graham NC USA (Zone 7b)
hand drumming with friends
Region: North Carolina Butterflies Irises Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Level 1
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PeggyC
Aug 8, 2016 10:19 AM CST
Welcome! Group hug Welcome !
Be sure to read the latest newsletter ... you might want to try some 'pocket gardening'. No, I hadn't heard that term before, even though parts of my garden are like that.
We inherited our Garden of Surprises when we bought our home; there are books with everything that was done to this home [including the floor plans] -- but nothing about what had been planted.
Since I don't baby-sit plants [ instructions are: You have been planted- now grow ] .. having things that return year after year is good for me. Shame you don't live closer to NC .. need to work on Iris and Day Lilies later. Could send you some seeds of my newest addition ..
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False Sunflowers [ if you plant them the butterflies do locate them and spread the word ! ]


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Enjoy playing in the dirt,
Peggy
North Carolina

Live !

This isn't a dress-rehearsal ~
Name: Betty
MN zone 4
Frogs and Toads Birds Roses Region: United States of America Peonies Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
Lilies Irises Hummingbirder Hostas Garden Art Echinacea
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daylilydreams
Aug 8, 2016 10:58 AM CST
Welcome!
When my son and his wife built a new home they decided to go to a local landscape nursery and have a plan drawn up with a list of plants, shrubs and trees of their choice. They then purchased some of the plants, shrubs and trees from the nursery and following the drawn plan my son did the work himself as time allowed. They wanted flowers included in their landscape some of which I gave to them from my garden. This was a way for them to get a professional design at a much lower costs to them. The results are beautiful and they enjoy their yard.
If you want to be happy for a lifetime plant a garden!
Faith is the postage stamp on our prayers!
Betty MN Zone4 AHS member

Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Aug 8, 2016 4:50 PM CST
NJBob said:I would spend my time now shaping the garden and amending the soil.


All the suggestions are good ones. Thumbs up I notice that you have an actual lawn so perhaps you might consider adding some kind of border to keep lawn treatment/chemicals away from the border plantings. That is a good project for this time of year. Thumbs up

A brick border looks good:
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Scalloped concrete blocks are another choice:
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Good luck with your new garden! Thumbs up

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Aug 8, 2016 7:48 PM CST
Welcome to NGA, @dmarie17 -- I think the first thing we need to know, to offer any meaningful help, is what do you want to grow (veggies? herbs? flowers?), and where are you located? It looks as though you have your entire yard fenced in, with a border prepared for planting? So, there are plenty of things that could be grown there, depending on your climate and what you would like to grow. (Or, of course, you could dig up the entire yard and plant stuff, but that will probably be next year's story... Smiling )
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
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Name: Amanda
KC metro area, Missouri (Zone 6a)
Region: Missouri Cat Lover Dog Lover
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pepper23
Aug 8, 2016 8:09 PM CST
dmarie17 said:Hello! My name is Dawn and I'm new to this site and to gardening all together. I live in Chicago and have never attempted to grow anything more than basil & cilantro.


She mentions she lives in Chicago. Smiling
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Aug 8, 2016 9:19 PM CST
oops -- thanks for pointing that out, Amanda!! Thumbs up
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Aug 8, 2016 10:20 PM CST
Eventually you will likely want to add some curves to your borders, but since you have such a big project staring you in the face, a thought might be to just plant what you currently have as your back border (tall perennials), bumping out where you might want trees and shrubs (which will want more space to accommodate their eventual mature size), then gradually increase the width of your beds each season, along with additional plants, so you don't get totally overwhelmed. In the meanwhile, a simple cut-in edge works well (just dig a spade straight down along your edge, mounding the soil into your bed so there is kind of a bit of a gap to discourage your grass from growing into the garden beds). Over the course of 2-3 growing seasons, you would have more experience, perhaps a better idea of what you want/like, and experiment with different layouts.

