West-facing flower beds - Knowledgebase Question

Grand Prairie, Te
Question by janemaus
April 1, 2010
I have NEVER planted a thing that has survived, have NO clue of where to begin, and LITTLE confidence that I will ever turn my brown thumbs green. I have two little flowerbeds in front of my west-facing house that are filled with grass & weeds. I would like to have something more attractive in them. It would be great if these could be very easy to care for. I don't have much gardening time. Thanks


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Answer from NGA
April 1, 2010

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I think you can be successful is you prepare the soil well and plant heat and drought tolerant plants. Start by digging out all the weeds and grass (or spraying with a vegetation killer such as Round Up). After removing all the debris from the garden, spread 4-5 inches of organic matter over the top of the bed and dig it in to a depth of 8-10 inches. The compost or other organic matter will loosen the soil, help it hold moisture and help moderate soil temperatures. Some plants to consider include Cosmos sulphureus (orange cosmos), Gaillardia pulchella (blanket flower), Gomphrena globosa (globe amaranth ), Leonotis nepetifolia (annual lion's) Phaseolus acutifolius (tepary bean), Portulaca grandiflora (moss rose), Zinnia elegans (zinnia) and Zinnia haageana (Mexican zinnia). Succulents include: Agave americana (agave ), Aloe saponaria (soap aloe), Aloe vera (medicinal aloe), Euphorbia tirucalli (pencil tree), Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi (South American air plant), Opuntia humifusa (hardy prickly pear), Stapelia spp. (carrion flower) and Tradescantia pallida (purple heart).

Some ornamental grasses to consider include: Festuca glauca (blue fescue), Imperata cylindrica (Japanese blood grass), Muhlenbergia capillaris (Gulf muhlygrass), Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Lindheimer's muhlygrass), Nassella tenuissima (Mexican feather grass), Panicum virgatum (switchgrass), Pennisetum setaceum (African fountain grass), Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem), Sorghastrum nutans (indiangrass), Spartina bakeri (sand cordgrass), Uniola paniculata (sea oats).

Best wishes with your new flower beds.

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