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beginner seeking help.??? . long

Posted by roorezzi Poconos (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 27, 06 at 10:06

Husband and I just bought our first house. The landscaping is terrible. It was previously a vacation home and not kept up too well on outside. I'm going to put in some pics of our yard. They aren't the greatest, I'll try to take better ones.

My main Question is what kinds of plants do well in this area. I have a lot of shade b/c the house is set back and theres woods out front by the street and behind us. There are some spots that have a lot of sun.

I don;t get these plants that say partial shade/full sun. How could it be both??

I am planning on making a bed in the area under both sets of front windows. One exists now by the walkway and I will make one on the other side.

Here is the view out the front window towards the street. I would like to make a small bed in front of the bird bath with a rock border and flowers..

ALso looking for inexpensive plants/seeds. We are on a tight budget and I want to liven the yard a little. I know I can;t do everything the first year but would like something.

Can I plant bulbs or seeds now and get flowers this year????

I know I asked soo mnay questions. Thanks in Advance for any help you can provide?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: beginner seeking help.??? . long

  • Posted by janetr Ottawa USDA 4a (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 27, 06 at 12:52

A few answers:

When a plant is described as partial shade/full sun, it means it will do well in either situation. Usually it prefers one over the other, mind you. Also, the preference could be different depending on the climate. The further south you go, the more likely they are to appreciate some shade during the day.

It will take time to develop a nice garden, especially on a strict budget. For the first couple of years, you could use a lot of annuals that can be sown directly in the ground: poppies, alyssum, bachelor buttons, California poppies, love-in-a-mist, sunflowers, cosmos, daturas, four o'clocks, the list goes on and on. Lilies will also make a very gratifying show the first year, but of course, that will put you out more than a few packets of flower seeds.

By starting out mainly with the annuals you will have a chance to get to know your yard, read up on gardening in general, and add perennials a bit at a time while still enjoying the show. You can also start quite a few perennials from seed which will require more patience but stretch your dollar a long, long way.

I just started gardens from scratch last year, and though I did put in a good number of perennials (I had a credit coming to me - long story), the annuals really saved my butt, particularly in the front yard. These are not particularly impressive beds, but I got lots of thank-yous from the neighbours anyway. The last people had done nothing but leave the dirt bare for the cats...

Here is a link that might be useful: My first-year gardens

RE: beginner seeking help.??? . long

I know it seems overwhelming, but you are going to have a lot of fun and satisfaction watching your garden grow. I suggest you walk through your neighborhood and see what you like and what seems to be doing well, then talk to your fellow gardening neighbors about those plants. Most gardeners LOVE when someone shows an interest in their gardens, and will be willing to share information, plants, or seeds with you. Plus you'll get to meet your neighbors!

RE: beginner seeking help.??? . long


Walk your yard and imagine how it should look. Think of colors, texture, shapes, etc. Decide what do you want to see where? In time, you will envision how your garden is meant to be. Try one part of the yard at a time. After that, just look for plants on internet nursery sites and walk-in nurseries.

I started in my new house with a simple plan to be finished in 5 years.

RE: beginner seeking help.??? . long

When I began gardening I found inspiration in books and magazines that had suggested illustrated plant beds. Better Homes and Gardens has just such a magazine out, this week, in a local grocery store. And there is a Mid-Atlantic gardening book that provides plans, as well.

On a limited budget I'd start with the area right around your front door. Carve out a curved bed. (Curved beds generally are appealing to the eye and mimic the manner in which plants grow in the wild.) Dig out the sod, add some bagged soil amendments, and experiment with flowers that can grow easily.

The Burpee site has a search engine that allows you to search for flowers that are easy to grow. Try flowers that tolerate partial shade, because in your climate and with all your trees, my guess is that partial shade flowers will do best. I saw that Home Depot is currently selling Burpee seeds for 40% off. It seems fair to me to use the online search engine and then buy the seeds retail, rather than online.

You might also try your hand at container gardening. Fill biggish terra cotta pots (15 inches and larger) with potting soil and try seeds in the big pots. The nice thing about growing plants in pots is that you can move them about so that they are in the best place (sun vs. shade) for optimal growth. The downside is that pots are pretty expensive.

If you get caught by the gardening bug, you might as well resign yourself to spending more money that is reasonable in your garden. I have two 2 1/2 foot closets that adequately store all of my clothing. I've spent less than $500 on clothing in the last year. But I've spent more than $500 in plants and seeds, in the last three months. (Love those mail order catalogues!)

RE: beginner seeking help.??? . long

The area around your birdbath would make a beautiful garden. You have shade there as well as some sunlight so with a mixture of hostas,which you can buy even at places like Walmart for a reasonable price and some annual bedding plants you could have a garden there this year. Just add some compost to your soil and dig it in well. Take a look and see what it could look like.

Here is a link that might be useful: your birdbath garden

RE: beginner seeking help.??? . long

There are so many things you can do. Perhaps work on the grass to develop a strong green, less weed filled yard (I don't know if it has weeds or not).