Do think about your hardscaping (as others have noted). Patio, firepit, benches or other sitting areas, fountains or other water features, garbage cans, etc. I'm a visual person, and it works for me to physically place things where you might like a finished product - set up some lawn chairs around an overturned bucket to visualize a firepit area, walk to and from the house to see how handy (or not) it might be, where will you keep firewood, etc. Set out your trash and recycle and see how hidden (or not) it might be to where you will spend your time.

Have fun with it and don't stress. Even a professionally landscaped yard takes 3 years to really come into its own. There is truth to the adage: plants sleep the first year, creep the second, and leap the third. Patience is a virtue.

I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
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
Aug 9, 2016 7:10 PM CST
Hi Dawn! Welcome to NGA and to gardening! Congratulations on your now-deer-free yard!

I guess some people DO plan ahead, but I've never been interested in making people gasp at my garden's artistic merit. A good thing, too, because I have about as much artistry as I have wings. But I love watching plants grow, which was my second ambition after "watching plants NOT all die".

I lean towards vegetables, and it might not be too late to throw a few seeds here and there, just to see what comes up.

One handy place to start, to get an idea of "what's in season", is a generic planting calendar that knows your ZIP code so it can figure out first and last average frost dates.

http://garden.org/apps/calendar/?q=Chicago

It's not too late for lettuce and spinach! I see it doesn't recommend fall peas.
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
Aug 9, 2016 7:46 PM CST
I would say that the best way to start is to consider your own likes and dislikes. For flowers, grow first what you like best, if they are EASY plants. Spot things in nurseries and write their names down, so you can buy them when you're good and ready and find a sale. It's easier (but MUCH more expensive) to buy a plant than to start a seed or a cutting.

But once you develop some habits, seeds and cuttings let you grow ANYTHING, no matter how rare, almost for free.
And then you have plants and seeds to trade to other gardeners.
Then you might have to join a Twelve-Step program ...
Gardening can be ... habit-forming. Especially if you grow your own seedlings.

By all means look at neighbors' gardens and pick out plants you like (since you know they can be grown in your climate). If you see the neighbor, be sure to compliment her what-ever-it-is plant, and ask the name. Write that down and mention that you're going to look around local nurseries for one that is almost THAT nice. Maybe ask where she got it. Maybe ask if you may take a photo.

This is exactly like telling a mother that her child is beautiful, smart and far above-average! If she knows about cuttings or divisions, she may offer you a clump next time she divides the plant, or let you take a cutting and root it in water, or save you a few seed pods.

If nothing else, you'll have the name of a variety that grows in your neighborhood and that you like the looks of.

It's always classy to have something to offer back! A beginning gardener doesn't have many plants, or a basket of zucchini, but you can offer to water her beds and chase deer away when she goes on vacation. Older gardeners may really appreciate your help in carrying or digging. If you get into either seed saving, seed buying & trading, cuttings or other propagation, you can have a stash of seedlings on hand and ready to offer, trade or give away, to establish your local rep for garden-generosity.

For vegetables, grow something you like to eat, although many things are just plain bad after being shipped cross-continent and then laid on a supermarket slab for weeks. As one lady told me when I was a produce clerk: "This lettuce is DEAD!" Fresh-picked from your own garden, you might love that veggie for the first time in your life.

The advice to prepare the soil or raised beds now is good advice, but not fun. If it was early spring, I would advise picking a few of the easiest flowers just to see them grow and gain experience, but this is too late in the summer to start zinnias, marigolds or other annual flowers.

Anyway, it's never too early to chop up some turf and flip it over. Buy bags of manure/compost and dig some in.

Lay down coarse chunks of bark ("mulch") to keep weeds from sprouting, keep the soil cool and moist, prevent rain from making soil "crust" and start the never-ending process of feeding organic matter to your soil. "Feed the soil, and the soil will feed the plants". You'll also be feeding and encouraging the soil microbes that make soil different from "dirt" and keep plants healthy and well-fed. The mulch breaks down very gradually and adds its organic matter to the composted manure you just added. You'll be adding mulch over the years, as it breaks down. It is SO much easier to spread mulch every year or two, than to spend 10 times as much time weeding. It also reduces the amount of water you have to add.

