Welcome to the Beginner Gardening Questions forum!

This forum is here as a special place where you can ask ANY question. It's our hope that this forum will make a comfortable introduction to gardening for any of our members who need it. Have fun!


Blyth, ON(Zone 5b)

Hi there, and please allow me to add my welcome to Dave's. There are many, many people here in the Dave's Garden community who are more than happy to help out our newcomers, so please don't be shy. There's a wealth of knowledge and experience here for you to draw on.

Enjoy the time you spend here, and feel free to ask us anything you want to about gardening. I'm looking forward to being able to help you out with your questions whenever I can. Happy gardening!


Taft, TX(Zone 9a)

I am not new to gardening, but new to this zone. It has been many years since I started everything from seed. I had good luck in the fall, but now I am overwhelmed with all these packets of seeds (many of which I won't use but a few)..where is a site that could help me organize these in a fashion that i don't have them all over the room on the floor trying to decide which to germinate next. Some of us just have good ideas about organization and I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. Love this website.........never learned in school what I have learned in only a month on davesgardens site.

Sanford, MI(Zone 5a)

Hi I'm new to roses I want to grow David Austin roses in my zone 5 yard but I don't know that much about growing roses and I'v look all over this site can't find much help or I'm not asking the right people or looking in the right places. Maybe I need abook on growing roses in Michigan ? can any boby help? thanks G.

Blyth, ON(Zone 5b)

Hi bettygail! I'm afraid I can't help you out with questions specific to your zone, but you might want to try the friendly folks over in the Texas Gardening Forum - here's a link to it for you:


For tips about organizing your seeds you could try the Seed Saving Forum at:


I'll bet someone out there has a few tips to offer.


Blyth, ON(Zone 5b)

Hi there glevely! Don't give up hope just yet. Have you tried the Michigan Gardening Discussion Forum? Here's a link http://davesgarden.com/forums/f/region_mi/all/ . Someone there must be growing David Austin roses and would be able to help you out if you asked the question.

If you haven't found the Roses Discussion Forum yet it's at http://davesgarden.com/forums/f/roses/all/ . You could pose your question out there too.

I know you were probably hoping to get an answer right here, and maybe someone else will come in who can offer more help than I can. I'm just going to be starting with roses myself this spring, and none of my first ones will be David Austin roses. In the meantime, please don't be shy about posing your questions on any of the forums I've listed here.


Rome, GA(Zone 7b)

Hey this is a great forum. I'm gardening seriously for the first time this year and realizing just how much there is to learn. I have been reading a lot of books from the public library in hopes to not ask any really stupid questions here on the other forums, but you have opened it up now and I can go ahead and ask what I was afraid to before.

Bettygail, did you move from a northern zone? Because I know I have been baffled by the fact that I can grow things in the fall and winter here in the south...

As far as seed organizing, I've been struggling with that too, but I put them in groups based on if they were cold-loving or heat-loving and then alphabetically. Mine are mostly vegetable seeds though.

This message was edited Jan 18, 2007 9:43 PM

Dunedin, FL(Zone 10b)

Hi Everyone New to Dave's Garden Well Come much !!
I enjoy all types of gardening House plants, Tropical's, Growing by seed is a joy too my Hubby and I both enjoy ! We just like growing everything ! Were growing more outside now than in as living in Florida Tropical weather makes it even more fun we have fount we can grow everything ! Each day I enjoy reading Dave's News seeing new photo's in Plant Files learning about new plants and finding where I can buy them ! Amazing all the beautiful plants there are we have been trying a lot of new ones and most Thanks to nice caring people on DG's sharing with us ! I'd like to share with you all too !
I like to share information and answer any questions I can . I enjoy trading and sharing what ever I have too !
Have fun ! Allison

(Zone 6a)

Great idea for this set of forums :)

Summerville, OR

Hello Glevely- we are in Zone 5a and after a lot of experimentation have found the following Austins to be reliably hardy: Abraham Darby, Falstaff, Golden Celebration Good Luck!

