What am I getting myself into?


Again I have been gone and I apologize. My garden hasn't been too eventful since it has been infested with mealy bugs, mites, and white flies. It's just so frustrating to go out there and spray and get more bugs the next day or a few days later. It's expensive to keep on buying $9 spray to not really have it be that effective. I'm not sure if I'm doing something wrong or what. Many of my plants are just suffering trying to fight off the bugs. I'm doing my best with spraying and fertilizing to help them but it's not all that effective.

Besides the unhappiness with my little corner I have been doing some landscaping for a few people. One client I am doing a flower bed and most likely fixing up the empty flower beds in the front. I thought I would give a shot and doing some yard maintenance. It's been in the back of my head as a possibility for my future job having my own little business. As always I have run into a little dilemma with said clients before. A tiller was rented to till the flower bed and get the compost and fertilizer all mixed up and the ground nice and ready for plants. This said soil was hard as concrete for the top 4 inches and the tiller just didn't really do much. Also this said tiller was as big as me and dragged me with it so the homeowner was the one operating it as I just watched. I felt horrible and now know to mention that I will only maintain established gardens or plant in bed that are already amended. I have no problem figuring out what needs to be done, but those machines and heavy lifting are things I just can't do. Also on Saturday I over exhirted myself at this clients house and was on the verge of heat exhaustion. I keep on thinking I am stronger and more capable of doing things when I really am not.

The other clients house I am doing they already had a guy from another nursery that is no longer open come over and clean up the beds. The soil is okay but I haven't dug into it yet. Even if is not good I will just amend the holes instead of the whole beds. There is an acre I am doing that have some existing plants but it just needs some fixing up. Like I said I will have to just amend the planting holes as much as I don't like doing that but I just can't do anything else. This client is hard for me because they have part sun/shade and the homeowner wants plants that are low maintenance , colorful, and not annuals and will come back every year and not die. Let me tell you this is a hard task for me. I am still struggling to find some colorful plants for that shade area.

That is what I have been doing. I need to stop slacking on here even though I have really nothing much to share unless I keep quiet for a week or more.


Andrea said...

So just take your time when doing a garden and know that you don't have to plant right away. Leave, go check out some books and come back to it. I'm not sure what works over there, but over here, for shade, sometimes people with Shade have to compromise for leaf colour instead of flower. While there are lots of things that flower, they won't do as a flowery job as the shade sufferer's like to think. And this is where your awesome customer service skills come in:

YOu can plant for shade, for flowering but use those colourful leafy plants to pop out the flowers. For example:
A lime green hosta next to Liguiaria. Accented by a red Heuchera and you have instant, all season colour. Plus, Liguiaria will give you yellow flowers, the hosta will give you white/liliac and the heuchera will do small pink ones. Plus, you have different heights.

Shade is always hard but if you can accomplish shade easily,then full sun gardens will be a snap.

Remember, Im in canada, so what works wel for us may not work as well for you. But where I don't have as many options for hardy plants, you do. (like maybe planting collocasia for leaf colour if it's hardy there).

Try native plants too. They often have a lot of flower for spring time, mid summer and they're not much maintaince at all.

Good luck love.

p.S. Few other shade plants:

Burnnera 'jack frost' -fullshade, spring blooming blue flower. Easy to maintain.

Bergenia - pink spring flowers, red leaf in spring and fall giving a showy colour when garden is awful.

Turtlehead = fall blooming, pink flowers, med height plant

Hosta - anything here. from dark green, varigated to lime coloured.

Heuchera - low moundy plant with pinkish flowers. Different coloured leaves from black, red, yellow, purple. Summer blooming.

AStilbe - for wetter sides of the garden. Dwarf varieties or taller ones, full shade, usually summer blooming. Fanal (is a red) or visions in Pink will be bright flowers.

Hakonechloa - grass, lime green. Adding grasses give you texture and bring out the flowers in plants

Karl Forresster (grass) - works well in shade, four feet tall, very upright and ridged until it blooms. Looks like wheat in the fall and nice for fall show.

Avalache (grass) also does the same as karl, but has a white going through it where as karl is dark green.

Chasmanthium - Northern Sea oats (grass) also gives alot of fall show, leave the dead body for spring and let the green grow through it. The grass will do full shade and it will be showy for the next year if they leave it to bloom and let the green grown through.

Anemone - (wind flower). Airy flowers, pink or white. Fall blooming. 18-24 inches. shade (actually everything im talking about here will do shade).

Pulmonaria - low growing like a hosta. Prolific bloomer in the spring, blue to pink flowers or both, depending on the variety. Very simliar to burnnera.

Just remember when you plant a garden, you want an all season garden. you dont' want everything to bloom at once and then the rest of the year, have everything green.

Hope some of this helps. :)

Lets Plant said...

You are very talented and I have faith in you. You can do it! You do need to remember that is is getting hotter and hotter every year so that water becomes more and more valuable. Maybe a nice shade hat and a mister bottle would be good investments. Good Luck!

Digital Flower Pictures said...


Take a couple of deep breaths.

Getting and keeping the clients and doing the designing is a job unto itself. You can always find someone to do the work. My friends are always saying, "you are so lucky that you own your own business" and " I would love to be out in the garden all day". I just chuckle to my self and think some of them wouldn't last ten minutes out there. It can be rough but it can also be awesome.

The first couple of gardens can be testing. Some people can be difficult to work for but you can learn a lot from them. Just the fact that they hired you probably means they see something in you. Don't let it get you down and just try and do every job the best you can with a good attitude. Don't forget to use your great interpersonal skills that can take you a long way.

Let me know if I can be of any help. I made many mistakes when I started out in the gardening business but am very glad I stuck with it. I encourage you to do the same.

Gale said...

I just discovered scale on my coriopsis (UG) but at least I haven't had the spider mites as bad this year as I have the last several years. I'm thinking either the plants that survived were the more resistant ones (I am growing Morning Glories from the seeds of last years, which were grown from the seeds of the year before, so maybe that had something to do with it). Either that or there is enough residual spray from last year to keep them at bay because I was spraying every week all summer about (after all the ladybugs flew away...not a great idea on a porch but worth it if you have kids. I mean, they do kill the bugs but then they leave and rarely find their way back to a second floor balcony).