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Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:49 pm
Location: The northern 'burbs of Chicago

A brand new butterfly garden

Hi everyone!

I am a newbie both here and to gardening as a whole, so my apologies if this is in the wrong forum.

I live in the northwest 'burbs of Chicago, the land of the yo-yo weather, and I have never had a garden in my life until four days ago. There was an area of the front where our three dogs have peed for four years. Needless to say, the grass was all burned away and the soil (at least on top) was pretty crappy. Four days ago, my husband and stepson, got rid of whatever grass was left in this 6' X 6' area as well as the ruined, clayey top soil. We then decided to put in a butterfly garden. I am a first time gardener and purchased the makings of a butterfly garden (daylillies, echinacea, a butterfly bush, catmint, and a yarrow plant on Monday. I also purchased something called 'Bumper Crop' which is supposed to be an organic soil conditioner. The people at the nursery said the main thing I SHOULDN'T do is overwater the plants - they send the plants I picked out 'thrive on benign neglect'. I transplanted them into well watered holes yesterday with the conditioned soil and water sense mulch surrounding but not covering the root balls, but when I came home today (Tuesday), they were all majorly droopy. Today and tomorrow, we are going to be hitting 95 degrees (105 with humidity). I watered them again today and they perked up a bit, but am wondering what I should do tomorrow when it gets over 100 again? I also have a gardenia plant, a jasmine plant and a patio tomato plant all in containers who also looked majorly droopy. How often should I water them? The plot is in full sun from 10 o'clock in the morning until 8 o'clock at night. Also, should I water the plants in the morning, when I get home at 6, or at night? I just really don't want to kill the first garden I've had in the first week I've had it!

Right now, I have a watering can that can trickle and one of those hose heads that have the varying settings from mist to soak to jet stream.

Again, my apologies if this is in the wrong forum. I just really need help!

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Newly planted plants need more water than established plants, especially in hot weather like you're having. If a plant is drooping, it's a good sign it needs a drink. While it's true that more plants die from overwatering than from neglect, they do need some attention until the roots get established. They also need more water when it's hot. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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Flowers do attrack many butterflies and there is nothing nicer then to see the humming birds! People always over look a nice quick flower from the radish. My radises allreay went to seed and I have some pink and white flowers on them! One radish spreads out and has nice flowers for a few weeds! Bees and butterflies all over them! You can even eat some of the early pods! The radish also makes a good compost material!
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:49 pm
Location: The northern 'burbs of Chicago

Thanks a bunch for the advice

Thanks to all of you who helped talk me off the edge last night. After getting your advice and a long and helpful phonecall to my nursery, I found out exactly what I needed to do in order to NOT kill my new plants. I gave them all a good drink this morning before I went to work, moved George (my big container tomato plant) out of the direct sun and under a tree to catch some shade, and, when I got home from work tonight, not only did I NOT see any droopy, limp plants, but I found beautiful FLOWERS on some of my daylillies and yarrow plants! HUZZAH!!!! :-()

The heat wave is breaking tonight (I am listening to the wind blow and have been able to open up some of the windows at last), and there is supposed to be some rain tonight and tomorrow, so no watering of the plants. George is back in his original home, but tucked up against the wall so the wind won't break him. He seems happy. As a matter of fact, ALL of my new plants seem happy! They might even survive having ME as their Plant Mom! Who would've thunk it? So, part of the credit goes to you guys. Thanks again! I will post pictures as soon as I can figure out how to upload the pix from my phone to here. In the meantime, send good thoughts to my little butterfly garden! :D

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