What's your favorite thing to grow in Upstate NY?

husky004_(z5 NY)September 10, 2003

Mine are hardy hibiscus, cannas, passifloras(inside for the winter)like to try a tropical look for our short summers sometimes works sometimes not. So whatta you like to grow?

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Wendy_the_Pooh(z5/6 NY)

Okay, here I am again. I think people will get tired of hearing from me! favorite thing? favorite thing? Ornamental grasses like feather reed grass, miscanthus, et al. Toadlily - the northern gardener's version of an orchid. Queen of the Prairie, , , , , etc. etc. etc.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2003 at 1:43AM
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starina(z6 cny)

Favorite? Just one? I have too many favorites, so I'll try to contain myself.

Conifers, so many interesting ones, and some very cool dwarfs. Color in the winter landscape too. I have a small but neat collection of pines and chamaecyparis going.

Deciduous trees with 4 season interest. (Form, bark, something good going on all year long) River birch, Katsura, Amelenchier, Cornus, Halesia, stewartia, japanese maples, sigh, so many great trees!

Shrubs. Rhodies, enkianthus, fothergilla, hamamellis, and boy I could go on and on, lol.

Grasses. I'm particularly on love with miscanthus and some of the 'dead' sedges. Alos really like hakonechlea.

Perennials. I like shade plants the best right now. I really tend to grow things for foliage, and there are so many fascinating woodland plants. Arisaema, ligularia, bergenia, rodgersia, ferns galore, pinellia, and off I go again!

I do love roses, big full loaded with petals and stinky! David Austins, Romanticas and so forth. Hot Cocoa is a real winner here too. Great color and a workhorse bloomer.

I love my garden!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2003 at 8:23AM
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I definitely can't pick one favorite, it kinda depends on the season. Right now my ornamental grasses are spectacular, as is the blue spirea and plumbago. Dahlias are going nuts. Next year I'll start a shade bed and that will open up a whole new world of plants, right now I have mostly sun-lovers.

I'm looking forward to fall foliage (already saw some up north, it's coming!) and the change of seasons.....

    Bookmark   September 11, 2003 at 9:34AM
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ellen_(z5 NY)

My favorite things are the makings of sauce--tomatoes, peppers, garlic and basil. Garlic and basil don't have a problem. Tomatoes and peppers are a challenge. I like to pick out a few longer-season varieties each year and try to see them through to harvest. I use Wall o' Waters in the spring and covers in the fall.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2003 at 1:32PM
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mishy(z9/24 SoCal)

my favorite upstate plants that I miss living in SoCal:

Maples (the purple leaved variety)
Any trees that change color
Lily of the Valley, boy the list could go on! Those were my faves from upstate! Its a whole new ballgame out here!!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2003 at 3:56PM
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I love my purple flowering raspberries, summersweet, pagoda dogwood, amelanchier to name a few.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2003 at 5:47PM
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waplummer(Z5 NY)

Flowering trees
Native shrubs
Native woodland flowers
Hardy Ferns - both native and exotic, e.g Adiatum venustum
Mountain Laurel
Rock Garden plants
Small and dwarf Hosta
Asian Maples

    Bookmark   September 11, 2003 at 8:33PM
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laurelin(z5a/4b Upstate NY)

I love things with good fall color (euonymus alata 'Compacta' is always good, rugosa roses for their hips, asters and hardy mums for the fall flowers). I like lilacs ('Krasavitsa Moskvy' is a show-stopper for me), and tall bearded irises, and all sorts of spring-blooming bulbs, especially daffodils. I'm just starting to grow soft fruits (black raspberries, blueberries, and black currants). I grow pumpkins for my kids (although this was a very sad year for pumpkins, squashes and melons - I have ONE tiny pumpkin for my efforts, so I see a trip to the "pumpkin farm" coming in October), and my "salsa" garden (tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic). I tried to grow watermelons this year, without success. Oh, well, I'll try again next year! It couldn't possibly be as wet and cool as this summer - could it??


    Bookmark   September 11, 2003 at 9:05PM
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Wendy_the_Pooh(z5/6 NY)

Laurelin, we must live a few miles apart! We live in the Town of Binghamton. It's interesting that you speak of the one Lilac I would really want if I had room, 'Krasavitsa Moskvy'. I've seen pictures of it, and it is a knockout. I've thought about growing a currant bush too, but again, where do I have the room? Maybe I'll find it somehow.

