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Any gardeners out there?(9 posts)

Any gardeners out there?Kristin
Apr 4, 2003 11:47 AM
I know its possible to container grow annuals for patios in Chicago. (I'm talking about plants you keep for years.) I've seen it done before, and I'd like to start growing some myself. Currently I've got spring bulbs coming up in planters, but this has been a sketchy venture. I didn't get them in until March and some of the bulbs had begun to mold, and I only get difused afternoon light. So no bulbs next year. I'm looking for 2 things.

1. A good nursery where I can mail/online order wide variety of potted flowers. I don't really have the space/climate to start seeds, and Chicagoland nursuries carry limited varieties/colors.

2. The best plant/flower encylopedia. One that will allow me to look up plants by type/conditions/use, etc... Really I'm looking for the end-all, be-all book for individual plant info.
annual=plant yearly. perennial=grows back yearly. nmJS Haiku Shop
Apr 4, 2003 12:10 PM
LOL. I need a lot of help!!Kristin
Apr 4, 2003 12:23 PM
That was a typo, I'm always getting the two terms confused. Thanks for the clarification.
My perennials seem to grow like annuals (nm)Captain Morgan
Apr 4, 2003 12:50 PM
Landscape Architect here...Brooks
Apr 4, 2003 2:46 PM
and avid gardener. Unfortunately my climate is pretty difficult (USDA zone 3-4) and has a limited palette of plants. Perennials are good choices for a wide variety of climates. Chicago is about a zone 5 (minimum temps of -10 to -20 F. This is important to keep in mind when looking at catalogs.

Spring flowering bulbs are great but get them in the ground in the fall!

Okay, to your specific questions:
1. Lots of good mail order/internet nurseries. My favorites are: White Flower Farm (pricey but excellent quality) and Van Bourgondien (lots of bulbs and perennials) and Spring Hill (good selection and price).

2. For the western US I would suggest the Sunset Western Garden Book, for the Southeast US, Southern Living has a book. I don't know about the Midwest, although either of these resources (and others) would talk about the plant zones. There are also some internet plant search sites. I think that Ohio State has one that you can enter various data and get a list of plants that meet your criteria.

If you have any specific questions about plants, email me at

Have fun!
My spring bulbsKristin
Apr 4, 2003 3:21 PM
I have a 2nd floor patio, so planting things in the "ground" is kinda difficult. All my gardening will be of the container variety. My bulbs (tulips, hyasynth & daffodils) wintered in the crisper with a dish towel covering them. Our freeze lasted a little toooooo long this year and they weren't planted until March--I'd hoped to have them in by mid-Feb. If I do bulbs again, I'll plant them in the containers in the fall and store them in a friends garage.

Thanks for the links.
a cannibis shrub should do well for you (nm)Starliner
Apr 4, 2003 4:48 PM
Well...Spoke Wrench
Apr 5, 2003 4:12 PM
If it was my patio (and it's not), I'd rethink the perennial requirement. Most perennials only blossom for a couple of weeks a year. Many annuals, on the other hand, will continue to flower all summer. About this time of year, I kind of like thinking about what kinds and colors of flowers I'm going to put into the flower bed in front of my condo.
Many years experience and many lessons learned the hard wayKeeponTrekkin
Apr 6, 2003 8:18 PM
It's very hard to succeed with perrenials in pots as pots are much more exposed to weather effects (primarily temperature) than in-ground plants. Also, perrenials generally have a short flowering period.

Most small space owners want a little more pizzazz as annuals usually provide. They are also a cheaper, flower more profusely and for longer and grow faster. Usually better choices for pot (container, I mean) gardners.