For the Best Gardeners in the Cardiff Area

   Sep 27

Your Questions About Gardening

Richard asks…


So my mom & I want to start gardening this year..well she always used to and does know a lot about it.but i want to know some things for myself too.
like when is the best time to start planting flowers..even ones to come up in the spring if i were to just plant them this coming spring? is that even possible.
and we were going to do vegatalbes and things too. whens the best time to plant those

any ideas on what sorts of flowers or foods to plant this year..
i want flowers that come back every year too.

for foods we planned on ..
green beans
peas maybe
Oh and huge pumpkins for fall!!!

anything you would suggest..i know im forgetting some things!

GardenersCardiff answers:

I like what Cat said, but would like to add a few things.

First, flowers that grow from bulbs: I never thought much about bulbs, but my stepmom just LOVES them, and has them planted so that once they start blooming in the spring, there’s an ongoing and dynamic display in the flowerbeds! Crocus’ are the first to peek through the snow, so when we see them, we know we’re past winter! There are lots of different bulbs, and some will do better in various parts of the country than others. (We’re in Texas, so we have to make sure our bulbs are out pleny early or we miss the cool weather bloomers.) You can plant them so you get a variety blooming simultaneously, with shorter plants in front and taller in the back. There are also a lot of bulb plants you can put out for color and foliage, like caladiums and elephant ears.

Perennials are great, but don’t shy away from annuals or biennials!! I’ve let many of my annuals “go to seed” in the garden, and then just let them come back the next year. This doesn’t always work exactly like I want it to, but I usually end up with plenty of the flowers from the previous year.

And don’t forget edible flowers!!! I can’t remember them all now, but there ARE flowers you can actually eat! My favorite are nasturtiums–both flowers and leaves are are edible, and have a bit of a “peppery” taste. They can really dress up a summer salad, in more ways than one! And they prefer soil that isn’t very good, although I’ve heard others say their nasturtiums grow in rich soil I haven’t had luck with that. I can’t remember right now all the flowers that you can eat, but there are quite a few. Start with nasturtiums, and you can expand from there.

When you plant vegetables, plant lots of marigolds with them!! I don’t know for sure if they drive the bugs (bad ones, that is) off, or if they attract them away from the vegetables, but wherever I’ve seen or planted marigolds with vegetables, I’ve seen and/or had very few but problems. And if you grow tomatoes and hot peppers, make sure they’re not close to each other! We planted them side by side one year, and ended up with tomatoes that burned like the peppers! (Trust me, I was NOT expecting that when I popped those cherry tomatoes into my mouth!)

We’re planning on growing pumpkins ourselves this year, because my boys want to grow their own jack-o-lanterns. I know they take a lot of room, and you’ll need to make sure they stay well watered so the skins don’t split.

Something else to consider is container gardening. One thing I did a couple years ago was planting kitchen herbs (basil, chives, thyme, rosemary, etc.) in a strawberry pot. That’s a pot that has little “pockets” on the sides, and most people use them to grow strawberries, but I really enjoyed my “kitchen herb garden”! Unfortunately, I didn’t have anywhere inside that got enough light when I brought it in for the winter, but you might!

Like Cat said, your local garden center or nursery can help you know when to plant in your area, and a lot of seed packets have a zone map on the back to help you out. Also, you can start some seeds indoors before the last freeze of the season in your area.

Good luck and happy gardening!!

Robert asks…

Zone 3 gardening ideas?

Not sure I’ll get many responses here, but I figure it doesn’t hurt to ask :)

I’m very new to gardening (as in, have never had one before…)

I have a very nice garden space in my yard that I’ve just let go as I had no idea what to do with it.

Does anyone have any ideas of plants that might be good for me?
I’m in hardiness Zone 3 (Winnipeg, Canada)
The garden faces north – partial shade.
I’d prefer something low maintenance, but I’m open to anything really.
I’m not sure what the soil type is. (How do I find that out?)

And whether you have some ideas for me or not, are there some helpful sites you can recommend for a beginner? Anything is appreciated – thanks!

GardenersCardiff answers:


Quite a bit of gardening up there. While lilacs and the like will work, I like the more unusual shrubs like snowberries, maybe a Redoisier Dogwood shrub for great winter bark color. Currants are good, not only golden current but also wax currant. I like things the birds will come in a nibble.

Lots of perennials but you might have to give them a little extra mulch over winter. That’s why it is best to find the family owned nurseries, not the big box store nurseries, as you’ll get far better gardening advice.

David asks…

Winter container garden options zone 5b or colder?

I live in Brooklyn and recently started a roof garden.

Current plants will die or move inside as the weather changes, but I want to keep things growing up there, so I need to find plants that can survive being grown in containers in full sun through the fall and as long into winter as possible.

Internet tells me NYC is zone 6b and to go colder for containers. Suggestions found are mostly trees, not practical here. I’m guessing ornamental cabbage and ivy, but is there anything more interesting or colorful I could plant that might survive?

GardenersCardiff answers:

Leucanthemum ‘Highland White Dream’ PPAF Summer to Early Fall blooms

Paeonia lactiflora x lemoinei ‘Yellow Crown’ Spring to Summer blooms

Aster ‘October Skies’ — Mid fall blooms

Here are a few plant options, the hardest thing with container plants is to remember to water regularly.

You can find these plants on the Wayside Gardens Web site.

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