Now, I love digging, so I would have said FIRST to excavate, grade, trench, double-dig, add compost and build raised beds. Add compost. Screen the soil, remove rocks and weed roots. Add compost. Lighten clay. Add the pixie dust of your choice, be it chemical fertilizer, organic fertilizer, rock dust, sand, grit, bark, coco coir or even peat moss, though that's going out of fashion as good sphagnum becomes more expensive and cheap brrown peat more common. Raise walls 6-16" high for a fancy "raised bed". Add more compost. Till. Make the Army Corps of Engineers green with envy!
\
http://garden.org/thread/view_post/170442/

But if you lack mole ancestry and would rather do things the easy way, look up "lasagna gardening". They kill the grass (eventually) by laying down corrugated cardboard or multiple layers of newspaper. Then they drop a lot of compost and "stuff" on top of the paper ... and then they immediately grow right in that "stuff"! (It sounds better when you think of it as "they do some sheet composting on the surface of their raised beds, and they grow plants right IN the compost".)

Start small and only plant and do things that you enjoy (for now). If you catch the bug, soon you'll be eager to pamper your beds and follow arcane theories - do almost anything to make your plants more lush and vigorous. But the desire and pleasure should precede the craziness!

Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
Winter Sowing
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Pistil
Aug 12, 2016 12:40 PM CST
Hi dmarie
It can be a bit overwhelming, with too many choices!
You might take a look at the Bluestone Perennials website, they sell some preplanned perennial gardens, and are located in Ohio, with similar climate. You might not want to buy their garden, but they have chosen plants that would be good for newbies in the Midwest. "Fall Planting" works well for many plants. But by fall this usually means early-mid September, so the plants have a chance to get established before freezing. You will need to water some, but don't fertilize this fall. New plants planted summer or fall can get a spurt of growth from fertilizer, but they mistakenly think it is spring,. and don't prepare for winter. This can cause losses.
And do plant some bulbs, it will be so much fun in the spring!
I also agree with planting trees/shrubs first, but this is a case of do what I say, not what I do ;-)

https://www.bluestoneperennials.com/galleries.html?gallery=g...
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
Aug 12, 2016 4:09 PM CST
Hi again, Dawn.

I forgot to mention them, but Mary is right. Planting bulbs now for blooms in spring is so easy that the very first time I tried, they all came up and were glorious. Easier than seeds! Maybe even easier than setting out plants, because the bulbs aren't as fussy as recently-transplanted plants.

Read the planting depth from the bag, figure out which end of the bulb has roots (they go down, the point goes up), dig holes or push the bulbs, cover and firm. I guess they need some water to get established, but they are much less fussy than seeds that way. (I guess you'll find out the first year if you have voles, moles or rodents that know to dig up bulbs and eat them. If you do, there are tricks with hardware cloth and hot pepper powder to try.

Just pick a spot that drains quite well, or make a raised mound somewhere and plant them in that (like a slightly raised bed without any walls). That's just to make sure the bulb isn't sitting below the water table all winter.

Giant Hyacinths smell GREAT.
Daffodils are showy and reliable.
Crocuses come up very early.
Tulips are pretty.
Grape Hyacinths spread like wild for me, but they aren't very pretty.

I gather that different bulbs come back more reliably in different areas, for example, tulips are "not supposed to" come back in the coastal PNW (but the one I planted came back 3 years now). Giant Hyacinths are not supposed to come back for me, but maybe 1/4 of mine did, much smaller.

If there is a local nursery that can be TRUSTED, they might mainly sell bulbs suited to coming back in your area. Big Box stores will sell anything that lives long enough to be scanned at the cash register, and if you have to buy all new bulbs again next year, they are happy.

