Reply Fri 8 Oct, 2004 04:55 pm
Would you please share your favorite resources for building and planting gardens?

I'm a novice with time on my hands, a little money, a good imagination and a big DIY attitude.

I need information on choosing plants, building materials (patio, path and planting boxes) and basic landscape design.

Sorting through all of the irrelevent internet hits and being bewildered by the gardening magazines has left me in a daze. Where does one find good, practical DIY information?

I have a pretty big yard and while I'm not aiming for a showplace, I would like a cool, eclectic yard.

I have built one raised bed so far (see my thread called "The 68 Word Story" for a description), I have dug up a curvy "patio" area running along the back side of the house (what do I fill it with?) with a trench for boarder planting (plants!?) , and I've started digging a path (again with the filler stuff) to the back corner of the yard where I'm thinking of making a little cook-out area (surface?). I also have an idea for a carved, jig-sawed, type wooden "screen" to section off one area of the yard (what kind of wood panel to use, what to seal it with?).

I have no doubt that I can create the structures but I'm really at a loss as to what makes the best building materials.

As for plants, I mostly have a brown thumb, but I live in Oregon so its a little greener than it would be otherwise.

Help a girl out.

Share your best resources!

Thank you.
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Reply Sun 10 Oct, 2004 08:37 am
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Reply Sun 10 Oct, 2004 03:03 pm
Keep an eye out for flower shows and garden tours next year. You'll get ideas for what you like and what you don't like.

Meanwhile, come the dark of winter--the slow season--find a nursery or garden center and pick their brains. Many of them will help you develop landscaping plans for free if you buy your materials from them.

Check out your local library for books on landscaping and gardening.

Is there a Master Gardeners Group in your area? These folks help for free.

Don't forget your local Department of Agriculture. Farmers are a vanishing breed in many areas, so the DoA people help gardeners. Also check out the Agricultural Agent from the local land grant college.

Gardening magazines are full of good ideas.

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Reply Sun 10 Oct, 2004 03:07 pm
I listed some good garden books in the portal and have a lot more to add. They're under Books, Subjects, then they're under Horticulture.

I have a lot to say on this subject, but not right this minute. Back on it later.

Edit to say that if you don't have Sunset Western Gardens plant book, get it, worth every cent. That won't help you so much with design though.

I'll also add that I don't watch HGTV. The few shows I did watch featured poorly designed gardens and made me angry. Ah, well, maybe they've improved in a few years.
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Reply Mon 11 Oct, 2004 09:57 am
Hi eoe, Noddy, and Osso and, thank you.

I've checked out some of the HGTV things since those seem to be the first web sites that pop up under any search. I've seen some good ideas there but many of the ideas seem expensive and they don't offer a lot of comparison of materials.

Those sound like some really good suggestions, Noddy. I'm sure that they would concenrate on regional plants and materials too, suitable for our rainy climate. I'll start poking around to find out what I can find out.

I never even noticed that "Portal" link, Osso. Very cool. Thank you for pointing it out. It looks like there are a lot of great things in there.

I will look for that book at the bookstore right away!

I think I'll plan a little outing to the Japanese gardens here too. Its been a long time since I've been there and I remember it being very beautiful and that their paths had a pretty sound (pea gravel?).

So much to learn.

How nice to not have to hurry.
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Reply Mon 11 Oct, 2004 11:00 am
I still have bookwork to get done before I wander back and think about design while typing. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound so snotty up there when I dissed HGTV. My feelings were more of disappointment in what I saw, rather than as hostile as I sounded.

I hear the Japanese garden in Portland is wonderful..
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Reply Fri 26 Nov, 2004 01:00 pm
Hi Boomerang,

Doing lots of reading at some of the forums that apply to what you are interested in will be helpful. I'll give you some links that might be helpful. Noddy's suggestion on getting some books from the library is great. That's how I started before the computer age. Many have a plant encyclopedia in the back with pics and descriptions. Garden Web has forums on just about anything you can think of and some reading there should be helpful with info on which plants can be invasive, disappointing or great additions. I'm including links to their plant and seed exchanges as you can often get seeds or plants for SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) and can winter sow the seeds this year (there's a link for winter sowing as well). The last link is their main page, but here's some others you should find interesting reading. Do read the general instructions for the forums and the FAQ's at each if there is a link for some helpful info.

If there is a plant exchange in your area from Garden Web consider attending even if you don't have plants to trade. I participate in the Mid-Atlantic one that is held in spring and fall. The only requirement for 'newbies' is to have lots of room in your vehicle to take home lots of extra plants and bring something to eat for all to share. Everyone is friendly and gardeners are generous and love to share.

Oh, and about the gravel you like so much. I don't remember the name of it, but try and get the one that isn't smooth and rounded. It's less likely to migrate out of the path and into the beds. The sharper edges help keep it in place.

I have loads of links for everything from organic recipes for herbicides and pesticides to how to make your own compost and how to divide plants, build whatever your heart desires and growing veggies. So, if you have anything in particular you want to know about once you've collected some info, ask away.

For your projects and the building materials, consider using treated wood if you aren't growing veggies on or in it. It's less expensive and long lasting. Do wear a dust mask when cutting the stuff.

Hope this helps,
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Reply Mon 29 Nov, 2004 10:29 am
Hi Newt!

Welcome to A2K.

Thank you so much for all of the links. I can tell it will take me a bit to work my way through all of that information. That looks like a great forum!

The weather here has finally gone cold so I have time to do research and to learn. I have finished building most of the beds and hope to have a planting list devised by spring.

A plant exchange sounds like a great way to meet people who have experience and knowledge - I will search one out.

I'm sure to have plenty of questions as my garden progresses!
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Reply Mon 29 Nov, 2004 06:10 pm
Hi Boomerang,

You are very welcome and thank you for the warm welcome. I hope I didn't throw too much at you at once. I just realized that you may not know your hardiness zone, though I suspect it's zone 8. Take a look here for that.

I also came across this site yesterday that you may find helpful about growing plants for your zone.

Happy reading!
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Reply Mon 29 Nov, 2004 06:17 pm
I have so many threads to cover, but I want to post here. I have not read all posts.

Before you do anything, plan it all out. You can change things later, but it's important to have a working plan FIRST. Think out the main garden space and chose and plant the "foundation plantings" - the shrubs and trees which the garden revovles around.

I can help with plants more than design and mechanics. I do know that if you're building a garden in a yard, you probably don't need containers for most of it. If you build up earth into beds (they don't even really have to be raised), you can give your yard more shape and perhaps allow for deeper plantings (larger holes = allowance for more mature plants and healthier root systems)
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