Total newbie and can't decide on plants for my garden!

Discussion in 'Garden Design' started by Beeker, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. Beeker

    Beeker In Flower

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    The snow hasn't melted yet, but I didn't think it would get in the way of these pictures.
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    For the side of the rectory that is facing the busier street, I plan on planting some butterfly bushes to entertain the cats, and maybe some more of those other bushes that are near the door, I think it is either azalea or rhododendron. We definitely want to break up the white on that side of the building. A climbing vine would be nice if we can get it to climb the rectory without doing damage to the building, of course.
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    The brick structure used to be a sign. Now we only use it for statues, but we would like to have some vines climbing the brick and the wood back.
    Last year, I planted Tulips and Easter Lilies in the front of it, and in the planter in the back (facing the rectory) I tried many various plants, I borrowed some vine clippings from a friend, tried sweet peas, and also some Clematis. I don't know what I will have come springtime. I will take pictures when some things, if anything, starts poking through. Also, around the bottoms of the Cedars, I planted some Lily of the Valley that my cousin was going to throw away because it was taking over her yard. I don't know if they took the transplant well, but we will see.
    I will try to show what I mean when I get pictures of the church, but I am hoping to plant some Winter Jasmine near the porch and train it through the railing. I figured the green would break up the white nicely, and the yellow flowers in the winter would be a nice surprise for people.
     
  2. Droopy

    Droopy Slug Slaughterer Plants Contributor

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    That's a big and exciting area! :D You've already got some sound advice here. I'm looking forward to following your decision progress.

    The sweet peas are annuals, but the vines and clematis are perennials and will hopefully come back. That lily-of-the-valley is a terrible, little plant when let loose in a garden. I'm still trying to get mine moved out of the way into a corner, but it just won't listen! :D It's good as a cover underneath different bushes and shrubs, though.
     
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  3. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Contact a good garden center in your area, not the big box stores that also happen to sell plants, and ask where you can get a soil testing kit. You can also contact a local gardening club, botanical garden, the Agriculture dept of a local college....they will all tell you how to get the kit. It comes with directions on how to use, where to send it and how much the test costs, usually around $25. When you get the results it will come with complete info on what the pH level is and what the soil might be deficient in.

    Just don't go adding amendments to the soil without knowing what it truly needs. You can turn the soil toxic that way and nothing will grow.
     
  4. Beeker

    Beeker In Flower

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    Thank you all for the warm welcomes and advice. I greatly appreciate it! Keep it coming! :)

    Hey Droopy,
    Wait, there's more!
    I still have to post pictures of the church!

    GrandddaddyDayCare,
    Thank you for the tips on the landscape design software. I downloaded Showoff Home Design and virtual garden. So far, I think Showoff will get most of my attention. I like the idea of loading in a picture of the area and adding pictures of the actual plants.

    Toni,
    Thank you for the info on the soil testing kit. I know what you mean about adding things before testing, I have fishtanks, and am on a couple forums where I help people who are breaking into the hobby. I am big on testing and watching symptoms before doing anything. It saves a lot of time and money in the long run.
     



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  5. Beeker

    Beeker In Flower

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    I just had a thought about Verbena and Petunias. I like the idea of colorful plants that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Any thoughts?
    Also, there are deer and turkey in the area. We like having the animals around, but how can we balance having enough plants for the butterflies and hummingbirds, plants to keep the grounds pretty, and having other plants for the deer to chew on? Any ideas?
     
  6. Beeker

    Beeker In Flower

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    I was looking at the trumpet vine to attract hummingbirds and butterflies, and decided against it. It looks beautiful, but I don't think I would be able to keep up with something so invasive. I thought of planting it in a container, but the building is so old, that I don't think I could dig a hole big enough to bury the container. Any other plants will do.

    So far, the snow is melted, and some plants are popping up. I am not sure what all of them are. I only know that some are tulips and some are Tiger Lilies. The others might be Daffodils. I plan on digging up the Tiger Lilies this week and planting them on the border of the woods. They don't look very nice in front of the church. They make the area look messy.

