Carefully Chosen: Little Bits of Gardening Advice

Pretty often our neighbors come ask us for gardening advice.
It embarrasses me to some extent because there's really no big secret to what we've done for years.

Can I share my not so big secret with you?

We choose our plants very carefully based on a number of factors.

First, consider the climate right where you live.
How hot does it get during the day? 
In Texas it will be 100+ late in the summer. We choose only the plants that can persevere.
We buy plants that were grown locally whenever possible so they are accustomed to the climate.

Consider how much water plants need.
That might not be an issue for you but we are in extreme drought with serious water rationing.
Every drop of water matters so nothing that requires a lot of water is planted here.

Knock-out roses

Consider the size the plant will be at maturity.
Choose plants that will fit well in your space without excessive grooming.
All of that grooming changes the natural shape and blooming habits of plants.
Give them time and space to fill out and become buddies.

Peace Rose

Last, I would say choose varieties of plants that are proven for your area.
By that I mean that other gardeners have approved them through growing trials.

We listen to gardening programs on the radio and we've read books
that relate to gardening specifically in North Texas.
We use local information to help us choose plants.

Sorry but Pinterest might not be your best source to help you choose plants.
Although it's great for inspiration.

Henry Duelberg Salvia

There really is more to gardening than these things but these are good pieces of advice to start with.
When we started gardening 26 years ago, we tried to copy pictures out of BHG, we bought plants at any ol' store, we disregarded information provided just because we liked certain plants, etc.

You know what happens?
You learn as you go along but you waste a lot of money and plants.

Since we moved to this house almost two years ago, we've planted our major flower beds with various shrubs and perennials. We are seeing the results of our hard work and money well spent.

It's beautiful out there already and we are enjoying it!


Have you learned a lot about gardening for your area?
What have you learned about choosing plants?

EDIT:
This was the first comment left today by my friend Manuela.
You know what, this is the reason I'm not an advice columnist or a how-to girl.
She's right!!

Good advice!OK I don't do any of those thing! I buy what I like and if it lives it lives and if not...oh well. Sometimes plants will surprise you!

Sharing with:
A Return to Loveliness at A Delightsome Life
Coastal Charm Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
The Scoop Linky Party 
Garden Party at Fishtail Cottage


40 comments

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Good advice!OK I don't do any of those thing! I buy what I like and if it lives it lives and if not...oh well. Sometimes plants will surprise you!

Vicki @ lifeinmyemptynest said...

I like to buy plants at the farmers market because I know they are local and are perfect for the climate :-)

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

The flowers you chose are beautiful and your pup is a cutie!!

Ceekay-THINKIN of HOME said...

I pretty much do this...however, sometimes even a native plant doesn't do well in one spot, but better in another....live and learn I guess!!

A Pocketful of Blue said...

I think these are great tips, Stacey. We need to buy more plants this year so I will keep these things in mind. Sometimes we can find shrubs and perennials on sale in late summer/fall and we have had good luck planting them at that time of the year as well.

NanaDiana said...

LOL, Stacey, at Manuela's comment. THAT is funny. I try to pick plants that I know will do well in our area and take the elements where we live. I think I lost all my roses this year though. xo Diana

Lisa said...

Good advice, Stacey and Manuela. Just like decorating if you love it you make it work.LOL!

Something Nice and Pretty said...

I'm sort of like Manuela, if it lives it lives and it was meant to be! Both my parents had a green thumb well, it sure past me over!
Have a great rest of the week!

Rondell

Kathleen Grace said...

I have always done the same thing that Manuela does, but I have also often been disappointed with the plants. When they don't do what I want the to out they go! Your advice is sound, and since I'm really, really tired of wasting time and money and being disappointed, maybe it's time to try gardening your way? ;>)

Mary G said...

Hi, There!

I just found your blog a couple of weeks ago and I'm really enjoying it. We, too, love to garden and have learned by trial and error.
We live about 10 minutes from your location, so whatever you have growing in your yard, will work for us too!
Thanks for the gardening tips; they're great!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

That's a good comment. We ask our neighbors about the flowers we like in their flower bed. A lot of people have knock out roses here and I'd like to plant them at our bedroom window. We pretty much stick with what works well in our area...we have to! lol It gets HOT here, too! Hugs, Diane

Jen Ham said...

We are in a terrible drought as well. I love your advice. I am rather new to gardening, so I am a sponge soaking up everything you wrote! Thanks! xoxo Jen

Cozy Little House said...

I do a little of both.
Brenda

Kim M said...

I am not a great gardener, I leave most of it to my husband. He's developed quite a green thumb! I do agree that planting natives are a good way to go...I just wish it would get warm enough to start!

Linda said...

Good advice! That's pretty much the way we do it too!! Texas summers are brutal!

Fairhope Supply Co. said...

Considering the water is something I had to learn the hard way! Carrying bucket after bucket one summer made me wise up to where I plant certain things.
Great post.

Beth Laverty said...

Gardening can bring such pleasure. But it is definitely a learning process! I enjoyed reading your insights.

