Starting a Floral Garden

Brad9213(8, Waco, TX)February 13, 2014


On a spur of the moment decision, I decided that instead of giving my Fiance flowers this year, and having them wilt after a week or two, I would do my research and start a garden with some of her favorite flowers. This way she can have her favorites each year. Her favorite flowers are White, Pink, and Pastel Orange colored Lilys,Orchids, and Peonies. She also likes Tulips, and I my grandmother suggested possibly starting with these or Hydrangeas.

I am in Zone 8, and this will be my first time trying my hand at gardening, although I do possess a strong will to succeed, and am not a stranger to research and hard work.

My concern though is with the Peonies, and finding reputable vendors to buy plants from. From what I have found, zone 8 is at the edge of where these flowers can successfully grow. This, with how much each plant costs, especially for the ones that she really loves, means that I would like to get some insight from those who have been doing this much longer than I have.

Also, to clarify, I am in central Texas.

Thanks for any future help!

This post was edited by Brad9213 on Thu, Feb 13, 14 at 22:31

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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

Paeonies definitely grow and flower in zone 9a. However, we don't get your brutally hot summers which, I suspect, are more of a problem than any lack of winter chilling.

Ask at your local garden centre and your local garden club about what does well. Or, when spring comes in further, prowl the older streets and look for gardens growing paeonies. You may be lucky enough to find a resident of long-standing who is also a gardener and is willing to answer questions. Or try the paeony forum here.

The main thing with this plant is to have no more than 1-2 inches of soil over the growing points, otherwise most of them will be shy to bloom.

Second - work your soil up first. This also applies if you intend to plant lilies or shrubs. Doing this gets your plants off to a good start. This is very important for paeonies as they are very long-lived (50 years plus).

The usual time for planting is autumn/fall. Between now and then you could give her a gorgeous garden of annuals in her favourite colours, build up your garden fitness, and your knowledge of your site and soil, plus what you need to do to supply adequate moisture over summer.

Possible plants include Cosmos, marigolds, dahlias, Gladiolus, Salvia, Begonia - both tuberous and bedding, cone flowers, Nicotiana. The bulbs can be saved for the next season, too.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 11:25PM
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Brad9213(8, Waco, TX)

Thank you for the advice! I will definitely check into the Peonies forum, and see if maybe there is someone near me who has had success growing these.

I was looking for a forum to post about working my soil up in the meantime, but I was unsure of which to post in. Would the "Soil, Compost & Mulch" forum be a good one to post in?

Also, I will likely get some of each of those flowers. Do you know of a good, quality, and reputable, mail-order plant shop? I checked a few places, mainly Dave's Garden, which I saw mentioned in one of the threads.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 12:44AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Spring flowering bulbs require planting in the fall, but even at that, tulips won't do well in your location....don't even bother. You might consider daffodils, though. Again, those bulbs will become available in the summer and must be planted in the late fall in your climate (around Thanksgiving) .

You should be able to find a lovely orchid plant for her to grow inside. There are many varieties that are very well suited to indoor culture but orchids are not a garden plant in your location. One pretty orchid plant would make a nice gift......and one that you will be able to find locally.

I would personally visit a locally owned garden center to ask about peonies. Not one of the big box outlets and not a florist! I haven't seen a pretty Peony since I moved south. Get some advice from a local expert.

There are many different types of lilies well suited to hot climates. Again, find a knowledgeable local gardener or expert to guide you in the right direction. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you will find terrific help at your local Extension office.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 6:43AM
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Brad9213(8, Waco, TX)

I appreciate all of the great advice, and we will actually be looking at getting a couple orchid plants to grow indoors.

I did have a question about planting flowers near a tree. How far should these be from trees, or is it relatively ok to plant them right next to them? I ask because we are going to be planting some in our backyard, but would like to add some color to our front yard by planting some along the drive and around our tree.

On another note, after looking through dozens of types of plants, here is a list of the ones we would like to try our hand at. I have saved pages for each flower type in order to further research them before we make our final decision, but here is the preliminary list:

Moss Phlox

I don't know if we will end up planting all of these, but like I said, it is a list of flowers we like, and I believe most of them would grow here, while some may require more work than others of course.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 2:46PM
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