Flowers? Trees? Gardens?

Updated on September 13, 2011
K.K. asks from Traverse City, MI
6 answers

I'm moving into a rental house out of an apartment. my apartment never had any direct sunlight that would come in, so I couldn't keep a houseplant alive to save my life. There was also no yard, so I could never have a garden. I would put petunias in pots all over the porch's though and had great luck with those.
The house I'm moving into has a very large area for a garden in the back yard. I would love to be able to grow sweet corn, tomatoes, peas, green beans, cucumbers, watermelon and pumpkins. how?!?! haha I've never done it before so give me some advice and when and what and how.
There are also fruit trees on the property. apple, peach, cherry and pear. what in the world do I do with those?! My kids LOVE all that fruit, so if anyone knows how to care for the tree and what I should do please let me know!
there are also wonderful areas around the house for flower beds. i always did the petunias, just because they lasted and were easy...but they are a "do it every year" flower.. I'd love to be able to plant things that come up on their own and try to have some kind of flowers all the I setting myself up for failure?! lol or can this be done easily with the help from some of you "green thumb mama's" out there?!?
any advice would be greatly appreciated! oh...and house plants too! what works? what's easy?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers


answers from San Francisco on

My suggestion is to reach out to the local Master Gardeners group. This is a group of volunteers who have been trained via your local state university, and can give you advice that is specific to your area (i.e. what types of plants a beginning gardener can grow, when to plant them, what types of bugs and plant diseases to watch out for in your local area). Often times, they will give lectures on various subjects, and all of their lectures are research-based (in other words, the advice they will give you is proven scientifically, and not just urban myth :). Most of all, Master Gardeners LOVE to talk about gardening! They are a fantastic resource!

In the most general terms, my theory of gardening is that I like flowers, so I plant things that flower. You may like shrubs that are just a pretty green, or maybe you like interesting foliage... the sky is the limit and it just depends what you like! Ask around and find a *good* local nursery (not Home Depot). Before you go and buy a ton of stuff, do your research. Find out what kind of soil your new house has (clay soil will be very hard to dig up, and retains a lot of water, sandy soil is very easy to dig in, and water drains immediately from it). You'll save yourself a lot of grief knowing that, and knowing what parts of the yard get full afternoon sun, vs morning sun, vs all day shade, etc. Some plants like lots of sun, some don't. Some plants love clay soil, some (like roses) hate it. Research first, buy later. The other thing I can suggest is, know how big the plants will get that you're wanting to plant. For instance, you might buy a lavender plant that is in a little tiny pot - depending upon the variety, lavender can get really big! So think about that before planting it right next to something else - make sure you allow room for it to reach its eventual size.

I know that doesn't even scratch the surface, but gardening is a pretty vast subject, and I know that what I'm planting right now is going to be very different from what you will have success with where you live. Go talk to the Master Gardeners! They will help you! Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I love gardening and it can be a lot of fun. I started with one flower bed last year. I put in some perannuals and mixed them with some annuals for added color. I put some herbs in for ground cover (oregano and thyme work well for that). I also added some lilies and ornamental grasses that are bit taller.

This year I added a vegetable garden. I planted tomatoes, zuchini, pumpkin, watermelons, cucumbers and peppers. In addition I have tons of herbs, like basil, sage, mint, parsley, chives and rosemary. The sage, mint, parsley, chives, oregano and thyme grow back each year, which means you have to find a good spot for them. The tomatoes grow very tall, so you will need some sort of a support system for them, because they get really messy otherwise. The zuchini, pumpkins and watermelons need a lot of space, so make sure you don't put too much in.

I cook with fresh herbs pretty much every day all summer long. I also was able to use my tomatoes and veggies to make tomato sauce which I store in the freezer.

I just started out two years ago and there is a lot of learning involved. But you just gotta start somewhere and experience will follow.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

for flowers, go to they have every type of flower possible, and tell you where & how to plant them, the favorite soil, watering, shade or sun, etc. and they are really good if you have a problem with your plants about replacing them (I think it's a 1 year warranty). I love any of the painted daisies...pretty & colorful and easy to take care of.

for the vegetable garden, sounds like a huge one! cucumbers, watermelon & pumpkins are all vine plants and they take up alot of space. Corn has to be planted in at least a couple of rows (been awhile, so not sure how many), but it has something to do with the cross-pollination.
good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

I would recommend getting yourself a couple of good books. Remember that once you plant all of this it needs to be watered, weeded, pruned, etc. on a regular basis (once a week probably won't do it unless you plan very carefully) or all of your hard work will go to waste. Usually fruit trees need to be sprayed as soon as the fruit starts to form or it will all be yucky. Go see a good garden center about that. Do you have deer? If you have good fencing to keep the deer out, then you only need to worry about weeds, bugs, and disease. If deer can get in your yard, they are really hard to deal with. Good Luck! You may want to start small unless you are really ambitious.



answers from Houston on

That's alot of advice you need. I suggest visiting a nearby nursery or garden center and get your questions answered.

I had an almost 50 yr old huge apple tree when I lived in NJ in my backyard and I hated it. The apples were great to gather, pick and eat, but if you don't pick the ripe apples every day, you end up w/alot of rottin apples at the end of the week and we would get this lingering fermented aroma.



answers from Detroit on

this is the time of year to plant many perennials. Mich. State U. Extension Service has wonderful help on gardening and I think every county has an extension.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions