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Old 01-11-2009, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
3,927 posts, read 7,717,752 times
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My flower garden did not do well at all last year and I want to try something different this year, but I don't know what!

I am going to tear out most of the plants in my beds except for the shrubs and just start over, but need serious advice.

1. When is the best time to start preparing the beds?

2. What is the best way to prevent lots of grass?

3. I want color mixed in with the beds and have iris's planted on one end where it is sunny, and want to have a space where I can put annuals in and around the shrubery....

4. the beds are shaded in the morning and get mainly afternoon sun, one end only gets dappled sun because of a tree...


what is the best plants for planting? I want it to look lush, and have blooms..I would love to have it look like a country cottage garden

I live in zone 7b according to Mississippi extension office.
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Old 01-11-2009, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Albemarle, NC
7,730 posts, read 12,435,111 times
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Oh, I know this one.

1. Now.

2. Get some newspaper, put down at least 5 layers. Cover with grass clippings and shredded leaves. Use your mower.

Most perennials don't bloom their first year, so plan to include a lot of annuals this year. Depending on what your garden centers have, you can pack your bed with 6-packs for about a buck 50 each. OR, if you're feeling really adventurous, check out wintersowing. WinterSown.Org ~ The Authoritative Site for Winter Sowing Information.

For perennials, stick with the basics first. Echinacea, Rudbeckia, salvias. Some salvias require full sun, so be careful when you choose them. They also come in all shades from white to red to salmon to yellow. Good annuals should include petunias, salvia splendens, nicotiana. Make note of the height of mature plants. When you buy plants, most have a spacing requirement, do half of that, but make sure you feed regularly, or apply a 10-10-10 in the next couple of weeks for it to be ready in the spring. In a cottage garden, you should also think about hollyhocks, foxgloves, and cosmos. The cosmos are annuals. None of the others will bloom in the first year so be prepared to fill in with annuals. OR, buy your perennials this year in bloom.

Don't buy any shade loving plants like hosta. Even dappled sunlight in zone 7 will fry them. They need to be in heavy shade.
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Old 01-11-2009, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
3,927 posts, read 7,717,752 times
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wow...thank you for that info....ummm, could you come up here for a week or so LOL, just kidding, but thank you very much!
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Old 01-11-2009, 07:06 PM
 
Location: West 'Burbs of Chicago
1,216 posts, read 5,035,671 times
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OH and Cottage Gardens also need Agastache ... they will bloom first year.
and Zinnias -- they are annuals, so you will have lots of color once they bloom.
If you want Monarch Butterflies, you need Milkweed Asclepias curassavica.

Do browse thru Paper's thread on Winter Sowing.... we both added some photos.
http://www.city-data.com/forum/garden/498579-winter-sowing.html
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:40 PM
 
Location: somewhere close to Tampa, but closer to the beach
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aiangel_writer, Like paperhouse had suggested, go ahead and begin soil preperation as soon as the ground is workable..Right now,your main goal is to get the soil ready for spring..If your soil lacks it naturally,add in a good compost as well..

As the weather turns warmer,and as your local garden centers begin to get in spring stock,look for a combination of both summer annuals as well as durable perennials,especially those which will not require too much maintainance or water...

Most perennials you may get from the nurseries will readily flower through the spring-summer,depending on the species ofcorse..Many perennials started from seed will take about a year to flower as paperhouse had mentioned..Still,there are others which are biennials which,if started from seed,won't flower untill their second year of growth..

Perennials id recommend for your region include: Rudbekia,ratibida( Praire cone flower),Echinacia,Coreopsis [ Zagreb and moonbeam],several Salvias including Azure sage (Salvia azurea),Agapanthus ( the smaller deciduous cultivars),hybred daylilies,Butterfly weed ( a species of milkweed..),sunrose(Helianthemum..hardy in your area)..and Dianthus cultivars to name a few..

As for annuals, try to have more perennials because while annuals can make good additions to any garden situation,most will require alot more maintaince and water then most perennials..Annuals which are less water dependant for summer color include Cosmos, marigold, Madagascar periwinkle, and..while they generally may be considered annual in your area, every garden should include Gentain sage..(Salvia patens)for a show of huge,bright true blue color,nothing beats this outstanding plant..even if it dies off in the winter..zinnias,and the creeping varities of Bidens daisy are two other great adds to the list of annuals for you to choose from..

Last edited by si33; 01-11-2009 at 11:54 PM..
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Old 01-11-2009, 11:47 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
3,927 posts, read 7,717,752 times
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wow, I am impressed...and have the feeling I will be printing off these lists and trying to work up a managable garden that will be less maintanence and more pleasure....I am excited for sure.
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Old 01-12-2009, 01:10 AM
 
Location: somewhere close to Tampa, but closer to the beach
2,035 posts, read 4,411,585 times
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..Just to add a couple more plants for you to look into: Autumn sage (Salvia greggii) and Germander sage (Salvia chamaedryoides) are both drought tolerant and great sage species which are also hardy to your area..though they might die down to the root crown in winter,maybe requiring a light mulch cover in the coldest winters there..

Both of these are indespensible landscape choices which also attract butterflies and hummingbirds..Autumn sage comes in white, Dark or medium Red, Red orange, Pink, Purple, Salmon, and Coral..i think ive even heard of a rarely seen yellow flowered cultivar..though ive yet to see it anywhere..

Germander sage has deep blue violet to medium dark Blue flowers and silvery grey green,or bluish green foliage..this is one of my favorite sages to recommend to those clients/customers looking for showy flowering, easy, drought/heat tolerant plants for their landscapes..

Both of these sages stay under 3 feet as well.
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:34 AM
 
Location: South Carolina
13,075 posts, read 17,592,822 times
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I always tell everyone roses cause they are so easy to take care of . I know everyone thinks they arent but they are . Just fertilize them , water them and plant them where they can get plenty of sun and leave them alone and you will have some of the prettiest blooms you have ever seen . LOL!!!
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Old 01-12-2009, 07:56 AM
 
Location: West 'Burbs of Chicago
1,216 posts, read 5,035,671 times
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I shoot for all drought resistant plants. the area i have 'way' out back, my 100' hose does not reach that far. I will only give them a drink a few times as seedlings, after that... they are on their own, only getting what Mom Nature gives them.

last year i had about half annuals and half perennials.... and i can't recall losing anything to drought.

for Roses... add banana peels. I read that somewhere and always add them now.
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Albemarle, NC
7,730 posts, read 12,435,111 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phonelady61 View Post
I always tell everyone roses cause they are so easy to take care of . I know everyone thinks they arent but they are . Just fertilize them , water them and plant them where they can get plenty of sun and leave them alone and you will have some of the prettiest blooms you have ever seen . LOL!!!
Yep. Roses have problems when water dries on their leaves. If they get good circulation, they can be pretty simple. If all else fails, there are knockout roses that are disease tolerant due to breeding.


Be sure to check out lasagna gardening too. It's the method I was describing using newspaper as mulch.

And seed starting basics for indoor seed starting. And of course, WinterSown.Org ~ The Authoritative Site for Winter Sowing Information. for starting seeds outdoors. It's simple, cheap, and it works. You might need to wait until Mid-march for most seeds in your zone. Mine have already begun to sprout and Thursday night will really test them at 17 degrees.

Agastache is a good plant. And don't forget lilies. Both daylilies and oriental/asiatic lilies. Orientals include varieties like Stargazer and Casablanca. Both have amazing fragrances.

Plants that grow quick and produce a lot of bang for the buck include cosmos, cleome, lantana, datura, petunias, and marigolds. Those are all annuals and can easily be started from seed.
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