Ask a Question forum: Recommended plants for a school garden

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North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
May 15, 2017 2:45 PM CST
Neighborhood gardeners are planning a butterfly garden for an elementary school. Dallas, TX Zone 8a. I have volunteered to supply some seeds/cuttings/transplants. I don't have much info on the exact plans but have been told that they will be happy to have whatever I can donate. I'm thinking that it's too late in the year to plant very much from seeds, especially any milkweeds.
Any suggestions for what would be good to plant now as we are approaching summer heat? Another concern would be to avoid any potentially poisonous or toxic plants (duh) such as datura.

I haven't seen the plot so I don't know the size. And I can only hope that it will get plenty of sun and have a close source of water. All I know is that the location is in an area of Dallas that tends not to have nice gardens.
So with all of that in mind (which is about all I know), any recommendations as to what to plant will be greatly appreciated.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
May 15, 2017 3:01 PM CST
A couple of obvious choices would be zinnia and cosmos... very easy to start from seed...
also hyacinth bean... tithonia...
A couple of less obvious choices would be clitoria (already blooming at my house) and centrosema... both easy to start from wild collected seed... But where would you get them if you didn't already have them?
I just dug & potted a bunch of common milkweed... but I'm not shipping them... Tropical milkweed is a very fast grower from seed...

What about host plants... like parsley and partridge pea? regular garden beans? cudweed...

Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
May 15, 2017 4:18 PM CST
Yes ! Those above. Also lantana, allysum, butterfly bush.
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Abbey
Eastern New York State (Zone 6a)
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Garden10
May 15, 2017 5:22 PM CST
I can only give this a shot because I've been researching for my own purposes, but how about Missouri Ironweed, which I THINK works in Texas -- the idea is that it's a perennial, it propagates, and you never know when a change in personnel or a change of heart will put something like this garden (a fabulous idea, and good for you for helping out!! Hurray! ) on a back burner -- no one has to worry about putting this in next year or running out of money for plants. The best thing is that it blooms later in the summer and into the fall, so when the kids come back to school, it will be waiting for them. And of course, it attracts butterflies! Smiling
"Every now and then I leave the book on the seat and go and have a refreshing potter among my flower beds from which I return greatly benefited, and with a more just conception of what is worth bothering about, and what is not." The Solitary Summer -- Elizabeth von Arnim
Name: Ronnie
Southeastern PA (Zone 6b)
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luvsgrtdanes
May 15, 2017 7:09 PM CST
Sunflowers for sure, ageratum and marigolds germinate pretty easy and grow fast.
It happens in a flash, but the memory of it last forever. It can not be borrowed or stolen, and it is of no earthly good until it is given away. So if in your hurry you meet someone who is too weary to smile, leave him one of yours, for no one needs a smile quite as much as he who has none to give...

[Last edited by luvsgrtdanes - May 15, 2017 7:14 PM (+)]
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North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
May 17, 2017 8:53 PM CST
Thanks everyone. Some good ideas. I dropped off some seeds and a few transplants today. Also donated a gallon of really yummy liquid seaweed. And some plant markers. Left a message to let me know if more seeds are needed because y'all have given me some great ideas.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
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sallyg
May 18, 2017 5:12 AM CST
Lantana, no sure we can guarantee it is safe
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
May 18, 2017 9:21 AM CST
I decided against lantana because I know that it makes some people itch.

I was also surprised to learn that 4 o'clocks are toxic.

Thanks for the 'heads up'.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
May 18, 2017 10:11 AM CST
Good job Flower Thumbs up for checking. Lots of plants are allergens or toxic.
How about Nasturtium's ! You can eat the flowers and leaves.
Of course ! It seems that everybodys allergic to something these days.
Hope kids have fun. 😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
May 18, 2017 2:59 PM CST
Did anybody mention salvia?
Sorry to hear that you decided against lantana... I hope that you re-think that decision.
Nobody is supposed to handle the plants, are they?

speaking of 4 o'clock, cleome is also a magnet for day time and night time flyers...

North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
May 18, 2017 8:46 PM CST
Fear not, @stone. I donated two 1/2 gallon size salvias. One was a Salvia Greggii 'Pink' (paid $1 last fall but never planted it) and the other was Salvia Nermosa 'something' (new to me) that I scored at Lowe's for 50cents last week. I figured that there should be some 'starter' plants and not just seeds. Also threw in some red pentas that I got at a local nursery. I've never grown cleome but I love it.

I really don't know much more about the project. I only know that my contact said that this will be totally organic and that the school is in West Dallas, one time home of lead smelters. (I think they were all shut down in the late 70s - early 80s by an attorney that I knew but that's a whole 'nother story.) As I think I previously said, it would be nice to know the size of the plot, amount of sun, how it will be watered, etc. The lady in charge is not as chatty as I tend to be.

Is anyone supposed to handle the plants? Probably not. But it is at an elementary school with young'uns. Need I say more?

So anyway, she said that she was going to be gardening today which meant she wanted whatever I was donating by yesterday. But I'll try to reach her tomorrow to see what I can see. I did make some cuttings of Salvia guaranitica 'Black & Blue' and what I think is Salvia farinacea 'Augusta Duelberg'. (Those 2 are battling it out for space in my small garden.) Since I just started them 2 days ago, I didn't feel they were ready for prime time.

So many good suggestions. Thank you everyone!
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
May 19, 2017 2:26 PM CST
Just asked if the kids will be tending the garden and/or able to 'touch' the flowers. Answer is 'YES, it is their garden.' However, the lady who is my contact said that she will be doing most of the work.

She also said that both seeds and starter plants are welcomed. So now I'm going to take advantage of some of the suggestions y'all have given me.

In case I haven't said this or in case I haven't said it enough, all of y'all are just great!
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
May 19, 2017 2:41 PM CST
Flower !!! Good job you're doing.
AND 😁 Thank You !!!
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
May 20, 2017 7:25 AM CST
Lamb's ear- don't think anyone has mentioned. Bronze fennel?
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
May 20, 2017 12:40 PM CST
I have a huge bronze fennel in my own perennial bed. I'm only growing it for butterflies. Just been meaning to find out if now is a good time to plant one due to our soon to be unbearable TX heat and also because I can't remember when I planted mine. Someone recently told me that I should be on the lookout for loopers.

Lamb's ear. Interesting. Will look into it and growing conditions.

Thanks.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
May 21, 2017 5:57 PM CST
Tx flower : howdy I tip my hat to you.
Get your fennel planted right away.
In pots or somewhere that will get shade from the hot afternoon sun.
I bet it will be okey and dokey. 😁
Hear we plant in early fall for winter harvest, late winter to early spring for late spring harvest. Thumbs up
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
May 22, 2017 9:43 AM CST
I know that this is kinda late to plant a lot of stuff given the heat that is sure to hit soon. Last week the temps had reached the low 90s but surprisingly we're getting rain and now the temps are in the 70s. So you might ask what I'm doing inside typing and I realize that I need to get myself outside. Later, y'all.

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