Nice to meet you, neighbor!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2003 at 9:36PM
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Binghampton is about 1 1/2 hrs from me. Take 88 right there. lol

I like to grow Bee Balm, Spring Bulbs,Colored Yarrow, Peony etc

The list could go on and on


    Bookmark   September 12, 2003 at 7:44AM
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starina(z6 cny)


It seems that we have similar interests in plants. Have you ever been to or ordered from Seneca hill perennials? She has a very interesting selection of woodland plants. I also like Fairweather.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2003 at 9:28AM
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I love having my tropical banana trees outside all winter. I also have hardy bamboo and this year will be trying to winterize my hardy palms outside, if it works!!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2003 at 6:30PM
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laurelin(z5a/4b Upstate NY)

Hello Wendy - I live in Endwell. Nice to meet someone who's practically around the corner!

I got my currant bushes from Miller's in Canandaigua, because they were CHEAP and would grow and fruit in partial SHADE. They don't take up much space - who knows, you might find a corner to put a few in. . . .

I'd like to try tricyrtis (toad lily) - I'm starting a woodland garden, after thinking about it for five years in this house and being annoyed by the long bare strip under a line of hemlock trees. So far Hosta is the champion groundcover there, but I'm also trying creeping wintergreen and lady ferns and rhododendrons (which will doubtless need some supplemental watering under those dense, thirsty trees). I'd like to try trilliums, but they're a bit pricey. We'll see. . . .

You know, people complain about the weather up here all the time, but we can grow A LOT more than we think we can. Managing the microclimates in my yard has been an education as far as what will live and thrive up here with our schizo winters. If you have a "hot spot" in your yard, or a warm sheltered corner, try something tender - you might be surprised!


    Bookmark   September 13, 2003 at 10:42PM
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starina(z6 cny)

I have hardy bamboo also. Which of the bananas do you grow, and what zone are you?
I'm thinking of trying one of the bananas here next year.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2003 at 7:27AM
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fammsimm(Z8 DFW)

Mishy posted what she misses growing in NY. I totally agree with her list, plus need to add a few more:

pussy willows
fresh sweet corn
bright red geraniums ( that actually last through the summer!)

    Bookmark   September 15, 2003 at 9:43AM
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Woodviolet: What kind of ornamental grasses do you grow? Are they native to the area...? I'm looking for grasses native in zone 4 (Saratoga area) and other than Indian Grass and the blue stems, I'm not sure what other natives I might have success with. Any suggestions?


    Bookmark   September 15, 2003 at 12:57PM
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bamboogrrrl(z5 NY)

Peonies. I'd have bazillions if I could. So far I only have 25, with six more on the way this fall. Japanese maples, sugar maples (dh makes syrup every year), hollyhocks, daylilies, bulbs galore; hydrangea! Dogwoods, fresh garden tomatoes. Roses when they survive Butterfly bushes and oriental poppies.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2003 at 2:55PM
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adkmountain girl: Some of the native* grasses we've been growing are; northern sea oats and bottlebrush grass in dry areas that get light shade; 'Shenandoah' switchgrass (likes it moist - I know Saratoga County soils can be pretty dry)in sunnier areas. I've had a lot of success with these. Also, I've been growing Pennsylvania sedge as a low (2-3")turf in a dry, acidic, shady area of my yard and it is doing really well. It is taking a while to fill in, but it is lovely and worth the wait. It is native too.

*I'm not sure if northern sea oats is native this far north.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2003 at 8:20PM
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Every year my 'favorite' changes to something new! Laurelin is right - we can grow so many things here. I'm so glad we don't live in an area where only cacti thrive!

My favorite this year was the Elephant Ear bulbs. They are just incredible!!! They take a long time to emerge from the ground and can't be overwintered outside in our area from what I have read. I have dug my bulbs and put them in giant pots earmarked for the basement when the temps drop. They should sprout earlier next season if they are kept inside with warmer temps during early spring. It's a lot of fussin' for a few bulbs but they are so worth it!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2003 at 9:15PM
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Hi, BurghGarden:

Thanks for the suggestions. Parts of my 1/2 acre (in Wilton, just north of Saratoga) are all clay, parts all sand, and the rest a mix of both. What kind of soil requirements do the northern sea oats, PA sedge and bottlebrush grass need (besides dry and shade?). Also, how high do they get? FYI: Most of my yard is in the sun for 1/2 to 2/3 of the day. Any native ornamental grasses that might like these sunny conditions?

Hope you (and anyone else with some success with native ornamental grasses) find the time to reply!! Thanks! :)


    Bookmark   September 16, 2003 at 1:15PM
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Hi to all,

My favorites: Daffs, peonies, oaks, daphne (Carol M.), Exbury Azaleas, lavender, lilacs.

