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Beginner Gardening Questions: Brand New Gardner- Please HELP!

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Forum: Beginner Gardening QuestionsReplies: 12, Views: 224
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Aunteum
Grove City, OH

March 13, 2013
12:44 PM

Post #9448152

Hi There, my name is Ali and I am a 42 year old Mother of 3. My family and I live in Grove City, Ohio right outside of Columbus. I found this site while doing a search on the internet. I am very excited to learn as much as I can from everyone. I have very little (and I mean little) gardening experience. I love beautiful things and have always wanted to challenge myself to learn how to garden. For some reason...I did not get the "green thumb" gene in my family :-)

Anyways, I was wondering if someone can direct me to articles I may want to read as a beginner. Their is so much information, I am not sure where to start? I have no landscaping currently at my home other than a few shrubs that don't look very nice. I was wondering if you can suggest some great starter flowers, bushes or trees for my zone. I would love to have re-occuring blooms if possible, are these called annuals? Also, is their a book I should read first in order to get myself acquainted with the basics? As I said, I am a complete newbie...but I want very badly to learn. I have no family to help make suggestions as my Mother recently passed away...so I am looking for as much advice as you can throw my way. Thank you so much for reading my post and I look forward to getting to know you! Ali

taylordaylily
Hamilton, OH
(Zone 6a)

March 20, 2013
11:38 AM

Post #9455954

Hi Ali, I also live in Ohio. I live between Cincinnati and Dayton. When I started into gardening several years ago. I started with books at local library and I also took some classes at cincinnati zoo. I myself love daylillies and salvia.
Daylillies have many different times of bloom. Stella De Oro has a very long bloom season. Daylillies come in many colors. Warning they can be addictive.!
Salvia blooms from spring till frost. All you have to do is keep the dead flowers cut off(deadheading). They come in purple and white and pink.
Annuals will give you color all summer. However you have to replace most of them every year. Some will reseed.
I grow some annuals from seed and some I buy, but my staples are perennials.
I have some dark purple Iris and some Stell De Oro daylily I could share with you.
I hope this helps you some.
purpleinopp
Opp, AL
(Zone 8b)

March 21, 2013
7:35 AM

Post #9456828

Hi, Welcome to Dave's & gardening! I lived in Worthington/Dublin/Powell area for over 30 years.

Perennials are plants that have no specified aged limit, and are expected to come back every year, assuming you've gotten the right plants and put them in the right places, and that mother nature doesn't do anything too out of the ordinary. It's always a gamble, and they usually take a few years to mature and really do great things.

Annuals are plants that complete their life cycle within a year. These are often easy to grow from seeds, and many bloom for a long time. They are the jewelery of a garden, the variable accessories.

Biennials are plants that grow foliage their first year, blooms the next. Some can live for more than 2 years, but considered a pleasant surprise.

Many plants that are really perennials are sold as annuals because they can be mass produced inexpensively, and are attractive and desirable. These are usually referred to as tender perennials.

You are probably in zone 6, you'll need that info to know which perennials are hardy in your area. Your neighbors should be able to tell you - the ones with the great looking yard. That's another thing I would recommend, talking to people in your neighborhood who have yard that you like. Tell them how great it looks, and I'm sure they'd be happy to answer any questions.

Awesome places to shop: DeMonye's, Oakland nursery, Strader's, Dill's, can't remember the name of the one on Bethel Rd... These kinds of stores have people who can give advice, not just run the cash register and help you load your car.

This time of year it's normal for some shrubs to look like crap. You may like them in the summer.

The overall layout of your yard is the main thing in the beginning. Are the play/relax areas well placed and adequate? Paths? Is there enough shade? Flowers are really the decorations of a completed garden, completed meaning the layout is comfortable, not too difficult to maintain. Then you work from large to small. Do you need any trees? They will alter your shade/sun, so they go in first. Then shrubs, then flowers.

