Ask a Question forum: My first Flower Bed

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Name: Verac
Vinton, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America
Verac
May 30, 2018 1:34 PM CST
Hello all,

You can call me Verac. I am a new home owner and I've always been a big lover or all thing flora and fauna.

I am brand new to gardening and I find myself taking inventory of my house's flower beds and deciding what to do with them.

The house is 50ish years old and it looks like the flower beds haven't seen too much love in the past few years.

So, I am looking for a community to help me figure out how to properly handle these beds as I begin the process of transforming them and learning about gardening and plants.

I am focusing on one bed to begin with. This bed didn't look to bad when we bought the place but spring has seen it explode with vines and what I assume are weeds. The bed is in a corner of the yard where most of it does not get a whole lot of sunlight and remains shaded for the majority of the day.

The only thing I have done with it so far is to pull a humongous amount of poison ivy out of the bed. I'm now in the process of spraying the leaves whenever they pop up with a woody plant specific poison I bought at Lowes. (seems to be working, I will keep at it until they no longer pop up)

I think my best bet is to completely redo the bed. To that end, I want to first identify what I have in there and, if possible, pull the things I want to save out into pots and then replant them once the bed has been reset.

I've included some pictures of some of the plants in the bed.

I know that I have a large (I assume it's large) peony (bloomed this spring with very large white flowers).
I think I have sweet alyssum in one of those pictures
One of the pictures shows some kind grass (I think it will flower? A Lilly or something?) and there is quite a bit of that in the bed
Other than that, I've included a couple pictures of vines and plants that I assume are weeds. I see berries forming and there is a bunch of Virginia creeper (and some remaining poison ivy)

If I could get some help identifying what I have pictures of and help recommending the best way (or if it is possible or worth it to) move the plants to pots, that would be a big help!

A view of a particularly weedy portion of the bed
Thumb of 2018-05-30/Verac/c01543
A weed of some kind I think, I did a quick search and is it crab apple?
Thumb of 2018-05-30/Verac/1415a1
A distinctive vine that is now creeping over the bed
Thumb of 2018-05-30/Verac/265a59
Looks like I have berries growing
Thumb of 2018-05-30/Verac/468584
Had pretty white, small flowers early spring. I think it's Sweet Alyssum?
Thumb of 2018-05-30/Verac/4d07eb
Lots of these, Lily or some kind of decorative grass?
Thumb of 2018-05-30/Verac/2c4c0c
My Large Peony
Thumb of 2018-05-30/Verac/f5239a

Name: Connie
Edmonton, Alberta area (Canada (Zone 3a)
Cat Lover Butterflies Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Daylilies Plays in the sandbox
Dragonflies Ferns Region: Canadian Peonies Bookworm Clematis
Image
conniepr27
May 30, 2018 5:33 PM CST
I see daylilies (pic 2), lilies, and peonies. I also see the berries. If it's blackberries, they are hard to get rid of. Might be salmon berries, though?
Name: Connie
Edmonton, Alberta area (Canada (Zone 3a)
Cat Lover Butterflies Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Daylilies Plays in the sandbox
Dragonflies Ferns Region: Canadian Peonies Bookworm Clematis
Image
conniepr27
May 30, 2018 5:37 PM CST
You have a big job ahead of you. I know what it's like. I bought this place 10 years ago and didn't know anything. I started like you. Slowly, trying to learn what is already there and what they needed from me to flourish. Then added as I learned more and gained confidence. Good luck and have fun! It's a very rewarding, and very healthy, hobby to get into!
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Bookworm Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California
Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
May 30, 2018 7:03 PM CST
I saw very few "weeds" in those photos. Lots of things that need controlling though. I would start with staking/trellising the vines, and other tall plants, pull the few that you know for sure you don't want, and wait to see what blooms. That Grass type is probably a bulb that you may want to keep, and the raspberry (?) vine, for instance. You may find some welcome surprises.
Name: Verac
Vinton, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America
Verac
May 31, 2018 6:55 AM CST
Thanks for the replies!

I know I want to try to keep the Peony, the Alyssum, and the Lilies. I think I might want to keep some virginia creeper and a berry vine or two.

I have young kids though and I need to do something about the poison ivy. I was planning on pulling everything out of the bed that I want to keep and then doing something to kill everything in it.

I'm not sure if that is the best approach now or not though.