As far as plants, I would try for some simple plants. Pansies and daises are easy to grow and should be okay in your light. Pansies also can grow in lower degree temps, which is good since you live in the Poconos. Also, you can also experiment with container gardens. One of my favorite plants are dahlias. They are easy to grow, do well in pots, and bloom from now through summer.

As other people have suggested, magazines and book are good for inspiration and general ideas. Also, stroll through your local nurseries/garden centers and see what is available. The stores may still be somewhat limited, but as the weather becomes warmer, more plants will arrive.

RE: beginner seeking help.??? . long

Thank you so much for all your help! I really appreciate it. I do have some pots I don't remember how big they were, but I will dig them out and see.

I was planning on a curved bed in the front under the far windows.. How hard do you think it would be to move the xmas tree type bush next the stairs. I would love to have that at the corner of the house. (**youcan tell by my terminology I am a beginner.. haha)

Unfortunately b/c of the walkway and railroad ties that have to stay fornow, that bed will be straight.

mwoods.. that was excellent thank you.. I think I will have to do a little smaller b/c the pup plays out front.

theanalyst.. Hubby will be working on the grass for years to come. right now there isn;t much grass and ALOT of moss. b/c of the shade and the fact that the previous owners didn't take care and prob didn't plant the right grass seed for the shade.

I'm going to check out some websites and start getting seeds..

can I start the seeds in pots and then transplant. I have a lot of smaller old pots I think I could use til I can get the bed area cleaned..

sorry so long..

RE: beginner seeking help.??? . long

  • Posted by mombo z5Poconos (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 28, 06 at 7:23

Welcome to the Poconos! My family has been here for 37 years. One important thing to remember is that deer love to use your garden as their personal salad bar so don't get discouraged. Always check to see if what you are planting is deer resistant. This is no guarantee that they won't still take a taste. Use local nursery and plant businesses they are very helpful. Don't ever plant anything more than zone 6. I plant only very hardy shrubs and perennials, usually zone 5 and under. You have a blank canvas enjoy the project. If you are interested I will tell you some of the plants that have worked for me. I have many successes and failures in all these years.

RE: beginner seeking help.??? . long


I found your little forum while searching for deer-resistant landscaping on the web. I've found plenty of seminars on the subject - but all I want is a list of plants and shrubs. Can't find them anywhere!

I have the same problem as roorezzi. We just purchased a little home in the Poconos and noticed the lack of any landscaping in the entire neighborhood! It's like the deer are holding everyone hostage over their yards. Please help!
I would love to experiment with raised beds and rock gardens, but also have to worry about the leeching fields in the front of the house.

RE: beginner seeking help.??? . long

Maybe this will help? I do not have deer trouble, thankfully, so I cannot help any other way :)


Here is a link that might be useful: Deer Resistant Plants and Shrubs

RE: beginner seeking help.??? . long

I'm including a link to my 'deer bible'.

My own personal experience has been that it's about 90% accurate.

From that page, you can download it in PDF format and print it. I've looked at it so often I've practically got it memorized.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wildlife Damage Management: Resistance of Ornamentals to Deer Damage

RE: beginner seeking help.??? . long


Just found out about an inexpensive seed online catalog. Its and an outlet from Thompson and Morgan Seed Company. I don't know how close you are to a Home Depot or Johnston the Florist, but where I am they have pretty good prices on perennials now.

Also I had just asked about keeping those rabbits out of my garden and someone recommended liquid fence. Its for both deer and rabbits. I am ging to pick some up tomorrow.

You may also want to check out the seed and plant exchange as they sometimes give plants and seed to newbies for postage.

Hope this helps.


RE: beginner seeking help.??? . long

I just retired and closed my nursery this year. I always told my new gardeners to START SMALL. Don't look at the big picture or you will get overwelmed. Pick out a small spot and experiment and if you like gardening you will keep expanding. The most important advice I always gave is to grow soil and the plants will be easy. Improve the soil with lots of organic matter and organic fertilizer. Perennials are great because you can divide them and if you don't like them they are like furniture. Just move them. There are only a few that don't like to be moved. Good luck and enjoy.

RE: beginner seeking help.??? . long

Here are some updated pics of the yard, We did mostly cleaning up and destruction. Haven't done too much planting this year. We are trying to decide what we want to do brfore we start planting.

Front of house: Removed spruce-like tree and cleaned up the garden. The Large bush will be removed next yr. We didn;t want to leave the house completely empty.

I attached a link to my before and after album. It is mostly trees that we have taken down. We want to put in a retaining wall beyond the hill and then we will have some flat land behind us, but the other option was the clear the wooded area atthe top and make that a second tier to the yard?? Not sure which we will do ?? Any opinions? Any ideas which would be the cheapest??

Thanks again to everyone for their wonderful advice and encouragement!

**Best way to view album is by clicking the first picture in it and you wil see the large preview with the captions. Then click next. If you view the Dotphoto show then you will not see the captions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Before and After Album

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