Since you're so new and you don't know what your existing plants are going to do, I would encourage you to use mostly annuals this year. Get to know what's there, make plans to remove stuff you end up not liking. Study the sun/shade patterns because it's very important to put perennials in the right exposure or they will not do well. They are also more tricky in regard to using plants that don't creep around too much and take over/smother the other plants. And since they're coming back, more forethought is needed to plan for what it will look like in a few years, not weeks or months. Annuals are also inexpensive, and easy to find about anywhere they sell plants. I would recommend the true garden center type stores mentioned above, or other great ones in the area, for buying perennials, trees, shrubs.

"The Well Tended Perennial Garden" by Tracy DiSabato Aust is considered "the bible" for perennials. She is in New Albany area I think.

If you'd like someone local with tons of experience to talk to, my "bestie" still lives up there. She does gardening for people but I'm sure she would be happy to give you some current local info, and planning advice. Although I've started many in your area, she has started many more new gardens than I. Her brother is an arborist, should you need such services, just let me know.
- Tiffany

This message was edited Mar 21, 2013 9:36 AM
taylordaylily
Hamilton, OH
(Zone 6a)

March 21, 2013
1:19 PM

Post #9457216

Hi Tiffany,
You explained everything so well. I just had to say WHAT A GOOD JOB.
Have a good day!
nelsoncastro
Victoria
Australia

March 21, 2013
5:37 PM

Post #9457480

"You explained everything so well. I just had to say WHAT A GOOD JOB."

Couldn't agree more! Indeed you have done a great job.
Seedfork
Enterprise, AL
(Zone 8b)

March 21, 2013
5:47 PM

Post #9457488

I want to also congratulate Tiffany, I learned a lot myself. I thought that was a great post!
purpleinopp
Opp, AL
(Zone 8b)

March 22, 2013
8:39 AM

Post #9458074

I will forever and increasingly feel indebted to repay the kindness of others out there, without whom I would know nothing! Thanks, and passing it down the line, to anyone who's helped me before.

I ran out of time yesterday, but a couple things that can save a lot of frustration with perennials...

Unless you're going to order plants over the internet, developing a list of plants you want is often futile if you're just using books and websites. If stores don't have them, you're back to square one of planning. Go see what plants the stores have, then come home and look them up, especially pics of mature plants. Then you'll be able to plan according to what you can actually buy, know what it's going to look like at maturity, how much it costs, and not buy anything "unexpected." That tiny little thing in a pot could be 6 feet tall and wide in a couple years.

Beware of pass-along plants (and ground covers in general.) People are almost always passing them along 'cuz they've got way too much. You never know, but you probably won't be offered any Japanese maples, but those creepy crawlers, people will grab the shovel before you can say, Uh, I don't know... They love it, and you think it's pretty, and in a few years, you may be shoveling it out of the way too. Not at all saying everything someone would offer is to be avoided, just get a good look at where it came from or look up pics before you put it in the ground, to make sure you know what you're getting into.


sm4657
Marshalltown, IA
(Zone 5a)

March 22, 2013
9:35 AM

Post #9458127

Welcome Aunteum!

You will love Daves Garden...

I was like you 3 yrs. ago. I wanted to start gardening, and didn't have a clue where to start.

I live in Iowa, and I subscribed to "Fine Gardening" and " Garden's Gate"magazines. They had great suggestions and also pix on great gardens. I then subscribed here. These people on Daves Garden were so helpful (still are), and knowlegable. I checked all the sites on here, and started with a very small area for my flower garden. I started with 2 clematis (check that blog, and go on the internet to see how to plant them ) and a couple of daylilies, and a couple of hostas for the shady area. With a little success that year, the next year I planted more daylilies, (they ARE addicting) , and I planted a hydrangea. These are my perenials. They come up every year.
Oh, and I bought a half wine barrel, and planted wave petunias in that...turned out great...these were my annuals...only good for the year they are planted.
This year...yep, I want to plant a couple more daylilies, more annuals, and maybe a few other perenials...

Make sure you know what your zone is (it sounds like zone 6), to make sure whatever you plant, it will do well in your zone...

