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Winter Flower Options?

 
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I'm looking for some winter flower options. I want to start simple at first, growing some in a few hanging baskets  off my deck, then ease into planting around the property and maybe down on my dock. Ideally they would not need to be replanted each year (perennial). If possible, I would really like to have a mix in each basket: flowers that bloom in summer and then flowers that bloom in winter.  

These would be exposed to periodic heavy winds and rain, though the baskets would be self draining.  

In the future, as I expand, I would also like to put flowers around the perimeter of my garden flat area, but this section of my property is in a flood zone for 1-4 months out of the year (typically 1-4 feet of water) so anything planted here would need to be able to handle it.  

Any ideas would be great.

Isaac
 
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I love the idea of year around color. Camellias are a winter blooming shrub that comes to mind, although I don't know how well they take to containers or flooding.

Isaac, what growing zone are you in? Knowing that would help with suggestions for your area.
 
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Camellias came to my mind too. But I'm also wondering if a small pansy, like Johnny Jump Up, might also work? I often see them in winter/early Spring. But knowing what zone you're in would be very helpful.
 
Isaac Hunter
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I was planning to include this when I first wrote the post but forgot. My Zone is 9A. I'm about 2-3 miles from the Pacific Ocean. My property is on a lake with 20+ foot variation in water levels depending on the season. There is a lot of moisture in the air in winter and condensation is a problem on just about everything. Tarps seems to get wetter on the inside than they do on the outside even when it rains.

I have a small area on my front porch that is a covered entrance area to my workshop that I would like to turn into a flower garden area. It is a deck about 4 foot off the ground and the water does come up to this spot during high water (so planting in the ground would require flood hardy selections). I would really like to focus on hanging flowers, vines like Ivy, and then under the cover (the area is about 4ft x 14ft). a selection of different blooming flower plants potted in some way.

Despite this area being covered with a roof, it will still get a lot of rain as the rain here often flows horizontally rather than vertically because of the wind. Also the area is facing north and in winter there is little to no direct sunlight. Temps on my property are also about 10 degrees colder than other spots on the lake, and will often have frost or ice in mid day even though the sun is shining on the opposite side of the lake.

I would like to have a mixture of winter blooming and summer blooming plants in this area so there is year around color and activity. I'm thinking of planting ivy at the front of the deck and letting it grow wild on the structure, but I'm not certain it will take the seasonal flooding at the roots.

Isaac
 
Stacie Kim
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I spent much of my childhood in the Monterey, CA area. Ice plant grew wild there. Do you think it would grow well in baskets? I don't remember if it bloomed during winter. Just thinking out loud...

Edited to add that I just thought of strawberries. Would they do well there? They're not "flowers" per se, but they do have a happy blossom, and you'll get a bit of fruit as well.
 
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I'm in 9B and get a lot of airborne moisture (your description sounds like my house, except for the flooding) and geraniums of all kinds grow and bloom year round here (in containers, or in soil that can drain well. they don't like to be wet).
i've had zinnias go really late too but they seem to be very vulnerable to moist air and disease, might be worth a try.
 
Isaac Hunter
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Thanks for the tips. I will check them out.
 
Isaac Hunter
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Stacie Kim wrote:I just thought of strawberries. Would they do well there? They're not "flowers" per se, but they do have a happy blossom, and you'll get a bit of fruit as well.



I would LOVE to do strawberries but they do not grow well here at all. First problem is there is no heat to speak of. Even in August there is only a few days that get over 80 and the valley is so hot then that it pulls strong winds off the ocean and kills any heat we have (I'm not complaining. I don't like the heat).

I'm thinking of trying strawberries in the floating greenhouse, but I'm not certain. Plus, I think the amount of fruit it could produce vs the store bought simply wouldn't justify the effort. The same is true for potatoes and peppers, etc. Fish, on the other hand, are so much better tasting from the lake (and free off my dock) that it's more cost effective to sit with a pole in my hand for a few hours every day. ;-)

At this point I'm leaning toward starting some ivy and let it overtake the structure, then put in some hanging baskets w/ an assortment of flowers, with some rail planters and then potted flowers along the edge of the wall under the cover. I can put a chair in the corner where I can sit in the mornings and evenings and enjoy the colors plus also look out at the lake and mountains.  

Isaac
 
Stacie Kim
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Isaac Hunter wrote:

Fish, on the other hand, are so much better tasting from the lake (and free off my dock) that it's more cost effective to sit with a pole in my hand for a few hours every day. ;-)

At this point I'm leaning toward starting some ivy and let it overtake the structure, then put in some hanging baskets w/ an assortment of flowers, with some rail planters and then potted flowers along the edge of the wall under the cover. I can put a chair in the corner where I can sit in the mornings and evenings and enjoy the colors plus also look out at the lake and mountains.  

