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Just bought a house, want some flowers where do I start?

Just bought a house, want some flowers where do I start?

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  #1  
Old 03-27-02, 11:11 AM
Nina33
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Question Just bought a house, want some flowers where do I start?

Hi everyone, I just recently bought a house and I'd like to start growing some nice flowers, but I really have no gardening experience, so I'd love help. Right now there are bushes and shrubs in front of the house, but I really don't like that look, and I'd like to rip those up and put flowers and maybe some mulch there. Can bushes and shrubs be ripped up and replanted elsewhere? Any advice on what I should do to the dirt to get it started and what flowers I should plant that are easy to grow? Should I buy bulbs or seeds? <----- very inexperienced gardener-wannabe. Thanks for your help!
 
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  #2  
Old 03-27-02, 01:27 PM
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Location: Uxbridge, Massachusetts
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Nina,
Where in Rhode Island are you? Im in Warwick, and I found that I was able to dig up azaleas (sp?) and transplant them, so long as I got the entire root system, obviously. The soil I have in my yard is very slightly acidic, pH 6.3 according to my pH meter. Start by checking the pH of your soil.

Flowers are really not my specialty; veggies and herbs are, but I can shed some light.... My mother grows tulips and daffodils very easily. Crocuses and impatients also grow very well in this area of the country. At my grandparents house, my grandfather also grows everything mentioned and also roses and irises.

So its really a matter of what you like. A bed of impatients in front of the house would be pretty, but they are annual. My mother has the tulips and crocuses in front which are perennial.

I can tell you that Home Depot on route 2, and also the Walmart in North Kingstown already have the early season annuals out. Might want to check them out. Good luck!

Eric
 
  #3  
Old 03-27-02, 01:42 PM
Nina33
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I am in Johnston. Ok, like I said, I'm totally new at this gardening stuff. So I guess first question would be... how do I find out what the ph in my soil is? And once I find out, what do I do about it (i.e. what does it mean?) Also, is it too early to start planting stuff? I don't want the flowers to die if it gets too cold again. After all, this is New England! Thanks for your help!
 
  #4  
Old 03-27-02, 03:12 PM
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Nina,
More than likely, your soil is neutral (pH of 7.0) Without a meter, I dont know of any homemade methods; maybe someone else does... cue Gami with the links

Again, I dont know much about flowers, but you can plant the tulip bulbs any time as they bloom for spring. Without giving you a bunch of false information, Im going to let someone else take it from here.

Eric
 
  #5  
Old 03-27-02, 04:50 PM
Gami
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Hi Nina,

Thanks for the cue, Eric.

You're probably not going to like my response, but here goes.

Our house was new when we moved in, and I knew absolutely NOTHING about gardening. We planted your normal shrubs against the house, and I decided that was rather boring. I didn't remove the shrubs, but one had to be removed because of a water leak. Because of that, it's become my favorite bed, but it's separated from the majority of the house.

Shrubs are near the house, but on the other side of the sidewalk and throughout the front yard, I made flowerbeds. I thought they were beautiful, and didn't pay any attention to what they looked like in the winter.

My daughter brought her fiance home for the first time last winter. As they were driving up, she said, "My mom's yard is very pretty in the summer, but it's ugly in the winter". Well, needless to say, I was very hurt, but stop and think about it. If you only have flowers in the front, they die back and what you are left with is basically a bare spot of ground with what looks like weeds in the bare spots.

My suggestion to you, Nina, is to pay attention to curb appeal in your front yard. Do whatever you want to the back. Drive around in your neighborhood during the winter and pay attention to the yards that have interest and make you stop and look. Is it a front yard with shrubs and interesting trees, or is it a front yard with "dead garden beds"?

I'm with you all the way. I'd love to have flowers ALL over the place, but they're not very interesting in the winter.

Howie has experience along these lines, and I'll email a friend of mine and see if he'll drop by also. If he doesn't, good luck and post back on what you've decided to do.

Gami
 
  #6  
Old 03-28-02, 05:05 AM
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Location: United States
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shrubs do add year round interest

Shrubs do add year round interest. I agree that taxus (small evergreen shrub) has been overused. But, in an area with cold winters, there isn't a lot of choices.

Like was said, drive around and see what you like. Pay attention to such things as which direction the house faces and how much sun/shade those plants get.

You will find that the best looking yards have a mix of shrubs, trees, perrenials, and annuals.

Perrenials come back every year but only flower for a brief time. Annuals must be replanted every year but provide months of color. What you want is to have tulips and daffodils for early to late spring color. Then as they fade, plant annuals. Annuals will provide color all summer. Then for fall, have other perrenials such as mums and asters.
 
  #7  
Old 03-28-02, 05:09 AM
Nina33
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Ya I guess you guys are right - I never even thought about how the yard would look in the winter if I take out all the bushes. I don't mind some shrubs, right now there is one there that is pretty nice looking, it looks more like a big plant. But the others are those typical bushes, that haven't been cared for properly and have these huge holes in the center because nobody trimmed them. What about that red mulch stuff people use in yards? What if I got rid of some of the bushes and put the mulch there with only a few shrubs left. That might look nice right? Boy I've got my work cut out for me. But you know what - It's all good! I love being a homeowner!!!!
 
