Good 'beginner' plants?

amorton1437April 3, 2011

I am relatively new to this area of GA (near Columbus), and brand new to gardening. I have never had a garden before, I have a few indoor plants that I have had for awhile-a fittonia, a majesty palm and some other palm type. But never outdoor plants. What are some good ones to start out with? Our yard is mostly shaded, until around sunset then it is all sunny, and there is one section that gets sun all the time. There are virtually NO shaded areas. At all. The soil to me seems really sandy-I am from Oregon and I remember soil being more 'dirty' and less 'sandy' if that makes sense... Probably not. Anyways, I appreciate any insight or help for me! I'm excited to start gardening but honestly have no idea where to start.

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For a sunny area, I'd have to say that Daylilies are pretty foolproof. Nowadays, look for the ones that say they are "reblooming". You can get smaller ones like Stella D'Oro or larger ones. But they need full sun (where "full sun" is defined as 6 or more hours of direct sun, doesn't have to be afternoon sun).

I am a little confused by your description. First you say it is "mostly shaded" and then later you say "there are virtually NO shaded areas".

If you do have shade, then ferns are good choices (be sure to get outdoor ferns and you can find them in the outside garden section). Also good are hostas for shade (if you don't have deer).

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 7:27PM
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I ditto esh's suggestions. They were going to be my exact suggestions. I too was a little confused with the description. lol! Once you get going you can play around with all kinds of plants and find lots that you love. Just remember too that perennials return year after year and annuals are only here that one summer. All of esh's suggestions are perennials. Have fun, Judy
(eeeeek, lets not discuss dang deer)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 11:23PM
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I also moved here from southern oregon where the soil is perfect and the steady rain keeps the plants happy without the use of rain from a rain barrel=)

I would recommend knockout roses in the sunny areas. They keep their foliage, resist humidity driven black spot, and have a constant display of roses. For the semi-shady areas, azaleas and gardenias would work well.

My best advice is to figure out what areas are full sun (6+ hours of sun a day), partial sun/shade, and full shade. Look for plants at the nursery that are labelled for these conditions. Also, buy what you love to grow. I like evergreen plants that bloom in the spring/summer, cypress/spruce shrubs or trees, and edible plants. So I tend to avoid fussy plants and stick to what I know and love.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 9:33AM
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rosie(Deep South, USA 7A/B)

Hi, Amorton. Okay, a personal #1 beginner's and lifelong gardener's plant for sunnier areas: Salvia guarnitica, species name, but also known as "anise sage," "that blue thing," etc. Available at almost all nurseries these days because it's so wonderful. A deciduous perennial that grows up spring after spring, spreads nicely over time, but not obnoxiously, and brings continual rewards for very little effort. You can look it up and read about it. There are named selections, 'Black 'n Blue,' etc., but the species is excellent (no matter which, you'll end up sharing with visitors who want a start).

It's a deciduous perennial plant, so will live on in your garden year after year, coming back each spring with nice green foliage and then spikes of little deep true-blue flowers from late spring to hard frost in the autumn. It grows about 3-4 feet over the summer. It makes a wonderful supporting player for virtually anything else in the garden and is a great favorite of hummingbirds. If you have it in your garden, you can count on a hummer moving in and defending that territory against all comers. It can be tucked behind lower plants, in front of tall ones, between still others (like behind those daylilies and alongside roses).

It's virtually problem-free but, in this climate, it'll look better later in the summer if you now and then pinch off the dead flower stems (very unobtrusive if you don't) plus a few of the leaves below. That'll keep it nice and full, growing new leafy spikes up from below. Your fingers and a glass of wine or sweet tea as you stroll around after dinner are all you need for this. :)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 6:54PM
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