Bennieb
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Hello! Help with planning my first flower garden please!

Hi there! I am excited to find a forum that will hopefully help me navigate the world of gardening! We recently moved in to our first home last fall and are finally ready to start planting!

The first area I'm tackling is the flower bed directly in front of our house. There's a small window with a Yaupon Holly in front of it but that's in. I just bought a Lavender plant because I couldn't help myself and am still picking out the best place for it. We live in North Texas where the summers a pretty warm with some humidity and the winters fairly mild but capable of a few ice days.

I want mostly easy keeper perennials, and have areas for mostly sun, partial shade, and shaded plants. Maybe two shaded plants and a couple partial since I already have the Lavender?

The area drains pretty well, running from left to right, and pooling on the right side if rain is really bad. I will try to post a picture so you can see. I like color but also fullness without getting too tall and blocking the window. I have considered citronella, roses, Henry Duelberg, Hydrangeas (I know, lofty goals for this newbie), lemon grass, day lilies, and succulents. Any complimentary suggestions are so very appreciated! Thank you so much!

AnnaIkona
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Re: Hello! Help with planning my first flower garden please!

Glad you chose gardening as your new hobby! :)
Lavender is a plant that can grow almost anywhere, in my opinion. so once you have planted all your flowers around the garden, plant the lavender wherever there is space left...it will grow nicely anywhere.

As for all the other flowers, I suggest spending a full day visiting different garden center and just buying the plants you like :) I know it's not super helpful advice, but if felt like recommending anyway.
Local Garden Centers carry only the plants that thrive in your zone, so basicly any flower at the store should thrive at your garden.
Also have you considered growing veggies?

Happy Gardening! :)
Zone 8b, Canada

Bennieb
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Re: Hello! Help with planning my first flower garden please!

Thank you! I tried going to a few today and got very overwhelmed at all the options. I want them to just send me a list so I can research everything they have ha! And for veggies, I had not considered that. Do you think I should?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Hello! Help with planning my first flower garden please!

A picture or two would really help....
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Bennieb
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Re: Hello! Help with planning my first flower garden please!

Okay here is a picture
Attachments
image.jpeg

AnnaIkona
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Re: Hello! Help with planning my first flower garden please!

From the picture it looks like it is quite shady. Is it always that shady or does it get sunny sometimes too?

If it's always shady, look for shade flowers such as begonias, allysum, or corral bells. Or even if you go to a local garden center and go to the most shaded area of the garden center, that is most likely where they will keep all the plants for shade.

I know picking out flowers is so hard to do :) and can get overwelming if you don't know what you want. But it is really fun! Each spring, I normally take a shopping cart and stroll around all the garden centers in town picking out what flowers I like :)

Do you have anywhere else to plant other than what you showed in the picture? If yes, then definitely...growing veggies is a good idea. If you haven't grown veggies before snap peas are easy to grow as well as tomatoes, and herbs such as parsley and dill.
Zone 8b, Canada

Bennieb
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Re: Hello! Help with planning my first flower garden please!

The picture was taken in the early evening. The sun runs from right to left if you're looking at that picture. In the late morning the front part gets sun. Where I have the lavender plant sitting is where the sun lasted the longest throughout the day. There's also a place in front of the tree that got most of the day sun.

I'd like to focus on the plants that will be long lasting this spring into summer and play with annuals closer to late summer and fall. I want to have enough plants that stay there and don't let the place look so bare, but not overcrowded and allowing a few places to play with annuals.

Are begonias perennials? I was at a nursery yesterday and saw where it said annuals, but I was under the impression they were perennials. I do have other places. To the right and across the sidewalk there's a long flower bed with some coleus and potato vine, but it's completely shaded. To the left there's a red leaf small tree thing and there's decent sun around it most of the day. I also have a small courtyard off our master bed and bathroom but it's all enclosed, gets direct afternoon sun, but would require potted plants. I plan on working in these other areas too.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Hello! Help with planning my first flower garden please!

Shade gardens can be beautiful.

I would put a small shrub (possibly even two) in there, to keep from getting the ring around the tree look. It looks more natural if you step down the height of things. Possible shrubs for you that would handle the shadiness: New Jersey tea, silverberry, TX azalea, mountain sage, coral berry, viburnum.

Perennials to fill in with include: columbine, bellflower, camassia, heuchera, solomon's seal, skullcap, western bracken fern (bracken fern is almost the only fern that likes dry places).
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Bennieb
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Re: Hello! Help with planning my first flower garden please!

I'm sorry, I'm not that knowledgeable on terms. Shrubs are definitely needed too! I was categorizing them all as perennials, oops. I love the tx azalea, mountain sage, coral berry and viburnum you recommended! Would it look lopsided to have two different ones, say a pink azalea on the back left, viburnum on the back right, and maybe sage in a few surrounding spots? Should I have two shrubs that are the same on either side?

And as far as that lavender plant goes, do you think I should just pot it so I can move it around a bit and plant it later? I've always dreamt of having one and I made an emotional decision to get it over the Henry Duelberg yesterday!

imafan26
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Re: Hello! Help with planning my first flower garden please!

Lavender depends on the type you have. Augustifolia lavenders are hardy in zones 5-9, Dentata 7-9 and multifida grows best in zone 10 and up. Lavindins (crosses between lavender augustifolia and lavender intermedia) can be grown in warmer zones than l. augustifolia

Lavender is a large mounding shrub that like to be in full sun and needs a well drained slightly akaline soil. It does not like humidity or a lot of rain or it will turn black. It should be pruned once a year, but only the new wood to rejuvenate it. It can grow in pots but unless it is a very large pot, it will be smaller than in the ground.

