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Old 11-04-2010, 11:38 AM
 
Location: Houston-ish
343 posts, read 575,646 times
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Default winter flower garden

Hello all. We moved to the Houston area last year from up north. I love to garden, but back home once October hit it was time to call it a day and wait for Spring. My question is, is there any hopes of having a flower garden down here during the fall/ winter season? I think we're zoned 8b or 9. Thanks!
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Old 11-04-2010, 04:14 PM
 
Location: Sherwood
4,995 posts, read 6,679,898 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmalone4 View Post
Hello all. We moved to the Houston area last year from up north. I love to garden, but back home once October hit it was time to call it a day and wait for Spring. My question is, is there any hopes of having a flower garden down here during the fall/ winter season? I think we're zoned 8b or 9. Thanks!
I am zone 7-6, and I am not sure about winter, but I have fall-blooming flowers. I guess you must have been pretty far North! Here are some plants that I have that may work for you:

1. Begonia Grandis - Cold hardy begonia, flowers in fall with pretty little pink flowers.

2. Cold-hardy Camellias - I have been in LOVE with camellias for years. I have some LuShan snow (white) and some cultivars(pinks). I think I have Winter's snowman etc. they're blooming NOW, even after the first frost, and there are TONS of buds yet to open. Pls research the best Camellias for your area since you want the plant to be happy. The plants I have like light shade and acidic soil. I found that they seem happiest under a big tree and should be mulched fairly heavily in fall.

3. Mums - Lots of colors, and you can plant them outside and the mums will come back every year. There's a Texas Chrysanthemum society. Maybe you can check them out.

4. Asters - The wild asters are still blooming here. You can try prairie aster, which is native to Texas for fall blooms. On my way to work, I also see some magnificent purple asters.

5. Jewel Weed/touch me nots - The flowers are native to my area, but they are okay for zone 9. The plant spreads like mad, but it starts blooming in late spring w/ little orange flowers.

6. Reblooming Irises - Irises are toxic and they're not native, but I still have several of them. My big purple and white ones just rebloomed last week! I think one of my asiatic lilies in full sun is going to bloom again, too, but I can't tell yet.


Why don't you try the local native plant society for a list of flowers for the area?

You can also try the following link:
Texas Native Plants
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Old 11-06-2010, 10:21 PM
 
Location: Houston-ish
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Thanks kinkytoes. I'm from Chicago, so gardening there is sooooo different from Houston. Perhaps next week I'll take a trip to the arboretum.
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
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I love cyclamens. They are great in Houston from Fall through at least early spring. They don't seem to like afternoon sun, though so try to set them up on the East side of a structure or tree. You have a lot of choices here for winter flowers so you may want to consult with the staff at a gardening store or with a landscaper.
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Lake Oswego, Oregon
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Yes! YES! YES! You most definitely can have a wonderful garden during Houston's winter months! The season begins when the Camellia Sassanqua begin to bloom, and the Elaeagnus send out heavenly perfume from their tiny blooms. Pansies get planted in October, and will bloom until hot weather arrives. Camellia Japonica and Paper White Narcissus open up between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Depending on the cultivar, Winter Honeysuckle will be open during the very coldest months (the ones we left behind in Mississippi smelled just like Orange Blossoms....ambrosial! And there are all sorts of bedding plants that have been adapted to Gulf South winters... Snapdragons that bloom all winter... Purple Kale...

Plus, there are the gorgeous foliage plants: Cycads; Southern Swamp Palmettos; Fatsias; Aspidistra (Cast Iron Plant). Depending on your microclimate, there may be a winter-blooming Jasmine you can grow, too. I seem to remember a night-blooming Jasmine with heavenly perfume, during the cold months there. And while we're talking about the garden's architectural plants, remember that Houston's are ideal climates for some really beautiful species of Bamboo. Imagine Golden Bamboo as a background for a deep maroon or white Camellia...

Meyer Lemons and Kumquats are doing interesting things during that time of year, and the Pomegranates and Persimmons also set lovely (and delicious) fruits, in Fall. Persimmons will persist on the bare branches, for some time. 'Country Girl' Mums, and plenty of other Mums, do well down there. And I seem to remember some Gingers having nice blooms in fall.

Terrytown, Louisiana has Houston's climate. I used to go there on business, and remember an eight-foot-tall Brugmansia or Datura loaded with yellow blooms, near Christmas.

To master the possibilities, I'd suggest a trip to the Antique Rose Emporium (and yes, antique Tea and China roses will bloom for you, up to the first real freeze), in Brenham. They have a lovely garden, with diverse plantings. Then, take a trip to your east, a bit, to the historic gardens in Louisiana's Bayou Country. The gardens near the coast (some of which have been established for nearly two centuries) should prove especially enlightening.

If you ask me, fall and winter are the very best time for gardening in the Gulf South.
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Old 11-09-2010, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Houston-ish
343 posts, read 575,646 times
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Grandviewgloria, you are awesome! I'm printing your replying and heading to the nursery. I will have to pack the kids up sometime this fall and check out the gardens you suggested. Thanks all!
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Old 11-16-2010, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Sherwood
4,995 posts, read 6,679,898 times
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Please be careful and research all of the plants before you buy them. For instance Datura /Brugmanisa is extremely toxic as well as invasive, and there may be better choices for your garden.
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