  #8  
Old 03-28-02, 05:18 AM
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Nina - see a landscpaper

Nina,

Yes, rip out the old ugly shrubs. Beware that this isn't easy! They have deep, strong roots.

Don't just plant anything. Visit a local nursery. They often will do a landscape design for little or no cost. Then you can do the plan as time and budget allows. The best time for trees and shrubs is in the fall. They are on sale and the winter gives the roots time to develop without the stress of providing nutrients to the rest of the plant.

Don't go to a big box and expect good advice. Visit a local nursery. And do buy your plants from them.

As for your plan - we can't see your house from here. It may be good for the summer, but long term....probably not.
 
  #9  
Old 03-28-02, 06:57 AM
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Location: Acton, Ontario, Canada - Zone 6b
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Okay Gami

Saw my name, gotta respond...

Hi again Nina (just saw you over in Lawns)

Best advise I can give is try to develop a masterplan for you whole property before you do anything else...

Start by looking around, at books, at what other people have done, at TV, in magazines, doesn't matter where you get the ideas, getting them is the important thing.

Now list all the things you LOVE, Like and HATE. The Love list is what you'll want to try to include first on your plan. Obviously, stay away from anything on your hate list.

Draw up a plan of your property and start by pencilling what's there now. Include desirable views, things you want to highlight or hide. What's where now (trees, shrubs, beds, lawn, patio, slopes, entry points, etc)? Which direction is the prevailing wind coming from, what are the sun/shade patterns (seasonally). Are there any major landscape features like hills, valleys, water (standing or moving), things like fire posts, telephone poles, neighbours' windows or decks, overhead wires, etc. Don't forget to indicate North and any existing buildings. Make a note of drainage patterns and anywhere water will accumulate.

Now look at you love list and start placing items on the plan. This way you'll be able to see if they flow together or are disjointed. I've used this before (so bear with me again, all) - I like to think of the property as a series of rooms. You move from one room to the next, never knowing what might be around the next corner, (maybe a spectacular view over here, a quiet place for reflection over there, an unexpected splash of colour < Canadian spelling, eh >, or a spot that invites play...) thereby maintaining interest... Remember that at this point, you don't have to know exact materials or quantities, you are just working with ideas, so you might want a patio over here, with a view in this direction; maybe a veggie patch over there; here's where we'll enter the yard; there's where we want the dog run...

This will give you a better idea what to work toward, but still leaves room for those items you see at the nursery or antique show that you just have to have...

After you are comfortable with the layout, you can start looking at individual items like what plant you want to maintain the winter curb appeal; and you can prioritize different areas of the plan. Just work on one (or two) areas at a time to keep things managable (you indicated that your lawn needs attention on the other board, so maybe that'll be one, with winter curb appeal as maybe another...) You can start new projects as you complete old ones and can afford the time and cost of them. You'll soon see your yard and property starting to take shape as you envisioned, and by working with a plan from the beginning, you'll avoid a lot of duplicated effort and wasted time and money.

How's that for some heavy thinking

Good Luck...

Looks like we'll be seeing you on these boards a lot

(I'll let Gami or Bomber or NorthGardenGal or Fred or Florajo or... tell you about Sierra)

Howie
 
  #10  
Old 03-28-02, 07:31 AM
Gami
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Hi Nina,

Thanks Howie, for your heavy thinking! We can all use that. I wish I'd had a computer (and you around) when I first started gardening. I would have saved myself a ton of headaches.

Nina, I didn't mean to imply not to plant any flowers in the front. I'm certainly not going to get rid of my beds. I just wish I would have added some shrubs, or something else that would have added intererest in the winter in the flowerbeds.

There's a post on here about the garden board on Sierra and a link. It's entitled, "Sierra". It tells you how to have your gallery set up and you could post a pic of your house the way it is now and what you have in mind. You'll also get suggestions from others that haven't made it over here yet.

Bob mentioned going to a "good" nursery. I've done that also and they are a lot of help. I've taken pics of certain areas of the yard that I want to work on and asked for suggestions. We have Earl May here, but I think they're just in the midwest. They're ALWAYS, very helpful and have free brochures on how to plant just about everything. They'll tell you how tall and wide a plant will get, etc.

We'll be looking for your pics on Sierra!

Gami
 
  #11  
Old 03-28-02, 07:57 AM
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Nina,
Since Howie backed us into a corner, I guess I've got no choice but to tell you about Sierra

http://community.sierra.com/[email protected]^[email protected]

You are more than likely going to have to paste that link into your browser... Anyway, sierra is another forum that we are all members of. The good thing about sierra is that we can post pictures. These two forums work hand in glove. Hope to see you over there.

Eric
 
  #12  
Old 03-28-02, 09:11 AM
Gami
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Hi Nina,

I bumped the post on DIY about Sierra's garden board to the top--well, it's there now anyway!

Gami
 
  #13  
Old 03-28-02, 11:28 PM
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Location: Acton, Ontario, Canada - Zone 6b
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Hi Again

One other thing - since you are starting new, think about taking LOTS of pictures, before you touch anything, during your projects and after completion of individual projects. You'll be amazed with the improvements and I'm pretty sure that having a graphic record of how things were and how things are will add to your satisfaction and pride when you look back...

Howie

(and then you can post your pics on Sierra to show off your handiwork, too )

H.
 
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