Lavender (the edible kind) only has a short bloom season and mine are starting to bloom now. Multifida which is a zone 10 lavender is really ornamental and it has a musty smell so not culinary although it is still useful for a moth deterrent and for making small bouquets and it flowers almost all year.

Your space is not that big and there is a lot of shade so map it out. Research the size of the shrubs you choose and their bloom season. They will be your foundation plants. Your shorter perennials will be next. Plant in groups of three or more for better effect. Also look as bloom times. Not all plants will be in bloom all of the time so you want to stage things so something will be in bloom throughout your bloom season. It helps if you pay attention to colors and plant a limited color or complementary color scheme. You can also change colors if you choose yellow and blue blooming plants for the spring, red for the summer, orange for the fall. Annuals like white alyssum will give you continuous color all season and white goes with everything. Extend the downspout out further with an extension so it will not puddle in the bed, it is better to drain as far from the foundation as possible.

Hydrangeas will tolerate they shade but they can be large plants. Lemon grass does not care. I usually keep succulents and the more water loving plants in different areas. You need to consider light, soil and water needs. The plants you choose need to have similar needs planted next to each other. The site needs to provide all the needs of the individual plants. You don't want to over crowd the space so the plants will have enough room to grow in and good air circulation
is hard to come by in a corner planting. You can fill in with annuals until the shrubs mature, but map out the area and designate the space a mature plant will need and take it to the garden center so you can better guestimate how many plants will fit in the space. It is better to under buy and under plant than have to rip it all out later. I am visual so I find it useful to use substitutes in laying out a plan. A 55 gallon drum is a good sub for a shrub, so are a couple of large pots (You can stack them for the height), and smaller pots, toys, hoops, string and stakes, pinwheels, tomato cages, boxes, whatever represents the circumference and height of the plants you want. You will still have some maintenance so make sure you have a way to get through to the back of the bed to trim the shrubs and do house maintenance. I usually like to leave at least a couple of feet clear near the foundation for maintenance and because my termite guy said roots and water up against a foundation invites pests.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Bennieb
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Re: Hello! Help with planning my first flower garden please!

Thank you so much for this! I so appreciate it and I tried a couple of your techniques. The space at its widest points is 10ft long by 12ft wide. I placed a Cymbidium orchid (potted) in the corner, two feet from either wall, and a small flowering succulent on the back right of the tree. The size of the orchid I think is perfect in that corner and I think I could have a bush that spans about 3-4 feet on the right.

I think this would leave room for some other perennials directly in front of the bushes and maybe the tree, and then annuals along the outer rim.

I'm thinking either encore azaleas, virbunum, sage or yarrow as my bushes. Maybe salvia or Henry Duelberg in front along with my lavender? And then the white asyllums?

Bennieb
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Re: Hello! Help with planning my first flower garden please!

Anyone have any experience with gardenia?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Hello! Help with planning my first flower garden please!

Sorry, no experience with gardenia.

But I just now saw your response. RE: "Would it look lopsided to have two different ones, say a pink azalea on the back left, viburnum on the back right, and maybe sage in a few surrounding spots? Should I have two shrubs that are the same on either side?"

Personally I think it is preferable to have two different ones.

Two shrubs that are the same, planted symmetrically, is a very formal look, but your space doesn't lend itself to that.
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imafan26
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Re: Hello! Help with planning my first flower garden please!

Bennieb please update your profile with your zone and location. If you can grow Cymbidiums outside you are at least in zone 9 I think. Orchids don't like to freeze but cymbidiums do very well as patio plants in coastal areas like San Diego where there is fog but the ocean mitigates the cold. Gardenias are not frost hardy so if you put it out there you have to be frost free or keep the gardenia in a pot and bring it inside when it gets cold. Gardenia like a rich slightly acidic soil. They like micros especially iron to prevent chlorosis. They need good air circulation and you do need to keep an eye on them because aphids love them, but are not hard to control if you get them early. They will grow in full sun to partial shade. Gardenias come in tree form up to 20 ft. Amy Yashioka is a large shrub up to 5 feet, Veitchii is a little smaller flower and shorter at about 3-4 ft with smaller leaves, and radicans is a prostrate plant almost like a ground cover. There are other cultivars like Heaven scent, tiare (tahitian single flower), and First love. I have a nanu in my front yard it is native to Hawaii and it is like tiare with a single flower. It is a tree gardenia and I topped it around 5 ft, because I did not want it to become a tree.

I do agree with Rainbow that the space does not lend itself to a formal planting.
Rainbow often suggests looking for pictures of plantings to help with composition or I suggest driving around the neighborhood and seeing what people have that look good to you. If they can grow it, it should be good for you to and in an established planting you can see how big the plant gets. Plants in the nurseries are usually quite young so you can't tell what they will become just by looking at them. I would look for the plants slowly and not be in a rush to fill the space. You can always use annuals as fillers in the meantime.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Bennieb
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Re: Hello! Help with planning my first flower garden please!

Yeah I'm thinking gardenia is not going to be my friend on this. I need something a little more low maintenance.

When I was researching I read somewhere that I'm in zone 8. My cymbidium is in a pot and I just was using it as placement to see whether I felt a shrub would fit in there. However, I did consider planting it but have decided against it.

My SIL told me she felt Asta lilies (sp?) would fit well and like partial shade. I did do a drawing and I think I would like two shrubs to either side of the tree, kind of in the back. And then three spots for perennials, in front of the shrubs and in front of the tree. Then fill in clumps of annuals in the blank space. Can you visualize that? It's the farthest I've gotten with planning and I'm pretty excited!

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