    Here are pictures of the front edge of the church property:

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    This is a picture of the walkway from the front of the church around to the rectory and parking lot:

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    This picture is from the corner of the church looking towards the front. You can see the tree stump on the left.

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    This is taken from the corner of the rectory. Along the edge of the church, on the right side of the picture, are some small Hostas.

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    So, what do you all think? I am ready for brainstorming.
     
  7. bsewnsew

    bsewnsew Hardy Maple

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    If your in the market for all summer and fall blooms.
    Try French marigolds .. about foot tall and bloom the heads off. They are easy for newbies.

    If you want tall easys , try the tall marigolds, cracker jack .

    Then each year try another ?/
     
  8. Beeker

    Beeker In Flower

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    Thank you, bsewnsew.
    I was thinking of marigolds to put around a small plot of tomatoes. They are the flowers that keep pests away, right? Or am I confusing them with something else?

    I was thinking of putting a Christmas Box on each side of the porch of the church. What do you think? Would it be too much sun for them? Where can I find them? I have asked around and nobody has even heard of the Christmas Box or Sweet Box around here.
    I find it strange that nobody seems to carry winter bloomers in this area. I am trying to find the Christmas Box and Winter Jasmine, and you would think I were looking for a white elephant.
     
  9. bsewnsew

    bsewnsew Hardy Maple

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    100% CORRECT ON MARIGOLDS. I use them yearly ..
    beautiful and bloom till frost.

    christms box ? beats me .. maybe get a carpenter to build one out of wood .
    Sounds good.. In your area not winter like ours.

    Lenten rose might work in winter too.
     
  10. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Christmas Box is a Boxwood shrub that has been trimmed into the shape of a Christmas tree. You can find them at florists and some garden centers at Christmas time or you can grow the boxwood in a container and shape it yourself....either way you have to keep it shaped since it doesn't normally grow that way.
     
  11. Beeker

    Beeker In Flower

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    I don't think I'll keep the Christmas Box in the shape of a Christmas tree, probably just as a regular shrub as long as the spot isn't too sunny for them. Is it? I am thinking of putting one on each side of the steps in the front of the church.
     
  12. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    What you need to do is visit your local garden centers or possibly a botanical garden close by and see which ones grow well in your area and what their requirements are. There are many species and cultivars, some like full sun some do best in partial shade. Someone who gardens in your area will be better able to tell you which ones you should plant than I could living down here in north Texas. ;)
     
  13. Droopy

    Droopy Slug Slaughterer Plants Contributor

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    Hostas are nice plants, since you can cover their surroundings with either newspapers or ground cloth and put bark chips on top. Makes for easy maintenance. They also look good all season and will generelly need division only every four to five years or so.

    I like boxwood too, since it's slow-growing and evergreen and takes well to hard pruning.

    Do you want to grow any shrubs anywhere, I wonder? There are lots of nice ones that take well to hard pruning or are slow growing. The Siberian Dogwood for instance, with the red branches. Green in summer, red branches in winter.

    Bulbs are also generally easy to grow, and can be put by deciduous shrubs. Snowdrops, grape hyacinths, different kinds of narcissi and the short lilies for instance.

    Heathers are used a lot around here for cemetaries and parks, since they grow and do their thing without much care.

    You could also try to sow some summer bloomers like sweet peas or nasturtiums. That won't cost a lot moneywise, and they're very pretty.
     
  14. Beeker

    Beeker In Flower

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    The Hostas are great but deer keep eating them every summer.

    I could probably use some shrubs down near the road. I have plans for a Blue Spruce tree and a Weeping Cherry tree. A shade tree would be nice. I was looking at an Autumn Olive tree, but I don't know a thing about them, and it probably would be best to keep away from plants that will make a mess of the property. Flowering, but fruitless, trees would probably be best.

    I have planted some Lilies and Tulips around the parking lot and bordering the woods. Also, I planted some around that big brick sign, as well as some pink Lily of the Valley plants. I am not sure that it was such a good idea because I heard that they get a bit out of control, but I'll try to keep on top of them.

    I tried the sweet peas last summer, they didn't do well at all. I guess it was too hot in that area for them and they didn't have the right things to climb on. I only got one flower from them. Maybe I'll try them again in a shady spot.
     

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