What plants do you grow? What are your challenges?

lavender_lass(4b)October 8, 2010

I don't use any chemicals in the garden, just fertilize with aged manure (thanks to the horses) and lots of water, when it's hot. We have hot, dry summers and long, cold winters, so in zone 4, I have a limited number of plants that will grow. On top of that, I don't plant anything that is poisonous to the visiting kids, my horses, the barn kitties, and the occasional visiting dog. Also, no pests to speak of, except the few deer, but they're pretty cute and I try to outsmart them, whenever possible (LOL)

What are your gardening challenges? Do you grow a large variety of plants, or a few favorites, repeated around the garden?

I really like the way the gardens have turned out so far. I use some old-fashioned roses, with herbs in front, lots of butterfly bushes, lilacs, blueberry bushes, raspberries, sunflowers, cosmos, petunias, pansies, sweet woodruff, columbine, bee balm, lots of lavender and catmint, star jasmine and a few fruit trees. Also have some hyacinths, daffodils, clematis and a few peonies. While these aren't completely safe plants, most have been around for a few decades, and haven't seemed to be a problem, so far.

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Here are a couple of pictures of the gardens. I hope you'll share some of yours :)

Here's the fairy garden (really a butterfly/cottage garden) that my nieces enjoy. The idea is that they're the fairies, when they come to visit.

And here's one of the kitchen garden. It's a little overgrown, but I'm hoping it will be more finished and productive, next year!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 7:37PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Thanks for sharing images of your place. Very nice. I've sort of given up on maintaining a garden where I currently live; the owner next door has an Australian Native Plant Nursery and takes care of my grounds. It's okay because I maintain with the help of my crews large and small landscapes as well as the mixed fruit/veggie/herb market farm. All told I manage nearly a hundred acres, some native California woodland and chaparral. Don't have any images to share at present; more of a problem of lacking technical know-how. Hope others join in -- you may have to prod them.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 12:16AM
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pfmastin(8 N. Carolina)

I don't post much on the HT side...just don't enjoy taking the "heat" as they say. :) Thank you for starting this thread, Lavender_lass. We lived in zone 4 Minnesota for 7 years and I grew very little there. I am amazed at what you have done in your zone 4! Since then, we have lived in 6b Pennsylvania and now in 7b NC. The good news is that we can garden almost all year round here. My challenges, however, are hot summers and the sandy soil in my yard. Water and nutrients run right through and I've put many tons of mulch onto the beds in the last 5 years. I am also organic (except for trying to contain bermudagrass on occasion with Roundup...there's no other way to do it with 12-18" deep roots). I try to grow things that don't require extra water, but I usually end up watering beds a couple of times a summer. I grow lots of salvias and grasses, a vegetable garden (root knot nematodes destroyed my tomatoes this year)and perennials that will take the conditions. Again, thanks for starting this fun thread.

from this spring

I took these photos in the garden yesterday.

a couple of critters

pine woods tree frog sitting on a watering can

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 4:47PM
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Marshallz- You have a market farm? How interesting. I'm trying to grow more fruit, veggies and herbs in my kitchen garden, but it's mostly weeds this year. Next year, I hope to get started a little earlier and have a lot more vegetables :)

Pfmastin- Gorgeous photos! You have such a beautiful garden and I love your little tree frog and lizard. I like your blue bottle sculpture, too. I grow lots of salvias and Hidcote lavender. They're so pretty and a good contrast to some of the roses.

Sandy soil sounds like a challenge. We have clay soil, which has a lot of nutrients, but it's slime or cement, depending on the time of year. I mix in about 1/2 aged horse manure to 1/2 clay and it seems to work very well. It would probably be too rich in some areas, but so far, the plants seem to love it. However, it could explain all the weeds. LOL

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 7:36PM
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My challenge is dealing with personalities I garden in a Community garden in Greenwich Village right on the edge of Soho. I'm a rose addict and keep my own area filled with roses when I stopped in tonight there was an elderly couple singing show tunes it was fun.

Here is a link that might be useful: LaGuardia

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 8:29PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Lavender.lass, I grow on nearly 2 acres of veg./herb/flower beds and 5+ acres of mixed orchards. Me and a half dozen or so part-time workers and interns plus some help in the composting operation and land prep from my landscaping crew. We sell to the food service of a graduate school, caters, and people in the community from a weekly availability list.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 12:27AM
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I've been gardening since I was about 3 years old and my grandparents started to teach me how to dig a hole and plant a seedling.
I spent every summer on their veggie/flower farm until it was sold just before I turned 19.

That makes it well over 50 years now, that my hands of been in the soil and plants and seeds where in my hands.

