New gardener need some help!

shai_gMarch 25, 2010

I am trying my hand for the first time gardening I bought some gardening and landscaping books which I thought would help and they probably would if I could figure out what zone I am.

I live just west of Edmonton and I have no idea what zone that is. I would be grateful if someone could help me out!!

Thanks so much for your time!

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I'm not an expert, but if you want some handy tips, I could give you some. Books can only tell you so much.

If you google canadian hardiness zones, you should be able to figure out what zone you're in. I think Edmonton is probably 3, but I haven't looked. If you have a neighbour who gardens, or if you phone a garden centre, they would also tell you.

Are you going to garden organically? If you're not wanting to use chemicals, I can help you out some, and also websites I could give you, and this forum.

Anything specific you're thinking of growing? Flowers, vegetables, both?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 8:41PM
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Hey thanks! I was also thinking that I was a zone 3 by looking at a map thing. I was wondering really about the trumpet vine and I wanted to know if it grew here because I saw it in a book and fell in love with it!

I am only doing flowers this year I have a black thumb and I am trying this out. My husband on numerous occations has bought me plants for inside and I have killed them all lol. He has given up buying them for me!

So if you have any suggestions about good hardy plants that would be great!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 9:41PM
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I hate to say it, but depending on the books you have, looking at all the nice pictures and loving the plants, then finding out most of them won't grow in zone 3, is very discouraging. Been there, done that .........

If you have a black thumb:

Try marigolds. They deter pests, but make sure you spread out the roots really well. I had a hard time growing them before doing that. People on this forum helped me out. I couldn't believe I couldn't grow marigolds very well until I almost abused the roots! Have you ever grown any flowers at all outside? Don't forget to deadhead. ( You know what that is and how to do it?)

I love Silvercup Lavatera and it blooms profusely with almost no work from you. You can get a seedtape package at a greenhouse or WalMart. I highly recommend the seedtape. It's incredibly simple. Lavatera requires full sun. You didn't say if you had sun or shade or both.

Johnny Jump Ups have always been a favourite of mine. Also, Osteospermum (African Daisy) are beautiful and bloom most of the summer. I just snip parts of the plant once in a while to keep it bushier.

These are all annuals. That way you can experiment, find out what you like, or dislike, find out what works or doesn't work for you, etc., and then branch out more each year. Perennials often take too long before you really know if you're actually capable of keeping them alive LOL.

If you can afford it, go shopping at a greenhouse, not a big box store. Big box store people generally don't know what they're selling. Try to talk to someone who's worked at the greenhouse for a few years or more, and has their own garden, not someone who's only there for a summer job. The experienced people can tell you a lot and show you things that are easy to grow.

About the trumpet vine. I've never grown one, but I think they're invasive. Try searching it on this forum. There may be a thread or two with lots of info.

Is this the kind of information you were looking for? I've got more. LOL =:)

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 11:51PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

Just by asking questions here, you'll get a lot of answers. It's how a lot of us have learned. I was fortunate enough to have found the Garden Web just when i was deciding to go into perennials and found answers to all my questions - and not to mention the friendships that have developed over the years! :)

Let us know about the bed you're planning - as nutsaboutflowers asked, full sun or part, or what - and it will be easier to give you advice on what to plant. General idea - taller plants towards the back, put in some shrubby type things as well, add some height with a trellis, etc.

As far as trumptet vine goes, i'm not sure how it will do in zone 3. I did try it one year - winter-sowed it - but it didn't grow much over the summer and didn't return the next year. It might be invasive in warmer zones, but it probably wouldn't be if you managed to get it going here.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 7:34AM
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Thanks so much you guys!!! I also have no idea what deadheading is???? I was thinking that this year I would probably go to one of my local greenhouses and talk to them a little bit about what I should grow and all that jazz.

I can already see that this forum will be an amazing help to my new experience in gardening! I was thinking that I would try Annuals???? Is that the one that only lasts 1 year? Until I decided what I like and what I don't.

My husband and I will be starting from scratch so that means I alson have to make the flower beds as well. I am a little nervous about this all but I think we can do it!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 11:51AM
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xaroline(zone 3 Calgary)

You will learn as you go as the rest of us have and your gardening will get better as you do more of it. As you can see---there is plenty of help here and at the garden centres. Good luck with your first gardening attempts. We all started there!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 12:43PM
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Hi there! It's me again.

I wondered what "deadheading" was when I first started, too. It's removing the dead blooms.

Some dead blooms you can just lightly pull and they'll come off, like with petunias. Some, like marigolds, sort of snap off. Some flowers you'll want to just snip off, like African Daisy and sometimes you'll just shear off the whole top of a plant and it'll bloom again. Johnny Jump Ups, for instance, I often just grab the whole plant and just cut off the whole top, and then it happily blooms again.

There's a website, by Doug Green. He also has You can get practical advice and he also has videos. If you search deadheading on the beginner gardening, he'll show you doing it to a petunia. Also, if you do searches on this forum, you can find answers to almost anything =:) Sometimes asking directly on this Far North Forum is even better than that, as you get answers that apply to your zone.

Was it Sazzyrose who suggested Morning Glory or Clematis? ( I can't remember who) Wonderful suggestion. I grew Morning Glory last year for the first time and couldn't believe how fast it grew and how many blooms I got =:) Clematis is also beautiful, but takes longer. If you're wanting almost instant gratification, go with Morning Glory or Black Eyed Susan Vine. I grew 3 of them last year in a cedar planter and they were gorgeous. Google picture of black eyed susan vine. I also started 2 Clematis two years ago and hope the one that survived will give me more than 5 blooms this year. You have to have a longer term plan with perennials.

So, do you have mostly sun or shade? The things I've suggested are for sun.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 5:30PM
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Oh, another tip ( or two, or three) =:)

Try to familiarize yourself with the "pests" you will encounter and what they look like. A lot of bugs are not bad. A lot of good bugs eat the bad ones. For instance, I bought my first roses last year and got aphids on one of them. I just picked up three ladybugs from in the yard, placed the girls on my rose bush, and by later that day, I couldn't find any aphids.

Also, last year I was horrified when I went outside and there were hundreds of bright green bugs with translucent wings flying all over the place. I really really dislike using chemicals, and wondered how to get rid of them. I described them on this forum, and although I've forgotten what they were called, I found out they were good guys =:)

The next day when I went out my whole attitude towards them had obviously changed. I was thrilled to see them all!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 5:48PM
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Wow thanks so much you are amazing you have helped so much and given me some great things to look into! It was my husbands idea for me to look at a forum and I was a little skeptical and not so into it at first but now I am hooked!

I am so greatful for all the advice and suggestions and I am very excited to start gardening this year!!!!!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 11:11PM
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You can't go wrong here shai...far north gardeners have been through it all!
I have found lots of help here just browsing the photo gallery to see what others are growing successfully.
Finding a neighbor who is an experienced gardener and doesn't mind sharing pieces of their plants is a good way to get locally dependable perennials started. Just be wary of being given invasive plants that you'll regret later. Be patient with them and don't expect much for the first year of growth.

As far as annuals go...stick to easy fast growers for your first go and know your growing conditions. Some annuals are very decieving and take a real knack to make them flourish. Petunias and pansys are usually great to experiment with! Good luck and keep us posted on how you're doing.

Nuts...that's a great idea for aphids and so simple! lol. I watched a lady bug once gobble up flea beetles like pac man...he/she must have devoured hundreds of them! It was facinating.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 12:46AM
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