From my googling, Peonies seem to be sensitive to transplanting into pots. I think the lillies should be easy enough to pot. The Alyssum I haven't researched yet. I haven't researched the vines either.

What do you all think?
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter Region: Mid-Atlantic Native Plants and Wildflowers
Keeper of Poultry Region: United States of America Dog Lover Cat Lover Birds
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sallyg
May 31, 2018 7:05 AM CST
FIrst picture of weeds- I see all weeds, I can't see anything you need to keep.
the 'crabapple'- maybe.. cut or pull it
The vine- grapevine? pull it
Sweet alussum? no,t annual Lobularia .. keep it
Virginia creeper- remove all you can at this time. It will be back later if you think you want it then you can have it.
THe 'grass' is daylily, watch for flowers and we can confirm -- it looks like common asian H. fulva which is tall, rangy and may not be your best choice. But a lot of people grow and like it.
I would try leaving peony in ground, pulling around it.
Mulch the bare ground as you go, keep new weed seed from growing.
It's doable! Carry on Hurray!
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Mindi Hammerstone
Tracy, CA (Zone 9b)
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
May 31, 2018 9:51 AM CST
Verac,

Congratulations on your new house!!! We moved into our house three years ago.

Welcome!! Welcome!

😀

Mindi
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
stone
Jun 1, 2018 7:26 AM CST
First picture looks like rambling roses, mulberry, virginia creeper, wild lettuce, raspberry, dandy lions, and possibly poke.

Until we identify what we have, we're likely to remove something that we regret later.
Name: Verac
Vinton, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America
Verac
Jun 2, 2018 9:15 AM CST
Thanks for all the replies!

I've taken some better photos so maybe identifying things might be a bit easier. I tried to take photos of every distinct plant I could:


Section A of the bed:
Thumb of 2018-06-02/Verac/299132
Section B of the bed:
Thumb of 2018-06-02/Verac/a6c4a5
Specimen A. So this is a Lilly I think as someone said. Lots of those:
Thumb of 2018-06-02/Verac/1ca1af
Specimen B. The Peony bush, looks like some pods of some sort are growing where the flowers were.
Thumb of 2018-06-02/Verac/a20c1e
Specimen C. Not sure what this is
Thumb of 2018-06-02/Verac/5d511d
Specimen D. Not sure what this is. Anyone know for sure if it is crabapple?
Thumb of 2018-06-02/Verac/7c56bd
Specimen E. Not sure, some kind of vine.
Thumb of 2018-06-02/Verac/d9160f
Specimen F. Someone said wild lettuce?
Thumb of 2018-06-02/Verac/21d9ef
Specimen G. Not sure.
Thumb of 2018-06-02/Verac/d421fe
Specimen H. Pokeweed?
Thumb of 2018-06-02/Verac/d0d2c2
Specimen I. Berry vine, not turning black yet. It's looking like what we call wine berries around here (they make excellent cobbler)
Thumb of 2018-06-02/Verac/24faa0
Specimen J. Is this what someone referred to as a rambling rose bush?
Thumb of 2018-06-02/Verac/918484
Specimen K. Not sure what this is.
Thumb of 2018-06-02/Verac/1fe3c8
Specimen L. Pretty sure it's the Virginia Creeper that is quickly taking over the bed. I plan on cutting it back as suggested.
Thumb of 2018-06-02/Verac/ed03c3

I was given some ID stakes that I want to go stake everything that I plan on keeping (you write on the plant name on them). So hopefully these help with IDing things.

Thanks!
Name: Mindi Hammerstone
Tracy, CA (Zone 9b)
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
Jun 2, 2018 9:42 AM CST
You have a nice green garden there!!! Can't help with the IDing but just a compliment!!

😀

Mindi
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter Region: Mid-Atlantic Native Plants and Wildflowers
Keeper of Poultry Region: United States of America Dog Lover Cat Lover Birds
Image
sallyg
Jun 2, 2018 3:08 PM CST
a- Daylily, probably weedy ditch lily
b yes peony, seed pods
c not sure, maybe mulberry- weed out
d privet , can be hedge, but frequent wild weedy shrub
e mulberry for sure, remove it
f yes something like that
g tree of heaven remove!!
h yes pokeweed
i berries keep if you like
j rose, but watch, if clusters of small white flowers can be invasive rose
k ? Senna?
l VA creeper, remove all you can, cutting back will make it laugh at you
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Irises Garden Photography I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Butterflies Birds
Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hummingbirder Plant Identifier
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Zencat
Jun 2, 2018 3:13 PM CST
Everything Sally said. Thumbs up
Name: Verac
Vinton, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America
Verac
Jun 3, 2018 3:39 PM CST
Thanks!

