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I'm overwhelmed- help!

Posted by
Anne 22
( on
Tue, Jul 26, 05 at 12:53

I'm SO new to gardening and am looking for that thing that tells you "Here's what you do first, here's what you plant here, etc" but I'm so overwhelmed by all of this info!

I'm basically wanting to start with a small (2 foot by 4 foot) area next to the front door of my house (south-facing, but not ever in direct sunlight- it's covered by the arch over our entryway and is walled on one side) and plant something that flowers- or maybe "design" it with a few things, but I don't know what will grow best or when is best to start a project like this!

Any pointers??

p.s. I'm a few miles from the beach in Southern California

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: I'm overwhelmed- help!

sounds luscious!

I think I would try a flowering tropical vine like bouganvilla or the like.

I bet you can get expert advise on the California Gardening Forum, also.

Have fun!

RE: I'm overwhelmed- help!

Yes, I'd check with CA gardening forum too. Also, you sound like you might be in a state of panic. Don't panic...that soil will wait for you to decide what to do! Just make some educated decisions about what you want to plant, then go forward. Posting here is a good start.

First decide whether you want permanent plants, or do you want to have annuals which need to be replaced periodically?

Boganvillas would probably want more sun than you have, and they get very large. You should think more of ferns, fuchsias, heavenly bamboo, azalea, camellias. I have clivia in full shade, and they have done well for years. Impatiens might be ok there and bloom beautifully.Clivia blooms are orange, but there is a new creamy white variety out at Armstrongs.

Be sure to take into consideration the final grown-up size of your plants. If you put in something that grows too big, you'll end up pulling it out and starting over.

If you are going to do more gardening, you will probably want to get a copy of the Sunset Western Garden Book. It is very helpful.

RE: I'm overwhelmed- help!


I highly recommend the Sunset Western Garden Book as well. California's geography and topography results in a lot of micro-climates, which means the conditions can change greatly even just a few miles away from where you are.

Before you start, you should answer the following:

1. What you would like to see in your garden?
2. How much effort you want to put into the garden?
3. How much maintenance do you want to do?
4. What type of do soil you have?
5. What is the temperature range and humidity in your area?
6. Where do you live?

Folks in the California Gardening Forum would then be better able to give you some advice.

But if you don't want to go throw all that trouble, go around you neighborhood until you find some plants you like. Then ask your neighbors how they grow them. :-)

RE: I'm overwhelmed- help!

Thanks for the advice- I'll look up your suggestions and see if I like them. I'm thinking maybe some kind of taller grass or something in back (against the wall) and something shorter and flowering in front?

p.s. I thought I'd looked up my zone and it was 22 (?). All these different zones- I can't tell which is what!

RE: I'm overwhelmed- help!

  • Posted by Skybird z5, Denver, CO (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 26, 05 at 15:38

Hi Anne,

The Western Garden Book is a great reference book, but it's the only book I know of that lists different zones than the standard USDA zones, so don't let that confuse you. Here's a link to the USDA map of CA so you can look up your "real" zone that everybody else will recognize---in SoCal you're probably in 9 or 10. And in the WG Book you'll most likely be in zone 20-something, and you'll need to know that for when you look up information in that book only.

Welcome to GardenWeb,

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA zone map - California

Sunset Western Gardening Book

  • Posted by thane z7 Bellevue (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 28, 05 at 0:28

Another newbie here: I'll second the recommendation for the Sunset Western Gardening Book. It is amazing. It answered so many questions I had bubbling up in my head. Now I can ask more intelligent things specific to my needs! :)

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