Indoors & protected: Figs, my big old stag horn fern, rosemary.
Things I want to get going on next year: Delphiniums, hens & chicks, asparagus.

Maybe we should do a thread on specific varieties of various types of plants that do OK up here in the chill. I get zone-envy when I search on some of the plant specific threads on other forums where there are gardeners from *down below*. (and I don't mean Australia!)

I live in northern Rensselear county, east of Troy. I'm at least a solid 5a, if not teetering into 4b. But I resolutely buy things that are zoned for a low 6. After all maybe plants can't read the maps!


    Bookmark   September 16, 2003 at 7:36PM
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Hi again Adkmountaingirl:

I believe all three are generally adaptable as far as soil type is concerned. My soil is loamy and they all do well here.

Northern sea oats is happier with more moisture, where it will self seed quite a bit. However, it also does well in drier spots. With less moisture it does not get quite as tall or self seed as much. It will grow up to 4'.

PA sedge doesn't like heavy clay. It typically grows on upland sites under oaks where the soils are acidic and relatively dry. Mine are growing under Amelanchiers, which they seem to like. It is short, only growing to about 6".

The bottlebrush grass grows anywhere it is shady in my yard. It grows to about 18".

Hope this answers your questions.

Also to Sherwoodfarm (Nancy): Hello up there. We're Zone 5b down here.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2003 at 7:31PM
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Wendy_the_Pooh(z5/6 NY)

Two questions:
1) I just planted Northern Sea Oats between Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' and Lemon Balm in a balanced (water-wise) spot. Which do you think will be the "winner", as in dominate?

2)Are you aware of the USDA zone changes? I'm still not used to it, even though I've known about it for many months. We used to be in Zone 5A, and now we're in Zone 5/6.
Somewhat confusing, eh?


Here is a link that might be useful: New USDA Zone Map

    Bookmark   September 18, 2003 at 8:53PM
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I think Delphinium is my favorite. It blooms two times here in one season, and is just SO FANTASTIC. I have several kinds in my garden, which were here when I moved in 2 years ago.
My other favorite is poppies. I discovered them while I lived here... both the perennial and annual types. I can't wait to winter seed the annual seeds I got this year.... the ones I have planted in the past just reseed themselves, so I have great hope for new varieties to establish themselves.
My garden came with so many peonies. I have to say though, that I haven't found an interest in them. To me, they seem to be in the way... they get heavy, and cover everything else. I've taken out a lot of bushes, and 'sort-of' transplanted them out of my garden (I really have a difficult time just throwing them in the compost heap). If they survived the move, I would like to trade them for plants I don't have.... and I'd love to do local trades...
Otherwise, I haven't had a vegetable garden in quite a few years now. I'm hoping that when my twinfants are a little bigger, I can get back into that. Right now, I'm just tending-to and adding-to the big perennial garden.
Oh, I forgot how many trades I did for iris this year.... lots... so that means that iris has to be on my list of favorites. It just seems like spring was SO LONG AGO! I almost forgot about them!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2003 at 12:22AM
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Woodviolet - Plumbago in NY?? I had 3 planted in So. California but had no idea they grow here. Will surely have to check that out.


    Bookmark   October 14, 2003 at 7:40PM
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Peonies definitely...Trees for color and shade, Lilies, Tulips, Iris....and many more

Our Ribbon grass and Blue Fescue do very well

    Bookmark   October 14, 2003 at 9:49PM
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yjtj(5/6 NY)

that is a hard question.
deciduous tree = japanese maple or a weeping willow
coniferous = scotch pine
herb = chives
flowers = montauk daisy
groundcover = scotch moss/irish moss mixed
shrub = junipers of every variety

    Bookmark   October 14, 2003 at 10:59PM
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Wendy, I believe the Lemon Balm will win in the end. It spreads like mad, but I still love it. lol

I saw someone mentioned Toad Lily. I just got some. Very nice flowers. Hopefully, it will overwinter.Also, I was wondering about the hardy Bamboo. How quickly does it spread? I would love to grow it.


    Bookmark   October 15, 2003 at 7:06AM
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starina(z6 cny)


There are two types of hardy bamboo; Clumping, does not spread, increases slowly, and running, increases fairly fast, new culms can pop up at least as far away as the bamboo is tall.
Do a google search for Burt's Bamboo and for New England Bamboo, they have a lot of info on their web sites.
Quite a few bamboo are hardy here.

Starina, trying not to blow away

p.s. I forgot to mention that there are effective ways to keep the running boo from spreading about as it pleases

    Bookmark   October 15, 2003 at 7:58PM
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Thanks, Starina, I will look into the clumping variety. Glad you did not blow away!


