New to this Forum, would like help with ideas for a flower garden

greenhousekendraMay 31, 2011

Hello my name is Kendra and I have been reading this Forum for quite some time. I love to see all the gorgeous gardens and have really enjoyed seeing all the hard work throughout the seasons. I've always loved gardening. My grandmother started my love for flowers at a young age and now as a busy mommy of three my I still find myself playing with mud.

This is our second spring in our house and I've had time to see what the previous owners had planted. There is a spot at the opposite corner of our house that used to be part of an old small creek. It's now covered with river rocks and it's open to Full sun. About 70 feet across it tends to be moist. Last year all that grew around the river rock was mostly grass and weeds. My husband had a difficult time mowing down some areas because of the moist ground. There is no support and no plans to build anything on this soggy ground. From here the property goes up hill and directly into an apple orchard.

I would love to turn this area into a flower garden. I know that it's going to take a few years to get it to fill out but I would appreciate your help and knowledge to get a smart start. I am open to all kinds of flowers, bushes etc. Would like different heights and lots of perennials and flowers for cuttings. Would love to attract butterflies and bees.

Which plants would you recommend?

How do I start getting rid of old grass and weeds?

What should I buy as a plant, and which flowers can I start from seed?

Anything I need to consider for this area.

Your advice is appreciated! I'll takes a couple of pictures of this area and post them. Thank you.

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Sounds like an area that cardinal flower, musk mallow, small willow shrubs would like. Eventually once some of that stuff grows in, you can bring in things like astilbe, heucheras (lighter in colour).

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 9:53AM
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Add hydrangeas to your plant list. As the name suggests, they like moist soil--hydra is Greek for water. Other perennials to help fill the area are daylilies, peonies, turtlehead/chelone and iris ensata/Japanese iris. Check the Helpful Lists on the Bluestone Perennials' website for a more comprehensive list.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 12:25PM
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newbiehavinfun(7a - Southern NJ)

Joe pye weed, cimifuga, some ferns, tiarella, some hosta.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 1:27PM
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Lilyfinch z7 mid tn

Sounds like a place with lots of potential! I know clethra (while tall) would be a nice background shrub with amazing scented flowers in summer that are so pretty! Other than that I'm not too familiar with wet sites ( because I'm in denial about my own) . But welcome and we so look forward to your pictures!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 9:49PM
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Thank you for the advice of all the types of flowers. I checked some of them out and would love to add these. If online, what is a good place to purchase plants? I know I'll have a hard time finding some of these plants.

I took some pictures of my ditch. It's such an open area and so long I don't know how to start. I guess I'll just start by planting my taller items closer to the rocks and placing cardboard and mulch around the newly planted items to keep the weeds from taking over. Then adding the shorter smaller items later on. Sounds good? Other ideas?

Is it too late to seed outdoors?

The potential garden area is now a ditch about 70 feet in length 5-20 feet across - shaped like a skinny triangle. The dead grassy area is where the old weeds grew and there are river rocks underneath. To the left are the apple trees. The pictures are looking Northwest ditch runs N - S


    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 11:09PM
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You might want to read up on rain gardens. That area will probably collect water in rains and you may want plants that can handle that type of soaking. For shrubs consider willows and aronias.

Are there too many rocks for them to be removed?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 10:18AM
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newbiehavinfun(7a - Southern NJ)

You might want to keep the river rocks and build up a couple feet of fluffy soil on top. Drainage is going to be key for this area. There are others that know more about this than I do, but I might suggest a lasagna garden (sheet composting) with quick-draining material thrown in.

I would suggest that you put swamp-happy shrubs in the middle (willows, etc) and moisture-loving perennials around that. Towards the edges you could have some average-water plants, depending on how wide you are making the garden.

Now is an excellent time to seed indoors for fall planting. I prefer fall planting because the roots have more time to develop before the shock of hot summer. I think your zone would also be fine for fall planting; aim for between the last heat wave and the first frost.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 6:57PM
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Thanks for all the responses. I've started planting. Found some plants on sale, pink willow, hydrangeas, daylilies, peonies, and lilacs. I've started lasagna gardening for areas that I'll add other types of perinneals.

I read up on Rain Gardens and this is exactly what I needed. Found a great site that helps with design and choosing more plants and examples of plants.

What would be good plants to start seeding indoors for Fall planting?

Just in case any one is interested in Rain Gardens:

Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 12:50PM
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freezengirl(3aMN and 5AK)

I had a spot like that in my garden in Minnesota. My friend gave me a small clump of Iris pseudacorus (yellow flag iris)they really like boggy ground, grow quite tall and have excellent foliage (taller and spikier then sibirian iris). Gardenweed mentioned Bluestone Perennials for online ordering of plants. It was an excellent suggestion, long time happy customer here. You might also want to check with your local county extention service or master gardeners group for local recommendations.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 9:10PM
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Hi Kendra, Just on my way to bed, but want to welcome you to the forum. Stop over to my cottage porch for a cup o' joe and to wile away a few hours.
gramma jan

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 11:23PM
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