Then start small, and as the year or years go on, plant more...before long, you will be like all of us on here...GARDEN ADDICTS :)

Good luck...and have fun.
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

March 22, 2013
2:19 PM

Post #9458325

Big welcome to Dave's Aunteum, everyone here has been in your shoe's in as much as, WE ALL had to learn from others and as Tiffany has said so succinctly, plain speaking, easy to understand and in a friendly manner, that is the best type of information and the nicest type of encouragement anyone could have or give.

It's very easy to be hurtful, smarty pants etc, but the sad thing is, the recipient's of such treatment very rarely come back on the site which to my mind is very sad, very selfish and really pointless, I believe it shows the persons lack of decorum, As far as I am aware, the sight ? forums is for beginners and should remain as such.

I hope you will get a great deal of enjoyment from the Gardeners here on Daves and look forward to many more chats about your new found hobby, Sorry, the word hobby will soon be replaced by obsession ha, ha, ha.

Have a great gardening year and good luck.
WeeNel.
asparagus06
Goodview, VA

April 12, 2013
9:32 AM

Post #9481326

Welcome to the wonderful world of gardening Aunteum!
My favorite website lately for some good beginner information is http://gardeningandpreserving.com/main.html
Give them a look, I think you'll be pleased. I've been gardening for a few years now and as hard as it sometimes is, it is most rewarding thing you can do for yourself and your family.
Good luck!
Asparagus06
1st_timer
Sydney
Canada

April 15, 2013
5:46 AM

Post #9484462

Hi Ali! I hope your garden is doing beautifully since your post in March!
My name is Lisa and I'm in the EXACT same predicament as your were back a month or so ago-I do hope it's all good now...
I attempted to start off with these Jiffy discs in a 'Jiffy 72 disc greenhouse, but I mixed up outside plants, perennials, annuals, tomatoes, herbs-you name it, now there are some that are way too high for the lid on the greenhouse and some that have not sprouted yet...I don't know what to do-remove the ones that are over growing and what exactly does the "first true leaves" mean? Some have two small leaves but are sooo delicate I don't dare take and replant them! Also, (probably a big bob-boo) is before I bought this greenhouse, I bought some compost and soil and just went ahead and planted the seeds in a small pot! Do you think they'll take? Hope so-as I have pots all over my kitchen and dining area covered now in plastic to keep them warm. Before I forget, I live in Nova Scotia, Canada. I have no idea what zone I'm in...but it is still cold out and we just had another 3 days of snowfall this past weekend! UGH!
In anycase, I think I am in the very same boat as Ali and read all the posts...but I think I need a little bit more info-especially on transplanting, what to plant together in those greenhouses, how and what to use to plant seeds etc...I am trying very hard...(plus I bought probably close to 100 tomato plants-thought there was 1 but found out there wew 10 in a pot! Thankfully my husband LOVES tomatoes (I don't care much for them, but really want to excell at gardening! )
Help! I really don't know what to do..and don't want to start over again...my husband is currently building a 2x8x8x7 square "box" that we are planning to add gravel, tar paper with holes in it and soil, peat, etc...for our vegetable garden-is this a good idea?
Thank - you in advance for your replies!
Lisa Stokes
weetless
Caro, MI