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

Very good advice :) I know that I learn from trial and error. And also go by preference. For intance, I only have so much room for flowers..so do I plant a canna lily in that space this year or sunflowers like I did last year? Both do well but the goldfinches love the sunflowers so I'll probably stick with them from now on. THAT pretty hanging basket flower dropped petals all over the porch all summer / THIS one did not..and so on :)

Penny @ The Comforts of Home said...

Your garden looks lovely and your advice is great.

April said...

I plant a lot of perennials so that I don't have to replace them from year-to-year. I love Knockout roses...yours are beautiful!

Art and Sand said...

I needed you when I first planted my garden. I have made the mistakes, but learned from them. I am focusing on drought resistant plants.

Lisa @ Fern Creek Cottage said...

I so agree with you! I am planning on choosing my plants very carefully for our new home! It fusterates me that the big box nurseries carry plants that don't do well in our area and a lot of people buy them not knowing any better.

Blondie's Journal said...

These are great tips! Your neighbors probably ask for advice because you obviously know what your doing!

The biggest lesson I learned was to prepare your soil. It's really tough to go back later and do that right.

Looking forward to getting some flowers myself. And praying what I planted last year comes up soon!

XO,
Jane

Lisa @ Texas Decor said...

This is great advice, Stacey! I have a gardening book for our area of Texas too and I refer back to it constantly. I try to pay attention to what zone a plant will do well in. We get SO hot here that it's hard to find things that will tolerate our summer heat. But having said all that, I'm the queen of not leaving enough room between new plants. I'm always buying too many to "fill the empty spots." Then as they grow, they become very cramped. Oh well. Oh...it also helps to have a mom who is a Master Gardener. ;)

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Ha! That Manuela ~ such a rebel! : ) I try to buy what works for the zone and keep in mind heat and full sun since that is what I have a lot of here in Ohio. The only thing I bought and crossed my fingers on was hydrangeas since I was determined to have some here. So far, so good. I just have to make sure I water them if we don't have rain and it is very hot and humid.

Angela Ryder said...

Great advice! When we first moved to Texas we didn't have a clue what we were doing but finally after 10 years in our home, I think we're figuring it out!!! Your yard is beautiful!~~Angela

Sheila said...

Good post. When I was younger gardening didn't interest me but now I have taken a real liking to it. However, I'm not very good at it yet. One thing I would say you have to consider regardless of what type of plant you buy is your soil. If it stinks like ours does here in central Missouri it has to be amended for ANYTHING to grow. Well except for weeds, they grow fine! hahaha

Debra Howard said...

Great advice! I have to be really careful down here in Texas because even full sun things need a bit of shade in Texas sometimes! Some plants need to be next to the water faucet too lol.

BeachGypsy said...

Oh I love the peace rose!! The colors are GORGEOUS!!

Jann Olson said...

Great advice Stacey. I hear you about buying plants for your area. I've learned that if it says 'tender perennial' more than likely it's not coming back here. I stick by good old faithfuls, but now and then just gotta try something new. May only have it for a season; but so worth it. I shop bargains and always check out the clearance. Have found some great deals. I have lots of friends and neighbors ask me for advice also. I always say, "I'm not an educated gardener, just do what I picked up from my mom and dad."
Going to plant my seeds today. Thanks again for sending them to me!
hugs,
Jann

Andrea at Opulent Cottage said...

Sage advice, my friend! Manuela's comment makes me laugh too. I'm not doing much of anything this year due to this drought. And since we have NO sun, I can't really plant any of the same pretty things that you have. Here's my advice: go visit your nearby blog friend who has a gorgeous garden! Heehee

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

Your garden is doing beautifully! xoxo I love the photo of your dog!

At Rivercrest Cottage said...

Wow. such beautiful flowers and garden. Makes me want to plant something!

Just a little something from Judy said...

You choose them, your tend them lovingly, you share pictures of them as they grow, and when they are in full bloom. I come, I enjoy, I dream of doing the same, and I admire your green thumb more than ever, no matter what you chose to grow!!! From one of your fan club:)

Julie S. said...

Good advice, Stacey! I have killed more than my share of plants here. I think N. Texas is the hardest place to garden -- especially these last few years. Being from Minnesota, I wanted to have the lush gardens of the north here -- obviously big mistake!! The other piece of advice I would add for our area is good irrigation. I lost quite a few to dry spots in the irrigation system . We just added drip irrigation to all of our beds and I'm hoping it will make a difference!

Fishtail Cottage said...

All great points you make in this post... love that you shared this post over here at this weeks Fishtail Cottage's garden party! Looks like you'll have a lot of to share over this years garden season - love your landscape! xoxo

Kathy A Delightsome Life said...

Great advice - there are a number of plants I just can't grow here in the south that I enjoyed in the midwest! Loving what does work here though :)
I do appreciate you sharing with A Return to Loveliness,
Kathy

Kathy A Delightsome Life said...

Great advice - there are a number of plants I just can't grow here in the south that I enjoyed in the midwest! Loving what does work here though :)
I do appreciate you sharing with A Return to Loveliness,
Kathy

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Elizabeth N said...

Great advice! I love gardening. Knowing your climate is so important.