New to Dothan AL

joycie52(AL8southeast)January 19, 2008

Hi We have just recently moved to the south from Illinois so I know very little about the soil or plants. We are building a new home and I am interested in a low maintenance perenial, bulb, shrub garden. I like to attract birds and butterflies. I compost and would be interested in how to have a nice lawn and garden without using chemicals that harm the environment. What do you do about these little biting ants and those small squirrels that dig into the ground? Any advice is welcome, I'm so looking forward to having my own dirt again to play in.

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Welcome to Alabama. You'll find the season for growing things much longer here. You'll also find that summer can be brutal. I'll answer the questions as best I can.
You'll find you can attract all kinds of birds and butterflies here if you'll plant the right things for them and put out feeders. Don't forget hummingbirds too.
If you compost, you probably already know that sprinkling this on the lawn takes the place of fertilizer. However, weeds will be your biggest challenge without chemicals.
The biting ants may be fire ants. Amdro is the best thing I've found to treat the yard. It's a bait that is taken to the queen and kills the whole bed, not just the ones on top.
I assume the small squirrels are what we call "ground squirrels". They're cute and fun to watch. I doubt if they'll do any harm.
I love Illinois, it's beautiful. What brought you south?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 10:25PM
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Thanks for the info especially about the ants, for the most part we didn't have ants that could bite like these do, so Amdro it is. Winter in Illinois can be brutal also and dreary. One thing about Alabama that we like though is that you can usually get out and about no matter what ~ yes!! That means so much, my husband is an amputee and getting out without ice or snow to contend with is a huge plus. Thanks again for your comments I'll take a look at the Amdro for the ants. Thanks

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 10:03AM
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Joycie I live just outside the city limits of Dothan on US Hwy 84W. I plant flowers of hummingbirds and butterflies. I root plants that attract hummingbirds and butterflies and give them away to others.

I am adding a site that is dedicated to hummingbirds and the plants they like. We have Ruby-throated hummingbirds to start arriving about the second week in March. I have them to nest close by and visit my flowers and feeders daily. Also starting in late July until early October I get so many to visit on their migration south.

As Alan said our summers can be brutal. If you are building a new home make sure you have plenty of air-conditioning. I don't know what size house you are building but a three thousand square foot house needs at least 6 tons of a/c to keep cool. By most standards our house is small and that is what we have.

Here is a link that might be useful: hummingbird Forum

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 8:42PM
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Thanks mimidi for the hummingbird site and also the info about when they start coming to Dothan and their July to Oct. visit when migrating south. Very helpful to know from someone who lives here in Dothan. I will ask my husband out the heat pump that we are having installed ~ the heat pump in itself is all new to me. Our house will be about 2300 sq. ft. we are very excited for it to be finished which should be the end of March or first part of April. What kind of plants do you use for the hummingbirds and butterflies that do well here in Dothan? Thanks Joycie

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 9:53PM
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Welcome to Dothan, Joycie! Spring is just going to blow you away. It is SO pretty! Last summer the hummers seemed to prefer my blue-black salvia, zinnas, butterfly ginger, and pentas.

Mimidi, I too am at the west edge of Dothan, just inside the city limits. Would you be interested in a plant swap in the spring? I have an orange flowering lychnis that my aunt gave me. Haven't been able to find the specific name for it. I really want to give one to someone so there is someone else growing it just in case mine croaks one day. Got any sage you could swap?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 2:34PM
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And Joycie...... hate to have to break this news to you, but you will have to forget about peonies...I know, it's so very sad. I'm a native of Kentucky and peonies are my favorites. The trade off tho, is that here you can have something blooming in your yard year round. And that ain't bad at all!
Gaura does very well, and azaleas...tho the bloom time is rather short(I'm working my garden into a more low maintenance plot also and want something that blooms for a long time). Daylilies are low maintenance. There is a spider lily that you'll find blooming here everywhere in the fall....guys what is the name of those things? We have loropetallum shrubs and really like them. They seem to be pretty much bullet proof. And knockout roses are EXCELLENT for blooms.