Blyth, ON(Zone 5b)

Hi again bettygail. Now that I have a little more time, I'll try to respond a little better to your question about organizing seeds. I can only tell you what I do, of course, and it may not be suitable at all for you :-)

I tend to use those multi-day plastic pill sorters/containers to store my seeds in the crisper of my refrigerator - they stack nicely and take up much less room than other things I've tried. Usually I buy the ones that have 28 individual "cells" - 1 strip of 4 cells (probably marked AM, Mid-Day, PM, and Bed-Time) for each of the 7 days of the week, all in a plastic frame that they just snap into.

Two caveats: They're not very useful for very large seeds, and their tops tend to have spaces around the "hinge" side that very small seeds could escape through. To solve that problem I use a strip of plastic wrap laid overtop of the open strip of cells, push it well in around the "hinges", and then snap the lids down overtop of it. Then I just wrap the rest of the plastic wrap right around the whole strip.

I keep a numbered reference list of all of my seeds. This list is generally sorted by indoor sowing month, and I try to keep tropicals, annuals, perennials, etc. grouped together within the month, so I'll have a range of numbers "reserved" for each group type. You might prefer to sort by common or latin name, colour, mature size, bloom time, or anything else you can imagine would be more useful to you. Something I have considered as my seed collection grows is keeping an alphabetically sorted list that cross-references to the page numbers of my germination month/group type sorted list.

With each type of seed I put into the containers I write its number on a small square of paper and put it into the cell on top of the seeds before closing its lid. I also note on my list which tray number they are in (I just use a piece of masking tape with the number written on it to stick to each tray).

Finally, I have a document that is a copy of the reference list (seed name, number, and tray number), with the addition of a picture of the plant, germination instructions, zone information, and cultivation requirements. As I complete an entry in this document I add its page number to the reference list too.

Overkill? Maybe - but I can always find what I want in less than 1 minute, and know all of its details within 5.


Dunedin, FL(Zone 10b)

Those are great tips Ginny ! Thanks !

Blyth, ON(Zone 5b)

You're welcome :-)

(Zone 5b)

All of the above sounds like great advice. My problem is that I have moved from Santa Barbara, CA to Council, Idaho and all of my expertise in gardening is of little use here. I would like to plant native plants in my yard so I would have little to move indoors in the winter. However, most of the nurseries who sell natives are for wholesale and I have trouble finding the ferns and shrubs that will live through 0/5 degrees. Any thoughts as to how I can proceed. Want to landscape my yard in the spring and am trying to analyse my situation. Are the swordferns that is sold in local nurseries the same as the ones in the native listing and will they survive the cold? ANY help would be appreciated. Many thanks..

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I would guess that most of the ferns, shrubs, etc being sold at your local nurseries will probably stand up to your winters. But they may or may not be the exact same as the plants that the native nurseries offer--some are probably the same and some probably aren't, most nurseries I know carry a mix of native and non-native, with probably larger quantities of non-native but climate appropriate plants. I don't trust places like Home Depot, etc to carry climate appropriate plants, but local nurseries will tend to be a bit better. And they will often have staff who are knowledgeable about plants, so if there's a plant you're not sure about and there's no info about hardiness on the tag, you could always ask them. (When I say all this, I'm assuming that your local nurseries are in the same type of climate as you--if you're up in the hills/mountains and the local nurseries are down in the valley then this may not be true, although if you can find a knowledgeable staff member they could still probably help you out.) If you haven't done this already, you should check out the Rocky Mountain gardening forum--I'm guessing that would be the appropriate regional forum for you? You'll probably find some other people from your area there and they can advise you on what grows well for them. The other thing you could do is search on the internet to see if there's an Idaho native plant society, most states have those and you can get a lot of good information from them, and they may be able to point you to good sources for plants, or at least give you a good list of the names so you can match them up when you go to the local nurseries (getting Latin names is better than just getting the common names...there are probably a million different "sword ferns", but maybe only a few specific ones that are native or do well for you so knowing the Latin name of what you want and then matching it up with the Latin name on the plant tag will help make sure you get what you think you're getting)

(Zone 5b)

Thanks ecrane3,

You give me some place to start...I live about 2 hours north of Boise in a very small town. Our closest nurseries are WalMart and Home Depot and have found the help to be just that, not versed in what they are selling. But I will try the Society and see how far I get...I am on a quest!