April 18, 2013
8:28 AM

Post #9488474

Hi to 1st_timer, am not specially trained or anything but have gardened for over 35 years and have learned a few things the hard way. and read done things wrong to learn how to do better. If you want nice tomatoes, and weather in farmers almanac says its to be hot and dry, use a nice double handful of compost. I buy some from local big acre store by the bale. plant when its warm. When temp is above 50 or 55 degrees. as below that it sets the plants back. water always with warm water, not from the cold hose. fill buckets with hosed in water the day before and let them set till use the next day to take off the chill. plant that tomato with half a crumbled up eggshell and about 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts(magnesium) water early in morn or not after 4pm. so the plant has time to air out and not get damp rot. in fact water the ground and not the foliage as much as possible. the spongy compost holds the moisture in our sandy soil. doing these simple things has resulted in excellent tomatoes. and before buying plants or growing them yourself from seed look up the varieties. ex. if you want them for canning , buy canning tomatoes. I like brandywine heirloom. can save your own seed. and a pretty good sized higher acid tomatoe also if you grow tomatoes from seed to plant here in mi, putting them into the pot to start the seed about March 5 works well .If you do peppers, they germinate slower but plant at the same time . Both like heat. and light. if grow your own peppers from seed the small peppers take less time to ripen. This last couple of years the garden did very well in dreadful heat, but it was the compost. I ditched the fertilizer. and watered transplants that I grew. in fact was amazed at the broccoli( a cool weather plant) that was gorgeous last year. grown in handfuls of compost with the magnesium and eggshells also. trimmed a leaf off this plant or that plant. blanched the leaves chopped in delicious soups and sauces. a little experiment proved to me the benefits of compost growing. some broccoli planted without withered and survived but was not healthy and robust, but the composted ones thrived in drought-
like heat. the broccoli, because its a cool weather loving crop, I hosed the ground under them with cold water. the composted ones never withered all summer but I did water them nearly every day. also , when planting move your things around. the brassicas(cabbage, broccoli, kale, mustard bok choy) don't plant in the same area next year. the tomatoes and peppers, don't plant them in the same area next year to prevent diseases. and burn the stems left in the fall of both these types. ps if you have any access to brush. burn them and have wonderful additions to your soil. potash
Cicca
Herndon, VA
(Zone 6b)

May 25, 2013
11:46 PM

Post #9534125

[quote="Aunteum"]Hi There, my name is Ali and I am a 42 year old Mother of 3. My family and I live in Grove City, Ohio right outside of Columbus. I found this site while doing a search on the internet. I am very excited to learn as much as I can from everyone. I have very little (and I mean little) gardening experience. I love beautiful things and have always wanted to challenge myself to learn how to garden. For some reason...I did not get the "green thumb" gene in my family :-)

Anyways, I was wondering if someone can direct me to articles I may want to read as a beginner. Their is so much information, I am not sure where to start? I have no landscaping currently at my home other than a few shrubs that don't look very nice. I was wondering if you can suggest some great starter flowers, bushes or trees for my zone. I would love to have re-occuring blooms if possible, are these called annuals? Also, is their a book I should read first in order to get myself acquainted with the basics? As I said, I am a complete newbie...but I want very badly to learn. I have no family to help make suggestions as my Mother recently passed away...so I am looking for as much advice as you can throw my way. Thank you so much for reading my post and I look forward to getting to know you! Ali

[/quote]

Hello Ali! Welcome to the space, I know you will enjoy it here.
I started out last year like you, knowing nothing about anything!
I have been known to kill anything remotely green. The running joke in the family was that while our great grandfather would take me to his green house I was not allowed to touch anything because I had a "black thumb" ;-)
I miss that old man! But, I learned a lot that first year, firstly I learned that even after I thought I knew something there was more to learn still!!!

I have some seeds I can share with you mostly morning glory, moon flower, mint, a few types of tomato and things like that, mostly herbs since cooking is "my" thing. However, come next spring I will have planty of Lily of the valley to share if you would like some.
Do some research on what zone you are in, you can look at the back of seed packets to find it quickly or ask someone in the garden center of Home Depot, Lowes etc. I'd not bother asking anyone at walmart... they usualy don't have a clue.
Be careful to find out if a plant is considered invasive in your area, morning glories for example are in some states however you live not far from where I grew up so I doubt that is the case since we grew it for as long as I can remember.

Rose bushes make a nice addition to any garden, lilies of all types, Dhalias (sp?) Corn flowers, mums, things of that nature are good starter plants.

Some plants that you buy in pots will say that you are not allowed to propogate them this means that you should confine them to a pot. Why this is I don't know ... Maybe someone else can answer that question.
I hope that helps get you started, google is your new best friend! and be sure to check out the plant files here in the site!
Enjoy,
~C~

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