Planting Flowers

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Planting Flowers
11
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 10:51am
Hello all,

This is my first post to the boards :) I am a relatively new home owner and need some serious help with my gardening skills. I planted bulbs in the fall but now I am wondering about annual flowers? What is good for a semi-sunny locations (front of the house)? I was at the nursery this weekend and totally lost! Any expert advice is most welcome.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
In reply to: flexlexi
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 7:56am
Welcome flexlexi! What a full plate. To start, I will need to know what zone you live in. If you're not sure, give me the name of the state you live in, and whether northern or southern area of that state.

Then, Please let me know if you are interested in annuals...(new plants every year), perrenials...(plants that come back on their own, or can hold up during most winters even), shrubbery/trees for color, flowering, leaf texture and color, and such.

So, the best place to start is for you to answer the above. As for part shaded areas, there are so many plants than can be used, but how much money or work you are willing to put into that area either as a one time deal, or yearly....I will need more information from you. You can also stop by our chat later this morning at 11AM, E.S.T. and chat it up with others and me about these issues.

Mitch

 
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
In reply to: flexlexi
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 2:56pm
Hello,

Thank you for the gardening tips...I live in Chicago, Illinois or a suburb outside of the city. The front of my house gets direct sun for probably half of the day. I don't have a very big space or very much money to spend. I already planted tulip bulbs but I am wondering what I can plant this Spring that will last all summer long. We can get really hot summers (usually July & August). Any suggestions are most welcome :)

Lexi

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
In reply to: flexlexi
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 2:26pm
For foliage, may I suggest lambs ears, dusty miller, or caladiums, and for flowering performance through the majority of the year, Impatiens, of various types. Their leaves are even of several shades, let alone the flowers themselves, and neither of what I've recommended require entire garden areas to grow in....a large bag of good top soil, and one of same sized real good potting soil mix would be enough for up to a dozen of any of them, or all together...a dozen plants plus about 15 dollars worth of soil is a pretty good investment.

Side note....the lambs ears with their silvery/green, soft textured leaves will stay to a point of green throughout the year in your area. Be prepared to use a saw to cut back excessive growth, by cutting through from top through new root growth each year. You can use these cut offs to add borders in other areas too...it is a very hardy plant. The impatiens will give you flowers throught the year until the first good hard frost, then can be pulled out, and planted new ones next late April for another year of blooms.

You asked for easy care,,,,this combination will last best with least total cost not just this year, but for years to come. with little attention except in case of severe droubt, where the impatiens may die off if not kept with some water.

I hope this is easy enough for you for starters, but I still preffer for my own yard to use the soil mixture by my own hand.....cheating costs a bit more, but doesn't take as long to work in....Please make sure you use natural product mulch around your plants, and they will almost take care of themselves.

Mitch

 
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2003
In reply to: flexlexi
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 3:49pm
Hello - I am also relavtively new to message boards and Im not even sure if Im doing this correctly. You sound like you know a lot about flowers, Mitch, and I was wondering if you could help me with my plans for this year. I live in South East Michigan and would like to plant flowers in my front yard (faces East). I want to plant something that will be full, like a ground covering, because it is for a walkway. I also dont want to plant every year. Is there something I could plant this spring that would grow every year and still be full with minimal maintinance? Right now there are a few tulips but they are sporatic and not very attractive. Could I save the bulbs and replant them somewhere else next fall?
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
In reply to: flexlexi
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 7:31am
Welcome cheerleader4god......I just love such a screen name, and hope it means what it sais!

If you want full ground cover that you can walk on, there just aren't any plants that can be walked on...If on the other hand you are looking for something to go beside walkways, there are several low growing hedge type evergreens and even some that have yellow in their leaves that grow slow enough that you can trim them once a year, and have good growth, color, but no flowers. For flowering type plants that will come back year after year, you can't go wrong with the variety of hostas with their multiple drifts of yellows, whites, and shadings within their green leaves, putting out tiny flowers onto a single stalk year after year. For real low growth, quick growing, won't loose it's color over the years, but a bit agressive, you can use lambs ears. Shucks I had a couple that got large enough to get onto my sidewalk, but people stepping on them over the winter on just one area didn't harm the plant, and they stayed green even through the snows. Now, in your local nurseries, there are a few tender looking ground covers with multiple purple to white flowers (albeit small sized) that are specifically used as ground covers. They will seem to die back during the winters, but will come back in the spring like a blanket of light green with those tiny flowers.

Another wonderful ground cover is (several varieties of ivy) that you can get in multi colored leaves. NOW...a very agressive ground cover that gives a very deep green and lush look, but must be mowed along with your grass....mint...I have some as a boarder along one of my beds, allowing it to spread into the lawn that's made up of peppermint, and (chocolate mint)...yep...it has a smell of chocolate mint in it. I would be the first one though to recommend you plant such in elongated containers, and trim it through the year with scisors, and throw the plant stalks away from where you don't want them, or into the garbage. Mint grows from almost nothing into a field full of wonderful smelling when cut with a mower ground cover....smells great, but is extremely agressive in growth habits. It also takes the least care in starting though, as shucks you don't even have to prepare a great soil mix. I've seen it growing in soil that seemed over 90 percent stone to soil made up of 100 percent clay, to the best soil mixtures made up by man.

