Gardening for dummies???

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by frannn, Jun 25, 2009.

  1. frannn

    frannn <font color=blue>please stop the madnesssss alread

    Nov 2, 1999
    Gotta love DH, my own personal "budget buster"! We just spent 350 for a new lawn mower, only to follow up with paying 500 :scared1: for a landscaper to do a cleanup on our postage stamp sized property (although there were a ton of weeds that were beginning to look like small trees).... They also cleaned out the flower box we have in the front lawn. Now I have to figure out the prettiest, least maintenance necessary, easiest to not kill flowers/stuff to put in the box area. Seriously, I think I have a "black thumb" because I kill everything green. We will not have a landscaper going forward, and I am clueless. Can anyone with experience give me some pointers? Weeding is not my specialty...
  2. swilshire

    swilshire DIS Veteran

    Jan 26, 2004
    I've never hired a landscaper, but for $500, I would have expected them to plant something too.

    I have a black thumb also, but just buy what I see that I like and replace it as necessary. In the Spring, I always watch for all the Plant sales. Lots of charitable groups and garden clubs have them here. Also the local high schools sell bedding plants from their greenhouses.

    If you're in a cooler climate, it might not be too late to plant veggies in the "flower" bed. I'd rather have homegrown tomatoes than flowers any day.

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  4. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

    Mar 31, 2007
    Look for perennials that are native to your area or do especially well there. Generally if a plant will grow wild in your climate, it'll be hard to kill in the garden. Without knowing what the climate is like where you live, whether your flower box is in sun/shade, how large it is, etc. I can't get more specific than that!
  5. perriwinkleblue

    perriwinkleblue Mouseketeer

    Aug 20, 2008
    How big is the box? What state do you live in?

    As PP mentioned, perennials are your best bet. Some, like Hostas, Daylillies and Coreopsis, are almost indestructible. Also, I know this is a no-brainer, but don't forget to water them. I have a dear friend that buys a hanging plant - it looks wilted (needs water) - so she chucks it out - buys another hanging plant - and repeats...
    I've told her that she just needs to water the poor things: the wilted leaves will perk up - but she insists that she just has a black thumb.:sad2:

    Good luck:)
  6. buzz5985

    buzz5985 DIS Veteran

    Jul 6, 2000
    You need to keep in mind that most perennials only bloom for 10 - 14 days. Some more, so you need to look at the structure of the plant and the texture of the foliage, to keep things interesting. Also consider movement. Some tall grasses will sway in the wind and bring interest to the garden. In the Northeast - we take into consideration winter interest. I nice red twig dogwood - the red of the branches against the snow is incredible. Or a shrub with exfoliating bark (oak leaf hydrangea) has a lot of interest when not in bloom. A nice vibernum shrub - known for the sharp texture of their leaves, flowers in the spring, and berries in the fall.

    There is a lot to consider. How much sun does the site get? How large is the site? Close to the street? Will sand and salt from winter street maintenance effect the garaden? What is the soil like? Well drained? Who is going to enjoy the garden? Any pets to consider? Children? What are your favorite flowers? Do you want to attract butterflies? Birds?? How much maintenance are you willing to do? Organic? Sustainable landscape? Do you use a mulching mower??

    Did your landscaper do a site survey?? Soil test?? Ask any of the above questions?? If they didn't you overpaid. If they threw on fertilizer on your lawn without doing a soil test - they should be fired.

    I believe in sustainable landscaping. Using native plants or plants that will thrive in the environment your buying for. Only watering when needed (grass needs to be watered when if you walk on the grass and it doesn't spring back up). You mulch your cuttings back into your lawn, which will give your lawn about 25% of the nutrients it needs to live. Number 1 - soil tests. How does Scotts know what your grass needs if it doesn't know what the soil needs?? Whatever the grass doesn't use - which is nitrogen - just drains into our rivers and ponds, the algae grows, chokes the fish, and on and on and on.

    Never thought your little postage stamp would need so much attention. Go to your library and start reading. Most plants die from being over watered - or under watered. LOL

  7. usandthem

    usandthem Earning My Ears

    Apr 3, 2007
    Petunias or Impatiens are usually pretty hardy. I bought a 6 pack of impatiens last year & put into 2 large pots and 1 long rectangular one and they spread through the summer to look full and lush. Throw in a something green and viney (like a vinca vine) and you will look like a pro. I am terrible with flowers, but have had much success with these. They are annuals so you would have to replant next year, not a huge expense depending on the area you are covering.

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