Advice please for sandy soil garden

malmason(9, Houston TX)April 10, 2010

Dear all,

I have an opportunity to make a garden for an elderly couple who are moving to country on their daughter's property. They are moving to their new trailer today. I promised them that I will make a garden for them.

The major priority is low maintenance as they are not in good shape, then, color, bloom, and fragrance. I thought about OGR, especially Texas Earthkind roses, such as Carefree Beauty, Marie Parvie, DdB, Louis Phillip, and Martha Gonzarez - I have rooted them by themselves, and they are in 1 gallon pot. I will also drag Almond Verbena out of my pot ghetto. Maybe some Salvia Greggii.

The challenging part is their soil is sandy with small rocks in. I remember reading here before that some people put a plastic shopping bag from grocery store on the bottom of hole that rose goes in to keep water. As the bag gets broken down about the time the rose has stronger root system so it is good. Will there any other tips you can share? Is there any other plants and roses that will be good with sandy soil & drought?

My budget and elbow grease are limited but I sure would like to make a beautiful garden for them.

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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Growing in the sand can be done. I don't know your limitations, but the soil would hold moisture and nutrients longer if you could work some compost into the soil before planting anything. For a low maintenance garden for an elderly couple,( we are in that category) I am not sure I would think Roses. I would suggest a good vegetative mulch for what ever you plant to lesson the weeds and conserve the moisture. Al

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 9:02AM
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If you can find plants grafted on Fortuniana , it may help. My beds were sand 20 years ago, years of mulch breaking down does wonders.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 8:13AM
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Something else that might be helpful is those watering crystals - I forget who puts them out - but those are like the stuff inside baby diapers. They suck up water and hold it in a jell.

Knowing what I do now about wet feet for plants, I don't know if it would always be a good idea but it sounds like in their case it might be helpful.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 9:23AM
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I have straight beach sand in my yard. I would try and add some top soil if you can, that helps a lot!

Then add lots of peat moss, compost and organic matter.

I also would not think of roses when I think (low maintanance)

My parents are in their 80s and I just re did their yard to make it easier to care for buy actually taking out all of the flowers and only having small shrubs and trees that need no pruning. I also put in 2 layers of weed barrier and bark to keep the weeds down.

To add color back into the yard, I used a mix of green, red and yellow bushes to add pop and interest.

Its sad to not have any flowers, but weeds and over grown plants are even more sad.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 1:20AM
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Campanula UK Z8

try a low maintenance gravel garden with salvias, zauschneria, legumes such as cytisus, spartium, genista, californian poppies can be broadcast, pinks, stachys, romneya, flax, arctotis, osteospermum and other south african daisies, eryngiums, grasses, especially stipas, lavenders, indogofera, baptisia, yuccas, geranium palmatum, oriental poppies, anthemis, artemisia - all these are drought resistant, easy to care for and look fantastic. You could go for some of the ground cover roses and also species such as nutkana, R. stellata mirifica. This sounds like a wonderful rewarding project and I wish you the best of luck.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 6:13PM
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I'm in the Tampa, Fl. area, we have very sandy soil here. If you are doing own root in sandy soil, then roses very closely related to the old china roses do best. They will be happy with Louis Philippe, Le Vesuve and also Cecile Brunner.

As for other plants, it depends on how cold it gets there. I love Crape Myrtle trees and shrubs. Various Jasmines do well in sand also, as do Allamandas (usually yellow), Plumbago (blue), Bird of Paradise (orange) Variegated Shell Ginger (green with gold stripes), Variegated flax lily (green with white stripes), Lantanas (various colors). If frost free, Pentas and Plumerias are great. These are all easy to start from cuttings, even the roses.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 5:48PM
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if possible add peat moss to the bottom along with polymer pearls(bio-degradable)to keep water at the bottom so you have some retension or use that for the entire bed.Then add tons of redworms to change the soil to a loam faster. the worms will mix these together with the soil with the peat and polymer pearls eventually becoming the soil.don't use alot of polymer pearls about 1/10th of the soil will do. then you will have a soil with good drainage and good retension! not including natural fertilizers! can't get any better than that!Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 6:12PM
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