Which plants are for me?

lbutterfly_utMarch 21, 2007

I'm totally new to this site and also to the whole...having a yard thing and I am clueless where to start. My dad is a natural gardener, roses, tree's, bushes, veggies. You name it he can grow it. But he's pretty opinionated and I don't want to ask him because he wants what he wants nothing else will do.

Anyway, how do I find out which plants are best for my area? I'm in Utah County and I want good looking bushes and flowers, but also ones that don't consume a ton of water. I figured asking some knowledgeable folks their opinions would be a good first step. I'm weeding my planting areas this weekend and I think it's planting season soon (or now?) so I need to get a move on!

Any advice would be so great. Thanks!

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A good place to start would be the local county extension office. In addition to plants that are low in water use, you also want plants that can tolerate alkaline soil. I have a link to a list of trees and how well they do in Utah. I'll try to find it and post it.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 8:58PM
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    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 9:04PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

Lbutterfly: I'm laughing about the father comment! My wife's dad is just the same, although it's not about gardening. Hopefully, my daughters won't feel that way about me! :-)

I could write more, but I need to go right now -- just wanted to make sure you know that it's not really planting season yet, unless you're talking about trees and shrubs and a limited number of hardy annuals, like California poppies or Iceland poppies, or pansies. Most other plants shouldn't be planted until around Mothers' Day, which is our typical guarantee of no more freezes.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 1:26PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

A few more thoughts:

There are some great resources available to help you decide what to plant. One of my favorites is the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy's demonstration gardens, which has a very comprehensive website with lists of plants that work well here. Many are water conserving plants, too, which you mentioned as a goal. The best part of their site is at this link, which lists the plants in their "general garden loop". You can browse a lot of other gardening stuff on their website using the menus, too.

I did notice that they recently redesigned the website, and a few of the photos are lame, because they must have taken them just recently while the plants are dormant (pretty silly!), but there are hundreds of other good photos there.

Red Butte Gardens (by the University of Utah) also has an informative website with lists and photos of plants.

Of course, it would be good to actually visit those gardens and see what the plants look like. The nice thing about Jordan Valley is that it's free. You can find directions on both websites.

There's also a book specifically useful for flower gardening in Utah. It's called Temple Square Gardening, and I bought a copy at Deseret Book. It has some design ideas as well as lists and photos of annuals, perennials, and I think shrubs that do well at Temple Square.

Have fun with this! Oh yeah, and don't trust Wal-Mart or Lowes, Home Depot, etc. Just like Songbirdmommy posted somewhere on this forum, Wal-Mart has some stuff right now that is dying because it's too cold to plant or because the plants are not for our gardening zones. And many times the employees don't really know much about gardening.

Good luck!
- Steve

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 4:52PM
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Thank you so much for your replies. I'm sorry I disappeared for a while. I completely spaced out on this! Typical lol. I will definately go to these links and probably check out Red Butte after class sometime, convenient huh?

I'm mostly worried about planting flowers. We did want to plant 2 trees in our front yard (you know the small sidewalk strip) EVERYONE in our entire neighborhood has the same trees and I'm not sure what they are. We are fairly new so it's like pulling teeth to get them to talk to us lol.

Thanks again you guys. I'm sure I'll be back with more thanks and questions!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 4:22PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

Are you kidding about the neighbors not talking to you? Doesn't sound like the Utah County I know! I'm up in Cedar Hills, not far from the mouth of AF Canyon. They're pretty friendly up here.

If everyone has the same tree, it's likely something required by CC&Rs or by a city ordinance. You might want to check with the city on whether they specify the type of tree. It's nice to see a street with a uniform treescape, especially when they get big.

Good luck, and count on your friends here to help out if your neighbors aren't friendly enough!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 11:31PM
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songbirdmommy(UT 5)

Hi Butterfly!
Welcome to OUR community~ UT Gardening!!
We will talk to ya! :-)

Everyone might have the same trees cause they were what the builder put in, if the street has model homes on it.
Or the trees might have all been on sale too.

Having trees in the park strip is not the nicest thing to do for the tree....
someday down the road, the kid rollerskating or you in 50 years taking an evening stroll that turns into a spill as you stumble on the lifted sidewalk (from the roots).

Trees have roots that spread out far and wide, not necessarily deep.
When you plant a tree in a parkstrip, it doesn't have the rooms it likes to grow and spread out in a natural circular pattern.
Instead it's roots get bound into a small area.
Sometimes they are strong enough to grow under the sidewalk and lift it.
The tree may grow for five, ten, even twenty years, then suddenly the stress of living in such a confined area will take it's toll and kill it.

I wanted to plant lilacs in the park strip at the end of the cul de sac.
But I think even they need more room for their roots than the park strip could provide.

I was telling a friend that planting lavender would be a wonderful thing to plant near the parkstrip...
anyone walking by would have a wonderful aroma.
The folage is interesting and the flowers are gorgeous...

It is nice to be uniform... but at what expense?

If you plant yours now, and theirs dies off sooner than yours, you will be different... so...
plant different now to begin with.
Plant something you like, you want and will enjoy living/growing in the park strip.

Whatever you do.... do NOT plant "rocks"!LOL
A parksrip full of rocks! uhg!!!
I think that is sooo ugly!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 1:06PM
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