Isaac



That sounds like heaven!
 
Tereza Okava
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So I just came back from running errands and tried to identify what was blooming-- we had a hard frost a week ago, so anything that's still going is a trooper. Keep in mind I'm a food gardener and know nothing about flowers-- it may be that these things bloom all year round and I just never noticed.
I saw a number of azaleas in bloom (leaves dont drop here), common snapdragons (various colors), daisies (anything chrysanthemumish was doing well),!), a few daisy types like gerbers and a daisy type flower with purple centers (don't know the name).The latter I've had and they last a while, i know the snapdragons and pansies don't last long.
I also saw roses blooming- it seems to be an amazing year for roses everywhere. I grow all mine in containers, including some dwarf ones, and they're spectacular to have.
 
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Marshmallows!!! There my favorite plant this year! They like to have wet bottoms and they do well in partial shade, hey do bloom in summer but im zone 5 so id be surprised if they bloomed in winter for me. They come back every year and best yet the seem to thrive off of neglect. I don't think they would do well in hanging planters but a good 10 gallon pot would do well for them Id guess. Otherwise  Swamp sunflowers might do well in your area. there not white but they like the soggy soil and I haven't been able to kill any of them, easy to propagate they bloom late summer into fall and a bit of winter, perennial . Otherwise maybe a hardy variety of hibiscus? Also very pretty and surprisingly tough but blooms in summer also a perennial. Id trade my flowers for a good fishing spot on my property happily so I'm still jealous despite your harsh flower conditions!  Love the ivy idea, My partner wont let me put any vines up the house, something about them tearing down the house
 
Isaac Hunter
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Tereza Okava wrote:
I saw a number of azaleas in bloom (leaves dont drop here), common snapdragons (various colors), daisies (anything chrysanthemumish was doing well),!), a few daisy types like gerbers and a daisy type flower with purple centers (don't know the name).The latter I've had and they last a while, i know the snapdragons and pansies don't last long.



I have wild rhododendrons up on the east ridge on the edge of my property. This stuff grows wild and plentiful in the right conditions. It does not transplant well at all. I love Azaleas. Haven't tried them. I wonder how well they do with seasonal flooding. Would love to put some of those in between the trees down on the flat and even add some as privacy screens along the edge of the woods.  

Isaac
 
Isaac Hunter
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Sam Potter wrote:
Swamp sunflowers might do well in your area. there not white but they like the soggy soil and I haven't been able to kill any of them, easy to propagate they bloom late summer into fall and a bit of winter, perennial . Otherwise maybe a hardy variety of hibiscus? Also very pretty and surprisingly tough but blooms in summer also a perennial. Id trade my flowers for a good fishing spot on my property happily so I'm still jealous despite your harsh flower conditions!  Love the ivy idea, My partner wont let me put any vines up the house, something about them tearing down the house



I've heard there are problems with ivy on structures, but I see people still do it. It's good fishing here. I just wish I could finish up with all this construction work so I can make time to actually put a pole in the water!  

I've also looked at bamboo. It would be incredible to have a bamboo forest in the flood zone, replace the tall grass. It's a great building material. But I'm pretty fearful it will take over and I will regret it then can't get rid of it. I especially don't want it taking over the flat behind the retaining wall where I plan to put in a vegetable garden. Maybe a clumping bamboo instead?

Isaac
 
Sam Potter
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Clumping bamboo would be your best bet, get a good timber variety. With the prices of lumber lately we are considering getting some to!
 
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If you mean English ivy, be careful. It too easily becomes a weed. We have it planted on our house walls, and it's spread to the garden. Grows like crazy, even faster after being cut back! It's over two feet deep on the walls in places. Hubby spends a lot of time he'd rather spend doing other stuff just keeping it from covering the windows and lifting roofing!

Pluses are that it insulates the house, provides pollens for beneficial insects in autumn at a time when there's not much else available, and we have loads of birds nesting in it. Also covers the ground and forms dense mats, useful for places you don't want erosion control. But it's impossible to contain once you have it, will weaken earthen houses, and will get behind any sort of sheathing and lift it.

I've sworn never to have a place with English ivy on it again!
 
Isaac Hunter
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That is a really good point to consider on the ivy. But I can use whatever I cut out in the composted and the trees are too far away to be a concern. I'm wondering if it will even survive the winter flooding. I don't have a real roof. Just a tarp on a few frames. A deck is the main structure.

I would like to use it on a latace wall on the upper deck where it will take several years to get a hedge or shrubs high enough. But invasiveness must be considered. At my house in town I brought a truck load of rock in to cover the property thinking it would be less maintenance. Instead now I have horsetail everywhere. There are consequences sometimes.

Isaac
 
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