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Yes, don't trust Walmart or HD for advice on plants, or to have the plants that you want for your climate. I would definitely check out the Rocky Mountain gardening forum here too, I'm sure you'll meet a lot of great people there who can help you out.

Also, check out the new local gardening feature that Dave started up a month or so ago--you can use it to search for nurseries that are not too far from you, who knows, maybe you'll find one near you, or at least one that makes it worthwhile to drive to Boise!

Jersey Shore, NJ(Zone 7a)

glevely, here is another site with loads of info.
Roses are wonderful, you'll love them

Woodstock, IL

Hello! I have a question regarding my Rose of Sharon Hibiscus syriacus 'Minerva' (Family: Malvaceae Genus: Hibiscus Species: syriacus Cultivar: Minerva.) I am in zone 5 (Chicago). We planted 2 of them last summer, they are about 3 feet tall, and they did bloom. We are wondering is it time to prune and how much to prune. We have no buds yet. Thanks for any help.

Paris, TX(Zone 8a)

I'm so glad to see this forum. I'm not entirely new to gardening, but I've had so many failures, that I've been limiting myself to houseplants, which seem to do ok for me. I think it's because they're in pots. I got interested in gardening about 3 years ago, but I still haven't discovered how to properly water a ground planted garden. I have a tendancy to water too little, and as a result, only the strongest, most drought resistant plants survive in my outside garden. House plants, however are easy, because I know that when water flows out of the bottom of the pot, it's properly watered.

This year, I've decided not to plant anything new into the ground, but instead, to plant in large pots, placed strategically in my yard and garden area. I'm hoping that I can use the same technique as for my house plants, and finally, have a successful garden. I look forward to learning as much as I can.

Jennifer (jdee)

Taft, TX(Zone 9a)

If you get brave enough to put something in the ground my best advice is: when you water, water deep and thoroughly and prepare your soil the right way the first time.....hard to amend the soil once you get plants in it.....good luck and welcome to DG...I have learned more here in a few short months than everything I had learned in my life!!!

Mchenry, IL(Zone 5a)

lengels, hello from mchenry! while i am unsure of your specific rose of sharon. e i have several rose of sharons. they are impossible to kill. i wouldnt prune them at all untill they get really big, unsightly, or mis-shaped. i didnt have to prune mine for the first 4 years when it took over my entire side yard. i learned the hard way when you prune you have to use a sealer, specifically to prevent growth. otherwise sprouts will appear where ever you prune. i cant, for the life of me, remember the name of the stuff but you should be able to get it at countryside, castle garden , or any other of the knowledgeable nurseries in our area. you can start new rose of sharons from the seed. if yours is a double or hybrid it wont come true, but they are pretty anyway. happy gardening kathy

Richmond, VA

HUNGRYKIM here and I am having a really bad day. The ants in my yard got into my seed trays ant stole all the seeds. You should have seen the little monsters working by the moonlight, taking my vegetable seeds away bit by bit. I am devastated. The growing season here is not very long, so I am running out of time for starting over. Does anyone have any advice about this? The trays were covered with those plastic lids that come with them. If I can eventually get the seeds sprouted, will the ants eatthe sprouts, too? Thanks for the help any of you can offer.

Taft, TX(Zone 9a)

i vote to rush to the nursery and buy plants!!!

Milton, NH

I have a Dutchmans pipe which has started with pipes. I have no flowers yet. How long before I get flowers. Do I need to do anything special to make this blossom? It is climbing on a trellis. I know nothing about them
thank you

Taft, TX(Zone 9a)

maybe someone who knows will come along.....I know which plant it is but know nothing about growing it.....

