What's the best gardening advice you've heard or can give?

roselee z8b S.W. TexasJuly 29, 2010

The best advice I ever heard was to have a beautiful garden find out what you can grow and then grow a lot of it. Anything in profusion is beautiful.

Also take out any scraggly or sickly looking plants. Just one or two struggling plants will take the looks of the whole garden down. Yes, some things you have to nurse along for awhile, but if they don't recover fairly quickly try something else.

Use plants that are tried and true for your area. We all go through the stage of pushing the envelope, or in our case the plant zones because we want to have something 'different' but in the end a yard with healthy plants adapted for our regions will give us more satisfaction.

BTW, I try, but don't always take my own advice ... LOL

What wise counsel would you offer to the rest of us?

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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

Compost, compost, compost to improve the soil. And that's never been more important than in our San Antonio garden where we have to build beds up.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 10:38PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

So true! I visited a garden in San Marcos where the owner brought in 200 yards of compost (you read right, two hundred yards) and her plants were gorgeous. I thought I was doing a lot with a load of 15 yards!! My last load was 5, but it sure does help!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 11:18PM
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holleygarden Zone 8, East Texas

Great advice, Roselee! I need to remember that advice about the scraggly plants! This should be a great thread!

The advice I try to remember? A garden for all four seasons! Something blooming from early spring through fall, and evergreens for winter interest. In fact, I think the 'bones' of the garden in the winter can be the prettiest time of the year - if you plan for it.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 11:18PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Holly, we posted at the same time!

You're so right about the bones as they call it; the evergreens and the hardscape. Sometimes when I clean up in the winter I can see where "less is better" as they say.

Good advice to think of other seasons other than just the 'growing' season.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 11:25PM
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bobbi_p(z8/9 Cypress, TX)

Living in a new neighborhood, and the gooey soil we have, the best advice I heard and the best advice I've heeded, is don't skimp on the bedding soil/compost!

Why waste money on beautiful plants if they don't have half a chance making it in your "native" soil!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 9:50AM
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debndal(8a DFW, TX)

Best advice I've gotten is "Be Patient". I don't know how much money I wasted on plants that I didn't give enough time to establish and come into their own, before ripping them out.
The other is more an order from my DH rather than advice. It was, don't even GO to the garden center if you don't have a spot in the garden to plant something!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 10:12AM
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Don't buy the plant the first time you see it. Come home and look it up on the internet first. You will understand the plant and its needs better and be able to find just the right spot for it...or be forced to admit that you don't have just the right spot for it. Better that happen before you buy it than after.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 10:33AM
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so how do you know when to be patient and when to rip out the struggling plant? I was just about to post, asking for your sage advice on a few plumbagos and salvias that have failed to grow beyond a few sprigs - do they just need more time to get established (been in the ground more than a year, may have frozen a bit last winter) or are they telling me they're not happy in their spots? I always plant stuff with a generous helping of compost mixed in to the black clay (or yellow clay if I've dug deep enough), so hopefully they have nutrients and breathing room.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 10:44AM
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greenleaf_organic(8, TX)

Since compost is taken, another thing I have learned is to study your yard/area and observe the angles and placement of the sun during the four seasons. This is especially true when planning where to plant trees since they are more permanent. I don't like to plant any kind of evergreen tree on the South end of my lawn since it shades me out in the winter. A big shade tree on the West/Northwest corner of the yard keeps the house shaded in the heat of the day in the middle of the summer. While you're at it, why not plant something to shade your a.c. unit? Save even more energy.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 8:55PM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

Meridith, I have the same problem with a plumbago that made it through the winter, but refuses to grow more than a few twigs with leaves. I plan to pot it up soon to protect it over the winter and keep it a container plant until it recovers.

I'm not very good at eliminating struggling plants, but I do pot them up and give them a chance to thrive elsewhere.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 9:58PM
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Never argue with a wilting or yellowing plant.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 11:14AM
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Never be 'afraid' to prune or pinch a plant. After all, it's a plant, not a puppy.

Anyone can have a green thumb, if they will dip it occasionally in Miracle Grow.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 12:22PM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)


    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 9:13PM
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Yes, lots and lots of mulch, and buy Texas tough plants! About June is when I remember this little fact. It's 7pm, 101 Degrees, and we're in the dog days. I leave for Oregon tomorrow for 6 days, it's going to be quite interesting to see what things are still hanging in there when I return, especially with a son who "forgets" rather easily! Oh, well, it will be a good test...

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 8:06PM
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Lynn Marie

The best advice I ever got was not to cry over dead plants. If it dies, throw it out and plant something else. People think I have a green thumb just becuase I get rid of all the dead stuff!

Lynn Marie

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 3:51PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

I'm loving reading all these great tips! :-)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 4:18PM
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