Well, really before we can make suggestions it is helpful to know if your yard is going to be sun or shade?
And case you were wondering...there isn't anything organic that is really effective on those darned stupid fire ants.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 4:51PM
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I went back to to a post on the site I had listed earlier and found what I had blooming the first of July. If the hummingbirds didn't use them the butterflies did.

All my greggii
Coral honeysuckle
Gold flame honeysuckle
Assorted salvias
Turks Cap
Coral portorweed
Purple Coneflower
David verity
Large cigar plant
Hummingbird bush
Blackeyed Susan vine
Butterfly bushs
Black and Blue Salva
4 O'clocks
Mexican butterfly bush (milkweed)
Russian sage
Bat faced Cuphea
Tiny mine cp[hea
Mexican Flame vine

Others too but I can't remember their names.
I forgot my shrimp plants.

Two sages I have are pineapple and Mexican bush. Both are late bloomers and catch the hummingbird migrating south. I would be glad to swap or just give away some plants that I will root.

If you are interested in hummingbirds please check out the Hummingbird Forum I posted in an earlier reply. There are some real pros there. Nancy Newfield has written several books on hummingbirds. She lives close to New Orleans and has hummingbirds all winter. She is also a bander of the hummingbirds. There are also members who love to give away seeds and share there plants with you.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 5:37PM
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Thanks for posting your list mimidi. Of what you have in your own yard, what would you recommend for a long blooming plant plant that attracts the hummers? I'm wanting to add something else that goes from spring into at least late summer. A friend is giving me some pineapple sage. But I've been wanting a Mexican bush sage. How big a space will I need to plan for the one you've got. And have you noticed the hummers showing any interest in gaura? Is your phlox invasive? I had an old variety of some kind at my ancient house where I used to live. LOVED the blooms, but the darned thing spread everywhere horribly.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 8:28AM
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I plan to dig up a Mexican bush sage this spring and seperate the root system into several plants. I will be glad to share. These can get huge. 4-5 feet wide and 5-6 feet high. They do not bloom until late summer but their purple color is so beautiful and looks good with the fall mums. It will bloom until the first frost kills it back. My phlox are not invasive. They only grow where I plant them. They do make huge mounds and will grow nearly 4 feet high. This are an antique phlox and I have to spray them with a mixture of baking soda, low fat milk, and water to take care of the white mold. The smell great.

Here are a few flowers that bloom from spring to frost.

Russina sage
Turks cap
all greaggii salvias
Shrimp plant
Honeyscukle: Goldflame
Cuphea: Batface
David 'Verity'
Hummingbird bush
Mexican firebush
Soccinea-Scarllet sage
Cannas: One is a Robert Kemp (red, small flowers)
a peach colored one, small flowers
Salvia Subrotunda
Black and Blue Salvia
Lady in red salvia

Otheres that don't bloom all season but are loved:
Mexican bush sage
Pineapple sage
Anthony Parker Salvia
Coral porterweed
Lion's ear
Abutilon 'Nabob"
Red hot poker

I really don't know about gaura. I don't have that one. I agree about the peonies. If you live here in the deep
south don't even bother. This also goes for fushias. I love them and think they are so beautiful but they sure don't like living in the south. I see them for sale in the local stores and want to tell everyone buying then not to bother. They won't last a month unless they are in a controled environment.

Not sure what I have missed but I think I have given you a good idea of some of the flowers that will do well here. Cuphea- David "verity" is hard to come by so I usually root these as soon as my plants get large enough and give them away. (Himmingbirds can't stay away from them.) Infact I just give all the plants that I can root or that will multilply or made seeds. I do have some cleome seed that I will be glad to share. I probably have plenty of crocosmia 'red lucifier' to give away. I know I have plenty of the two cannas that are loved by the hummingbirds. These were sent to me by a fellow hummingbird lover. You can't find them locally.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 2:09PM
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Oh mimidi, I would love one of the David 'Verity' cupheas! I tried one years ago but am sure it's failure had to do with rotten location. Sounds like it will be perfect for a spot I need to fill. I have another plant I want to offer you as well, it's a purple achimenes that is a passalong plant from my Grandma who lived in Georgia. She called it "star of India". It has beautiful deep purple blooms. Just discovered by accident the past couple of years that it does real well in the ground...she had always had hers in pots.
If you're interested it's yours. It's another of those things that I've never seen in the nursery here. Grows from small fragile tubers...and has been multiplying REAL well.