Palm Bay, FL

Greetings to Everyone!
I am new to this group and also somewhat new to gardening(I find it peaceful and relaxing at times) Did I mention the satisfaction it gives me when I do something right? Anyhow at this point in time, I am interested in knowing what flowers are used in making a butterfly garden. Also what would be the best place to put it?

Taft, TX(Zone 9a)

There is a great hummer and butterfly gardening forum............they know a lot more than i do.......

I have one in full sun........with ascepias currassavica, lantana, ..........my mind is blank as to the names of the other blooming plants..........

I suggest you go to the right forum....welcome aboard to a lot of fun and learning........
***edited to say that asclepias currassavica is "Milkweed"

This message was edited Jul 8, 2007 9:03 PM

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

laceangel, a Hearty WELCOME TO THE SITE!

Just offhand and briefly I'd suggest "butterfly bush" (Buddlea davidii), tithonia (Mexican sunflower) and even milkweed! All of those are very heat and drought tolerant so will give you many flowers, attract many butterflies, and are extremely low maintenance!

Best of all to you and yours. Enjoy your garden!


Garner, NC(Zone 7b)

Hey Shoe!...Plant Delights still becons:-)

Laceangel...also we have bronze fennel and parsley for the butterfly catepillars to eat. The black swallowtails will eat them to the ground, but that's why I plant it. You can also put a shallow pan or pot saucer in the garden with a rock in it. If I remember correctly they will come to the water.


North Ipswich, Qld, Australia

Degarotty here, I am also new. My passion are Cacti & Succulents. I have sowed some seeds but I have no idea what to look for to see if they are germinating. Would anyone be interested to have a look at my journals and see if you could answer my questions their, with all of your experience I sure hope so.
It's great to be aboard...........................................................

Taft, TX(Zone 9a)

Degarotty...........i know nothing about cacti and succulents...............head straight for their forum and they will welcome you and help...............good luck............post the same thing you did here on the Cactus forum................

Sweetwater, TN

im a new gardener and may have many questions so i hope someone could help me

Garner, NC(Zone 7b)

Lots of help here..Welcome! Post your questions...Someone is always around with answers:-)

Red Lion, PA

Hello. I'm new to this forum. I am also a gardener in training. I'm doing pretty well so far. Quick question for someone: I have stella dora's ( a type of day lily that continues to bloom all summer and into fall). Do I cut them back for the winter or just leave them alone?

Taft, TX(Zone 9a)

I am not the day lily lady (LOL) but I leave mine to wither back as winter sets in. My understanding is that , if you cut them back , they won't have enough energy to produce foliage and blooms next year. (meaning you can cut them back after they turn brown I guess)

Garner, NC(Zone 7b)

I've had Stella D'Oro's for a long time and never bother to cut them back. The only thing I do here is spring and summer divisions and clean up as foliage turns brown and flowering stalks finish blooming. These are about as easy as they come and give lots of blooms throughout the season.
Divide them every two to three years or they will overcrowd and not bloom as well.

Saint Petersburg, FL

new to it all.
I have a garden in 9b, bought planted some head and romaine lettuce. 45 days or so, went to seed.
I want to have only organic produce, do not know what grows best in my area, apparently weather is too warm yet for lettuce.
I want to supply my family with homegrown. My plot is 5'x20' at most. I have broccoli, cauliflower, collards, brussels, tomatoes, green bean, strawberry, and a couple of mint plants (separated by pots) in my garden. I had 2 squash plants that got eaten by some frog (or other pest) when they began to bloom.
Looking to order organic seeds for more plants. Any suggestions?

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Hi SuzeQue, you might get more answers if you make a new thread for your question, I'm not sure how many people are still paying attention to this thread. You might also try posting in the Beginner Vegetables forum, there are probably more people there who know a lot about veggies: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/f/b_veggies/all/

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

SuzeQue, WELCOME to DG! Glad you posted as I'm sure you'll get the answers you are looking for!

And yes, as Ecrane says, please feel free to start a new thread (I bet many others are asking the same questions!).

Hope to see you around the site!


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