If you can tell me more about what type of ground cover....flowering or for greenery itself, I will attempt to guide you through soil prep and best for your area.

One trick...I mix the lambs ears with vinca and impatiens...yep, the impatiens have to be replanted each spring, but will give you color, butterfly and hummingbird watching time, and is easy care through the season. Neither the lambs ears or impatiens take much tending to other than in the spring, where I cut back the lambs ears with a hand saw into managable shape...It does grow pretty quickly, but anything you cut off can be re-planted in new areas, given away, or thrown away, and the impatiens come up after the first killing freeze, and can be planted again by early May in your area.

As for moving tulips: you will need to wait until after the leaves turn brown, and the temperatures drop to nightly ones around 40 degrees and lower again in the fall, simply dig them up, and put them in other locations. You could remove them as soon as the leaves turn brown, and store them in dark dry locations in a box filled with peat moss to help dry them up until fall, but your success rate may suffer for new gardeners....It's just easier to dig them up just in time to put them back into their new homes.

Mitch

 
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
In reply to: flexlexi
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 2:22pm
Mitch,

Your are the best! Thank you for all of the great advice, I am gonna plant impatients galore. One question though...you said you can plant them and then pull them up after the first frost? So you can't leave them there over the winter and just replant more in the spring? You are the expert so I will take your advice.

Thank you!

Lexi

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2003
In reply to: flexlexi
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 8:08pm
Wow Mitch! That was so informative. Thank you very much for all your suggestions. Ive never even heard of lambs ears! I was looking for something with flowers, and probably something I could get at a nursery or have my local nursery order for me. I really dont have a lot of time to be "taking care of plants." I work and go to school part time and also coach high school cheerleading. Very full schedule! Something I could plant and forget about for the season (other than watering) would be perfect for me. Is there such a perfect flower? And yes, the screen name does mean what implies :)
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
In reply to: flexlexi
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 9:06am
Good question flexlexi: Zones 4 and lower need to pull the plants up and put them into compost piles for turning into plant food next year. The soil around the plants, not entangled with roots will also aid in breaking up the soil for next years plants.

Those in Zones 5 and up....shucks they may get temperatures that will allow the impatiens to bloom clear into early spring next year even, but they will die out, and have to be re-planted. Even then, if you pull up the plants, and put in new ones you will have more room for the new roots to grow in, and not get any (surprises) from allowing the old ones to stay in the ground. It's always best to pull annuals out before planting in new ones.

Mitch

 
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
In reply to: flexlexi
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 11:50am
Mitch,

Thank you for all the great tips you seem to be a real pro. I am gonna get some impatients and plant them for the spring. I have one more question for you. My husband and I planted some small bushes in our yard last summer. They all survived the harsh winter and look great, except one little evergreen bush that looks like it has died. What is the best way to handle a dead bush? Should we take it out and replant another one? I planted the same bush about 3 feet away from this one and it is thriving. Is it possible the one we planted last year was a "dud?" Or should we consider a different plant at this location? Appreciate all the help!

Lexi

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
In reply to: flexlexi
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 1:37pm
On the "dead shrub" first, I'de give it until mid May to see if it was truely dead, or if it got severely burnt....hard to tell sometimes, BUT if you want the "instant results", simply using a shovel, digging a circle around it at the drip line....around the plant right where the ends of it are, one shovel deep will work, the entire way around, then you can simply tip the shovel in one of the areas, and rock the plant loose. Then either lift it by hand, or tie a rope around it at the base where it meets the ground, and let your car pull it for you....(My back isn't strong enough to pull most shrubs out, so I use my vehicle)

You can then simply dig the hole a bit bigger in diameter, get fresh soil (just in case there was something within the roots of the dead one) Make sure also that you get out all the old planting materials that came with that plant too, and plant in a new shrub where that one was. You will need to do this within the next few weeks in order to give the new plant the best chance at a good start.

Now: make sure that as you put in the new plant, fill around it about 1/3 up, water very heavily, fill another 1/3, and water well again, and one more time, fill, and water, this time, work a stick around the (very wet) soil to make sure there are no air pockets down there. Now you can check the level, making sure the total soil height is NOT higher than the soil that came with the plant, then work the soil so that it's a bit lower at the outside area to form a (well) for watering through the year. You can let this all set up for a day, then put down your mulch, not disturbing that well you worked in.

One more note: This for everyone who reads this too....DO NOT use evergreen type mulch around evergreen shrubbery!!! This means, no pine bark nuggets, or shredded pine or cedar chips. Use either hardwood chips or cypress instead. The cypress is a bit better for insect control than hardwood, as termites and ants aren't very fond of it.

Mitch

 

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