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How can I find out what flowers and plants grow good in my area?

This is our first spring in our new house and I want to take up gardening as a hobby. However, I'm new to the idea and to the area and really don't know what to plant. I'm not interested in vegetables, just plants and flowers for landscaping. Is there an online website that you know of where I can put in my location and it tells me what does well in my region? I already know about the Arbor Day Site program but it just mostly tells trees.

Details:

  1. http://www.gardenweb.com/ They have become very annoying commercial with to many pop ups but its the best place on the net for garden advice that I know of.
  2. Many areas have Master Gardener groups. You can also check at local Nurseries and landscape businesses. A call to your local Chamber of Commerce can be of help here.
  3. Your area must have a county extension agent in the county town. Call them and ask to speak to a person with the garden/veggies/flower skills.
  4. You can call or go to a local landscape company , better to go there, and ask a competant person working there, you can also probably find answers by google, you have a few options I am sure.
  5. Go with "thisbrit". The extension agent should be in your local phone book or contact your state-grant university for the number. This is a tremendous source of information regarding what to, how to, and problems in your garden and it is free. Stay away from any of the big chain stores for advice. If the person giving the advice isn't in business for themselves it speaks volumes of their ability. Local Nurseries which cater predominately to Landscapers are great, however, they generally do not allow you to shop, browse, purchase unless you are on their list of customers. As an aside, the county extension agent can show you how to take and analyize a soil sample for your garden. It is cheap and thorough in it's recommendations. Start smart and Good Luck.
  6. Wayside gardens type in you zip code and then go to the search button and type in your zone for perrenials it is a great site with lots of plants and information good Luck!
  7. Go for a walk around the area you live in and take note of the plants that are growing in your neighbors gardens, if it grows there then you can surely grow them in your garden. If you don't know the name of the plants you see, I'm sure your neighbors would be more than happy to let you know and if they don't know ask if you can have a leaf or a cutting and take it to the nearest nursery for an identification. That's what I would do.
  8. Try hgtv.com, they have all the gardening shows on video & show plans, plants for your zone & care instructions. bhg.com is another good site.
  9. You can try this website from Homedepot: http://plant-guide.com/HomeDepotForm.asp Type your zone in there and choose category (ex: annual, perennial, bulbs, etc). I think you will like it.