Might I have a greggii and the mexican bush sage as well?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 4:03PM
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The David 'verity' is yours as soon as I get it rooted as well as the Mexican bush sage and anything else I have you want.

I would be pleased to get your "passalong" plant from your grandmother. Those are the best.

I will root you some greaggii as soon as the weather allows.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 5:12PM
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welcome to Dothan Joycie. I met Dianne on this forum when I first moved to Dothan three years ago. My yard has benefited greatly from Dianne's generosity and knowledge. And, she got me interested in hummingbirds!!!! You have to check out the hummingbird forum. It is down for maintenance, which is why I popped over here. I haven't logged on here in quite awhile, but glad I did this morning.

I live in Beacon Place which is off of Flowers Chapel Road.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 11:11AM
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Becky thank you for your kind words. I just sent you an e-mail. I was wondering about the Hummingbird Workshop yesterday. Since DH has started this peritoneal dailysis I have just been sorta out of it. I will be so glad to see the warm weather and be able to get out and work in my yards.

I think I have a cross vine rooted for you.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 2:59PM
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I am 45 min. from Dothan but on the Ga side and I disagree about the Peonies, I've had 1 now for 4 yrs in a large container in part shade an its doing well. Blooms every year. Key is to leave part of the roots exposed (chill hours), plus being in the container helps the roots get cold.....(the ground can't insulate the roots)mine are in morning sun, evening shade. It may never get as large as the ones in the northern states, but I'm not complaining. The blooms are wonderful! An elderly friend of mine (Ft. Gaines, Ga.) has some planted in the ground an has had for years that bloom an do great every year. But if memory serves they are in total shade.

I also have some lilacs, but although they are living I don't think they are old enough to bloom yet. Solomons Seal is another plant that is a survivor here that isn't suppose to be. I've been growing comfrey also, this will be my 3rd year. They are also in large containers, love making comfrey salve. Just wanted to add my .02 for what its worth.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 10:28AM
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AHHHH Trudyjean you have me way excited here! Tell me more! What variety is the peony...what color are the blooms...what type pot and what you mulch those roots in the summer but leave them exposed in the winter? Tell me everything. I've heard of folks getting them to grow as far south as Ft. Gaines, but never lower than that.

I'm about to hyperventilate here! Last time I saw them blooming was in Idaho a couple of years ago (in the summer which was weird to me!). My sister-in-law in Colorado brought some home from the grocery (now that is just plain wrong! WHY can't we find them here?!) a few years ago when we were visiting...and my favorite color at that. She had no idea how much I loved them. I seem to remember bursting into tears and walking around with my nose stuck in the that time, I hadn't seen any in like 10 years.
Peonies, more than any flower, speak of home to me.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 11:02AM
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We here at J & M Lawn Care serve the greater metropolitan area of Dothan. We also cover the areas of Houston County, Dale County, Henry County and more. Also here are just some of the citys we service Dothan, Ashford, Midland City, Headland, Abbeville, Slocomb. Our company is fully licensed and insured. We provide free estimates for lawn care, landscape, pressure washing, and shrub care.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 1:16AM
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ala8south, I bought my first one at my local Eufaula Walmart back then an don't remember the name but it has a pink bloom. I really should bump it up into an even larger container soon. When I planted it back 4 yrs ago I didn't even know if it would make it. Will add that to my "to do" list, lol. My 2nd one I bought I planted it in one of those large planters that nurseries get large trees in. I just planted it last year so don't look for it to bloom I think for another 2 yrs. My advise to you is to get as large of a container as possible an go for it. Oh, I don't mulch them at all, being they are in the afternoon shade they don't dry out as badly as if they are in full sun all day. I don't water them daily either after the first year. I'd say about every 3 or 4 days if I'm out there an watering something else an go by them. I'm not below Ft. Gaines, just above it by about 20 min. ride thru the back roads. Your welcome to check them out at your convience, its really not that far from Dothan. But right now they are still dormant.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 5:44AM
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Hi All! I am also new to Dothan. I have been trying to get my butterfly and hummingbird bushes to take off this year but have not had much luck. I would love any info you can share and would love to trade plants. Welsome to the south Joycie!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 6:13PM
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I am also new to Dothan.I live on 231 S. almost at B.J.'s Fireworks. Any suggestions on what I can plant now. My yard looks so bare. I have about 30 varieties of peppers, cucumber and cantaloupe, tomatoes and squash but no flowers.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 5:40PM
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It has been a long time since I visited this forum. My hubby started peritoneal dialysis in January and I have let everything go this year. Things are going real good with the PD so now back to flowers, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

