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wow...newbie here...overwhelmed and would love a mentor!

Posted by li_zabeth north coast - ohio (My Page) on
Sat, May 17, 08 at 23:42

Hi all :)

I moved to Cleveland Ohio last fall and we fell into an adorable 80 year old small colonial with VERY prolific beds of perennials in the back!

I simply dont know where to begin - there are soooo many plants! On top of that, I've chosen to direct sow some annuals from seed for color (mostly to save money).

I cant identify half the plants - dont know which ones need divided (some are crazy-crowded) and not sure what to put in elsewhere ... i'm at a complete loss.

Anyone want to take this newbie under their wing? The BEST homemade cookies in the world and some nice gardening gifts will come your way if you could just walk me thru a few things this season. :)

Hope someone finds it in their heart! I'd be eternally grateful. :)

All the best,

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: wow...newbie here...overwhelmed and would love a mentor!

I would gladly do that if I lived closer....but you could post pictures and get lots of advice.
Linda C

RE: wow...newbie here...overwhelmed and would love a mentor!


I'm in the same boat as Linda. However if you can send pics thru the email then I can be of help.
PLease send ones that are less than 500K size and if you want email me directly.--
To do that just click my garden web link and email me that way and I'll send you a direct addy.

Karen zone 5 IL

RE: wow...newbie here...overwhelmed and would love a mentor!

Thank you to both of you!! I will be sending emails with some pics shortly - I think one plant is a rhododendron that wasnt pruned after blooming last year (before we moved in) - but there are a zillion more to identify and i have sooo many questions. In the meantime, I received some slightly leggy asti white osteophernum(? sp) from a mail order company - like white daisies? for my flowerboxes in the front of the house. I think they'll revive - but I should "pinch em back" as they say, right? i want them to be rounder/bushier....gosh, which shoots to pinch? and how far back? ...sigh...

Thanks much!

RE: wow...newbie here...overwhelmed and would love a mentor!

Beth, look into any garden clubs in your area. These are pretty much omnipresent in any urban area and are a great way to locate a garden mentor. While posting questions or ID photos on GW is a great alternative, nothing beats having a one-on-one, in-person relationship with an experienced gardener familiar with your area and growing conditions. Another source is to drive around and locate lush, attractive gardens close to your neighborhood, hopefully with the gardener busy attending to them. Introduce yourself and state your request - just as you find such helpful advice here, most avid gardeners are more than eager to share their experience and knowledge......and often their plants as well! You could also contact your local extension office and ask of the Master Gardeners there if there is someone they can recommend locally as a mentor or garden coach. Local garden centers may have similar referrals. This is becoming a very popular aspect of the horticultural profession.

RE: wow...newbie here...overwhelmed and would love a mentor!

One thing you could start with is keeping a garden diary.

When you buy plants - do yourself a HUGE favour by noting its name - and where you put it. (I know that sounds funny, It is - until you dig it up by mistake because you forgot where you put it.)

A note of the weather, rain, frosts, high winds, can be very useful when you're trying to track down the source of a problem with a plant - or just to know whether something you're drooling over will actually have a chance to thrive in your garden.

Photos on A4 paper - kept in a ring binder, with the date, and the names of plants you can recognise can also be useful further along. When you've gained more confidence then you might want to make garden changes. Those photos remind you of what grew where, (Or what you tried, that died. - Don't worry. Happens to us all. Usually the Most Expensive one.)

RE: wow...newbie here...overwhelmed and would love a mentor!

I second vetivert8's suggestion of a garden diary of some sort. When you're first starting out, you can't imagine needing this, but I think it's vital.

I take photos at several times over the course of each season, so that I can keep track of what's planted where and when it emerges in the spring. Accompanying the photos is a spreadsheet listing each perennial and its bloom period for the last few years.

In a separate spreadsheet is a listing of what hasn't worked for me and why I think that might be. For example, "I think this plant wants more shade than I can give it." Or "needs acidic soil?" I also keep a list of what annual/perennial combinations I've liked over the years, along with photos of them.

RE: wow...newbie here...overwhelmed and would love a mentor!

Li_zabeth, welcome to the world of gardening.
Everyone's ideas are very good, let me add to the mix. Go to .com web sites that sell plants. Park's, Burpee's, Dutch Gardens, Bluestone Perennials, etc. I'm not suggesting you buy, but by looking at the online catalogues you will begin to learn what the plants look like and a little bit about their growth patterns like zone requirements, height, spacing, etc. Of course, I ususally do that sort of thing when winter comes to Buffalo and I am yearning for some green instead of white! Lurking in Garden Web forum is another great way to learn, use the FAQs and search option liberally. Happy Gardening!!


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