Based on the comments, I've started cleaning out the bed.

I just noticed a new plant right above the bed. It has some pretty hanging flowers.
Thumb of 2018-06-03/Verac/f6859c

Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter Region: Mid-Atlantic Native Plants and Wildflowers
Keeper of Poultry Region: United States of America Dog Lover Cat Lover Birds
Image
sallyg
Jun 3, 2018 5:08 PM CST
How tall is that? Tomatillo or ground cherry. Confused
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Verac
Vinton, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America
Verac
Jun 3, 2018 5:30 PM CST
sallyg said:How tall is that? Tomatillo or ground cherry. Confused


Looks like I have about 8 or 9 plants. The tallest is about 28 inches tall

I googled Tomatillo and Ground cherry and I think you are spot on. Not sure which one though...

Thumb of 2018-06-03/Verac/46cfd5

Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
stone
Jun 4, 2018 2:35 PM CST
C) looks like hackberry... valuable butterfly host plant.

D) privet, weedy invasive... weed out with extreme prejudice!

E) Mulberry, a keeper... I had to bring in the mulberries into my present garden... the song birds will appreciate. They may even share!

I) still raspberry... I'd keep.

J) yes, still a rose.

K) mimosa tree... another weedy invasive.... remove.
Name: Verac
Vinton, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America
Verac
Jun 4, 2018 3:00 PM CST
An update:

I've begun cutting back the virginia creeper and and things are starting to look much better.

My Specimen I berries are turning black now (so I assume blackberry?)

I have started digging out the privet... those things have a heck of a root. I dug out a small one and almost broke my shovel. Ended up pulling out a massive root about a foot and a half long and running straight down!

If I get time today I need to dig out the tree of heaven.

Got stung by a small blackish wasp (never been stung by something like that before)

And I discovered the ground cherries. I am excited to see if and how well they fruit!

Been doing a bunch of research on the ground lettuce that you all identified. I had no clue it has the medicinal uses that it does. I'm half tempted to leave a patch in and try my hand at collecting the sap after they start flowering.

All in all, off to a good start.

Name: Verac
Vinton, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America
Verac
Jun 4, 2018 3:03 PM CST
Oh, and I went ahead and deadheaded the peony (I read that it might be beneficial). I read that I might want to consider fertilizating it at some point (no clue when it was last fertilized if ever)

And I started a compost bin in a plastic tub. I'm new to composting so for now I'm just tossing in weeds and watermelon rines we have sitting around. I read that you should have 2/3 brown matter in the compost bin but I don't think I have access to any. I need to figure out what to do with that. Going to drill holes in the tub tonight and figure out where I want to put it more permanently.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter Region: Mid-Atlantic Native Plants and Wildflowers
Keeper of Poultry Region: United States of America Dog Lover Cat Lover Birds
Image
sallyg
Jun 4, 2018 7:54 PM CST
There are 'black raspberries'- if the berry comes off with a hole in the middle it's a raspberry, not that matter much if it tastes good.

Your weeds, fruit and vegetable scraps, and any loose fallen leaves will make a cold compost of some sort. You'll have plenty of fruit flies/fungus gnats which I like to hope are good for birds. You might get black soldier flies which are really awesome. In fall, you may want to go bigger on the compost so you can save your fallen leaves.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Verac
Vinton, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America
Verac
Jun 5, 2018 10:23 AM CST
sallyg said:There are 'black raspberries'- if the berry comes off with a hole in the middle it's a raspberry, not that matter much if it tastes good.

Your weeds, fruit and vegetable scraps, and any loose fallen leaves will make a cold compost of some sort. You'll have plenty of fruit flies/fungus gnats which I like to hope are good for birds. You might get black soldier flies which are really awesome. In fall, you may want to go bigger on the compost so you can save your fallen leaves.


Thanks, I think you are right about the berries, they have a kind of cup shape after you pull them off of the plant.

As for compost. is there any reason why putting a compost area next to the house might be bad? I'm battling termites currently so I don't want to do anything to draw them any closer. I could build a bigger compost area but it would have to be near a fence. I read that you don't want to put it RIGHT up against a fence but maybe if I back it off like 1 foot or so? Any thoughts?

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