I mentioned the David 'verity'. I am rooting some now and will be glad to give one to those living close to Dothan.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 11:59PM
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mimiDi i still have the mexican petunias you gave me in 2005 when i was just finishing my radiation treatments. i managed to kill everything else but i'm doing much better with my plants this year. hope your husband continues to do well with his PD

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 12:56AM
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Caroleena I have a few Mexican petunias. I killed most of them becasue they were taking over. Now I am trying to get rid of Black and Blue Salvia. That needs to be planted in an area where you don't care if it takes over. It sure doesn't need to be planted in a bed with other flowers if you want the other flowers.

Hope you are doing O. K. these day. We were so scared of the home dialysis but it has worked out great. It is only done at night when you sleep. No blood or needles and we can take trips with the little machine,

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 11:15AM
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It's so good read this forum again. I fianlly have a new computer. I read Joyce's post from January. Welcome! There seems to be several of us plant lovers on the west side of Dothan. I'm in Chapelwood. We should get together for a plant swap, if not now in the heat, maybe in the fall or early spring. I would love some of the red crosomia. I saw yellow ones today at Dothan Nursery but they were pretty pricy. I have some pretty justisha. I may not have spelled it corectly but its pretty and was given to me about seven years ago by an 86 year old gardening buddy. I will share anything that I have more than one of or that can be rooted. I love to walk in someone's garden and hear how they got a certain plant and learn about plants are new to me. We were blessed with the rain. I hope all you got plenty. blooms38(38 for Houston county not my age, I wish!)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 12:27AM
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Bloom I can give your all the crocosmia 'red lucifer' you want. Right now it is blooming like crazy and the hummingbirds and butterflies love it. I needs to be planted in an area where you don't care if if multiplies. I will have plenty of purple coneflower and Mexican sunflower seed shortly. I also have some coneflower plants I would be glad to part with.

I like your idea of a swap. I love to give plants away. If I have not already said I live out 84W about 10 miles from Dothan.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 6:00PM
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Yeah, those crocosmia do multiply real well, don't they! I like the idea of a plant swap too. I'm just off Murphy Mill. I am likely to have some iris and some butterfly ginger to share in the spring.

Mimidi, I was excited to discover that the coneflower you gave me is different from the one I already had. The blooms are exactly the same color, but the petals on yours are more pointed than mine. Bush sage you gave me is really taking off now. I'd still like a David Verity too. It should do well in a pot for quite awhile, yes? My garden is packed out for this year. Glad to hear the dialysis is doing well for you.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 3:23PM
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Cherokeelady, I would think you could still plant zinna seeds. The hummers always love those in my yard. You'll have to keep them well watered certainy, but I think they would work.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 11:19PM
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Ran across this old post and am wondering if any Dothan people would be interested in Giant White Spider Lily bulbs (Hymenocallis). I have them all over my yard and would like to exchange for something. I prefer tropical and love big flowers! I live near Westgate park, just off 84W. -Chris-

    Bookmark   February 8, 2015 at 4:29PM
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