    Bookmark   October 16, 2003 at 5:59AM
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Gardener_Greg(z4 NY)

My top choice in my garden would be Stewartia pseudocamellia-Japanese Stewartia. It is beautiful in any season and extemely hardy.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2003 at 8:46PM
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maureen1953(Z4 Central NY)

My #1 favorite thing to grow is garlic, the soil is just right for huge bulbs to grow and is a no work crop...just plant in fall, harvest in summer! Saying that, I love to grow all kinds of plants, roses, lilacs, perennials, annuals, berries, herbs, veggies. Just talking about it makes me yearn for spring!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2003 at 10:29PM
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lblack61(z5 NY)

How does Astilbe weather in this area? I live in Oswego about four miles or so from the lake. Will that be warm enough for the Astilbe or should I cover them up in the late fall?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2004 at 9:07AM
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lblack61(z5 NY)

Well, I don't have much experience, but it's Impatiens and herbs so far.
Last year, the Impatiens absolutely exploded out of the front flower bed, making my mother-in-law so happy she was besider herself (her previous daughter-in-law never bothered to plant anything in the yard).
I also planted Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Lemon Balm, and English Lavendar. All but the Rosemary are flourishing this year already.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2004 at 9:21AM
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Turtle_Haven_Farm(Z5 NY)

LBlack 61: I planted Astilbe for the first time last Spring for a Gurney's special. It came up OK, but I figured after this winter,it was a goner. But lo and behold, it's back!!! And better than last year!!! Looking forward to it blooming again. Must be tougher than I thought! - Ellen

    Bookmark   June 8, 2004 at 10:55AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

My number one favorite has to be tender Salvias like Guaranitica Black and Blue and Salvia Elegans. I also love the hibiscus in all their forms. I am trying a Passiflora for the first time (thank you again Husky!) and I am sure that it will be right up at the top of the list with my salvias. I really enjoy the challenge of raising tropicals also.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2004 at 11:23AM
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lblack61(z5 NY)

Thanks, Ellen!
That's great to hear...it's so striking and different looking that I really want it to stick around for a long time. I have it planted on either side of "Silver Mound" which I planted a few weeks ago in two flower beds.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2004 at 1:28PM
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kathy2(z6 NY)

My favorites are vegetables: Cukes, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, winter and summer squashes, green beans, corn. Now that my two little guys are 8 and 5 years old, I finally did have time for a few flowers from seed this year. I grew marigolds and impatiens and have 6 pots (with a few gifts and wal-mart marigolds added) on my front steps.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2004 at 4:39PM
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stewartiajon(z6 CT)

Stewartia koreana. I have a bunch that I started a few years ago and gave to family and friends and they live in upstate New York and in New Hhampshire. The trees are beautiful and doing very well. I have also shipped twoa seedlings to a friend in Minnesota and it is thriving out there too.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2004 at 1:31PM
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glennkid(z5b WNY)

Some of my favorites:
Chionanthus Retusus (Chinese Fringetree)
Vaccinum Corybulsom (blueberries)
Acer Japonicum and Palmatum
Pinus Cembra
Abies Koreana

    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 1:44PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

WOW this thread goes wayyy back. SInce my last post I have been enjoying growing cannas from seed and I have just started my first perennial vine from seed ... Carolina Jessamine. Salvias, Agastache and Penstemons still top the list though.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 2:38PM
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glennkid(z5b WNY)

I'll add Stewartia Pseudocamellia to the TOP of my list. Just purchased a 5' with absolute gorgeous form. This tree has superior quality. What a looker!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2005 at 9:10PM
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adina72(z5 CNY)

I love hostas, daffodils, Diablo Ninebark, Rose of Sharon, Rogusa Roses, Columbine, Yarrow...the list goes on.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 10:19AM
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lblack61(z5 NY)

At this point, it's ANYTHING! I am so excited about expanding my beds this year I don't know what to do with myself. And to see everything waking up from the winter sleep is just so comforting.
I'm even doing container gardening this year.
Each plant seems to have it's own kind of reward.
Herbs are always a favorite for me because not only can I use them to cook and such, but the bees and butterflies love them.
The Yarrow from last year looks like it never died. The Sweet William never did either-- I took clumps off of it to plant elsewhere. The Cornflower I WSed is about 7 inches high already and it's been in the ground since late March.
And I just picked up some trailing Geranium and Non-Stop Begonias at a nursery near Cooperstown (the Begonias wowed me to no end. I couldn't leave without some). I now have a better looking shade garden plan than I ever intended!
I thank God for the opportunity to garden and all the help GardenWeb folks have given me :-)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 12:25PM
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