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BTW, one defense against being overwhelmed is GADD (Gardener's Attention Deficit Disorder). If you have too many things running around in your mind, just skip from one to the next whimsically and focus on whatever is right in front of you at the moment. Some projects will be half-done for multiple years, but that's just another name for "evolving and refining" your plans as you learn from trial and "error".

And what, really, is an "error" in a garden? You either get results you like, learn what you don't like, or learn what not to do next time. Win, win, learn.

On the other hand (based solely on reading, not experience), it sounds like some gardeners have disciplined, methodical minds. (I wonder what THAT would be like!) They plan things ahead and know what they want years ahead. Then they execute their plan like Sherman marching to the sea. Their plants had BETTER cooperate! Sometimes they even plan ahead of time what colors and heights go together, and which things bloom when. So I have read (shaking head skeptically.)

Assuming those wild claims have any basis in reality, I GUESS that someone so inclined could fight off Garden Overwhelmus by picking just a few easy things to do at first, and then abide by that schedule and do ONLY those things for the first year.

(???)

But how would they fight off "LOOK at that pretty picture! I MUST have a dozen of those bulbs and plant them SOMEWHERE!"

And "These plants snuck into my cart when I wasn't looking, but now I have to find a bed to put them in!"

And "I tried wintersowing and now I have HUNDREDS of these seedlings and DOZENS of those ... "

I would urge you to jump into the deep end and let the flowers teach you what does and doesn't work well, or which of the many pieces of advice might really matter in your conditions.

As one experienced gardener told me when I was disappointed that so many of my seedlings were dying: "If you don't kill SOME plants, you aren't trying hard enough. You learn by doing, and by trying things you haven't tried before."

I would add that many people try to imitate Nature. Well, if one plant produces 100,000 seeds, Nature expects on average that 99,999 of those seeds will die, to maintain a constant population. If we try things that only work 1% of the time, that is still 1,000 times better than Nature's success rate. How can we call that "failure"? It's just "learning".

I bet someone could write a pretty good book by seeking out advice, and then testing what happens when you do the opposite of "what everyone knows". My guess is that most "good advice" is really only necessary some of the time.



[Last edited by RickCorey - Aug 12, 2016 4:29 PM (+)]
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Name: 🌺
(Zone 6b)
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SpringGreenThumb
Aug 12, 2016 4:27 PM CST
dmarie17 said:Hello! My name is Dawn and I'm new to this site and to gardening all together. I live in Chicago and have never attempted to grow anything more than basil & cilantro. I'm writing because we installed a fence last weekend and 'the deer will eat all the flowers' excuse I've been using is no longer valid. I basically have a blank canvas and have no idea what to do with it! I've been reading the forums and even did an online gardening course this weekend in an attempt to get some direction, but I guess I don't know where to start and I'm extremely overwhelmed. I'm not even sure I should start anything being it's August already. Crying
If anyone has any thoughts/advice or can nudge me in the right direction, I would be so grateful!
Thank you so much!!
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The first thing you want to do is drive around and find some beautiful examples of you want your yard to look like. Take pictures of the plants, Ask the owner the name of the plants. Good gardeners love to show you their gardens.

Next design your garden on paper.

Choose only easy to grow plants.

Just landscape 1 section at a time. Don't try to do it all at once or you can lose a lot of money if most of it dies.

Just get part of it establishes and going well then move on to the next step next year.


Don't move on until you are confident in growing what you have planted.


[Last edited by SpringGreenThumb - Aug 12, 2016 4:29 PM (+)]
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Name: 🌺
(Zone 6b)
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SpringGreenThumb
Aug 12, 2016 4:32 PM CST
**** ALWAYS DESIGN SOMETHING ON PAPER FIRST SO YOU HAVE AN IDEA OF WHAT DIRECTION YOU ARE HEADED IN.

Never just go buy things to grow... just to have a garden.

Choose slowly and carefully. Learn about each plant before you buy it.

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Today's site banner is by sunnyvalley and is called "Hair-raising"