From the farm, it was porches and balconies for plants and then, 30 years ago, hubby and I bought our home on a acre of land, most of which is perfect for various types of gardens.

For veggies growing it is

all of these grown in various types of containers

tomatoes, at least 12 different varieties
several types of lettuce
snow peas

in the ground are


Fruits grown in pots are strawberries

in the ground are


herbs grown in pots, perennials returned to the ground to winter over, then dug up in the spring to go back into pots

garlic chives
french thyme
sweet basil
thai basil
lemon basil
lime basil
italian oregano
greek oregano

Just about all my flowers are grown from seed using the wintersowing method and I suggest to anyone that starts their plants from seeds to check out the wintersowing forum on GW, read the FAQ's and the posts and give it a try. Once you do, it will be the only way you start any and all seeds.

Flower seeds are varied and include

dwarf dahlias, several different varieties
cosmos, quite a few varieties
marigolds, several different varieties
malva zebrina
balloon plant
chinese forget me nots
sunflowers, several different varieties
japanese morning glory
daylilies, many different varieties, including some crosses of my own
candy lily
perennial hibiscus
disco belle
autumn joy sedum
perennial plox
coreopsis lanceleaf
columbine songbird robin
columbine origami blue
columbine origami pink and white
perennial foxglove, several different colors
datura metal
sweet pea
4 o'clocks
nasturtium peaches n cream
zinnias, several different varieties
torenia blue and white
torenia pink and white
torenia purple and white
california poppy
japanese anemone
dwarf snapdragons
dianthus firewitch

That's what was grown this year. other years have had different varieties of flowers.

My digital camera is an old one, really need to update with a better one that does wide angle pics. The one I have is very poor in getting wide shots, so for now I settle for close up pics of the gardens.

I don't buy seeds to sow, my motto is either trade for the seeds that I want on the seed exchange site here on GW, grow the ones that I collect from my own plants and from friends plants, or I don't grow it at all.

I rarely buy a plant as well, thought I do purchase new rosemary plants every year as I have yet to be able to over winter one in the house, its' just to dry with the heat and I don't get enough sunlight and my hubby bought me 3 perennial phlox plants, phlox volcano that are beautiful, rust and deer resistant, smell beautiful, only grow about 2 feet tall and spread out about feet as well. Hopefully they will survive my winters.
I don't have the usual number of pics from my gardens this year, got a bad back that has had 2 spine surgeries and am trying to put off a 3rd till late next spring after the garden beds are planted, will see if I make it, but here are some pics from this year.

columbine origami blue and white

columbine origami pink and white

candy lily

cosmos diablo

malva zebrina

dahlia colarrette dandy

dahlia fireworks pink and yellow

zinnia zowie yellow flame

dahlia fireworks yellow

torenia pink and white

torenia blue and white

torenia purple and white

dahlia stargazer yellow


dahlia diablo yellow

sedum autumn joy

dahlia fireworks pink stripe

I'll post some other pics later today

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 4:03AM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

LL, imagine finding you here. ;)

Pfmastin, your gardens are gorgeous! Love your bottle trees! How many do you have? Are those swamp sunflowers in the second tree pic?

Littleone, I grew a few Zowie this year and have been saving seeds. Tried growing columbine last year, but no returnees this year.

Heat & humidity are the biggest challenge here. I have a small kitchen garden (organic) and lots of perennial beds. This year I discovered agastache and plan on adding a lot more next year.

Monarch pupa on Red Rocket Russelia...

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 6:12PM
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Oh, what beautiful gardens!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And what a beautiful rose garden, labrea, in the middle of the city!

I live on a tiny lot so it's difficult to grow a lot...and very sandy soil so you can pretty much hear water trickle down into it. But it is fairly rich and nutrient filled (must be loamy).

LOVE LOVE LOVE foxgloves! And they did great! The nasturtiums have turned into a weed. Sunflowers did great...and my phlox went to town!

My main problem was with lupine...was too hot for them I think and they got terrible anthracnose!

Here is my butterfly bush with that ground cover thing (I can't remember the name - it's crazy wild!)

My front yard:
From 2010-07-18

More front yard. We've done a lot of work after this pic was taken so it's much cleaner and fresher looking. Still got that stupid silver fence though :(
From 2010-07-13

This was from June or July around the deck when I first planted:
From 2010-06-28

My foxgloves in my mini cottage garden...I LOVE LOVE LOVE foxgloves! And they love the sandy soil! They are still flowering!
From 2010-06-28

Our deck garden before the heat got to it and made it take a poop:
From 2010-06-28

And just for giggles, my Maine Coon and fox hound! (we have another kitty and two beagles too):
From cliq pics

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 1:55PM
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