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Old 04-29-2014, 10:58 AM
Shrooms N Blooms's Avatar
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Planting Suggestions for Gumbo Soil?


I am helping a lady in the country landscape her yard. So far we have gotten everything taken care of except one little area. It's all Gumbo clay and she wants something to grow in it that isn't a raised bed. She wants lots of color. I have tried everything that the local stores had but everything just dies due to lack of nutrition and water. What will grow in this mess that is hardy enough to withstand lots of wind and is colorful? And where can I get these plants?

Thanks
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Old 04-29-2014, 02:52 PM
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Bush
 
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Location: Rivesville, WV Zone 6a
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Hi SnB,
Have you tried any of these?
Hostas
Liatris
Aster
Black Eyed Susan
Yarrow
Baptisia
Coneflower
Cranesbill
Sea Holly
Day Lily
Is it a sunny spot or a shady one?
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Old 04-29-2014, 02:58 PM
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Its a very sunny spot. No shade at all. I have also seen where the rain will actually circle around her place and never leave a drop. Where she is putting the garden, she has an irrigation system however about an hour after she has turn the water off (this is after a 2 hour soak) the ground is all cracked and dried out again. Cedar grows well in it but she has plenty of them already and she wants color.
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Old 04-29-2014, 03:09 PM
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I think Aster, bachelors button, coneflowers, yarrow, butterfly weed, gaillardia ,rudbeckias (different varieties of brown eyed susans) zinnias, cosmos,maybe hollyhock, rose of sharon seems to grow everywhere, forsythia does too. Could even try lilac bushes and mock orange. I've had both I've tried to kill for two years and they just keep on keeping on. Even the annuals would probably self seed for the following year. You'd probably have to keep it watered, but not overly wet no matter what you plant until they establish.

But don't take my word as the gospel, there are folks here much better versed than I.

Also, I didn't ask the first time so I'm not sure she is wanting annuals, perennials, shrubs, or just something pretty.
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Old 04-29-2014, 03:24 PM
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She wants something that will last a very long time (this is Texas so we have no real seasons or winter, always hot) and she wants pretty, or anything that with color that will grow in gumbo. She had a very pretty bridal bush but it died three days after putting it out there, tried some shrubs but no go. She has a few raised bed and they look great butnow she want a garden that isn't a raised bed. I thought of bottle brushes, but she showed me one that she bought last year and the poor thing just looked fossilized. I feel sorry for this lady. I will run the plants you suggested across to her and see what she might like and go from there.
Thank you
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Old 04-29-2014, 03:30 PM
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If she wants a flat bed, have you tried to convince her to at least recondition the soil a bit to make it more amenable to growing something??
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Old 04-29-2014, 03:41 PM
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Yes, we are currently work on reconditioning the soil for the 2nd time sense February. I am trying to be hopeful for her and I know there is an answer for her. Every time get out in the soil we get covered in this grayish black clay and it looks like we just had a bud bath. This stuff does go deep and I think we will have to recondition the soil at least one more time before we put any plants of any kind in there. I don't think I have work with this type of clay before.
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Old 04-29-2014, 03:48 PM
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I know there are some Texas folks here .....hoping one of them will jump in and be able to help you with that kind of soil. We have clay here, but ours is more a orange/brown and I'm not sure the two would be comparable. Good Luck, and let us know how it goes for you!
It is very sweet of you to help a lady like that out, and I always hope that when our time comes for being older and in need of help that there will be someone to be so kind as you.
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Old 04-29-2014, 04:37 PM
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Thanks for your help. I will keep you posted about my sweet little lady's garden.
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Old 04-29-2014, 05:15 PM
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I don't live in TX and our property is mostly swamp so I do not usually encounter this problem. But, with that being said; we do have areas of dry hard clay that dries like cement. I believe that I could make clay pots out of the stuff. I have been trying to get it to be more like growing dirt for a few years now. The best thing that I have used to mix into the soil is crushed leaves and shredded news paper which seems to help retain some of the moisture. Shredded tree bark is also good if you have a chipper or someone strong with a good hammer. Just some northern suggestions. Hens and chicks and flowering cactus may work in the mean time.
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Old 04-30-2014, 05:48 AM
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You could try one of the artificial coy ponds if a water supply is close enough and just plant cattails or water lilies in it. The moisture from the plants and the pond can make it easier to put other plants around it and get them to survive. You don't have to go to great expense for it to turn into a great effect. Friends of my used a kiddie pool buried even with the ground and rocks, mulch around the outside of the pool after they had put drought tolerate plant there along the outside edge. I know this sounds funny cause of the spot being so dry.I deal with herd packed and cracked clay a good bit here and I've seen this work. So maybe this will help
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Old 04-30-2014, 06:40 AM
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Thanks everyone for the advice. I will pass it along to her and see what she thinks.
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Old 04-30-2014, 07:45 AM
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Response to Clay soil


There are a few plants that not only tolerate clay like that but many will also break up and improve it's texture Rugged Native plants have the constitution to hold in clay top rooted plants can get deep enough so that their roots doesn't rot and they break up the texture of the clay on their way down They are Amsonia-Blue Star, Butterfly Weed, Asters, Tickseed, Coneflower, Sea Holly,Swamp Sunflower, False Sunflower, Ox Eye,Daylily, Kansas Gayfeather,Blazing Star Gayfeather, Wild Bee Balm, Drooping Coneflower,Black Eyed susan, Gloriosa Daisy, Prairie Dock, Cup plant, goldenrod, Ironweed, & the Yucca- Adam's Needle does thhis help you in anyway hope you have good luck
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Old 04-30-2014, 07:57 AM
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Thank you so very much, I will pull these plants up online and show her when I show her the other ones tomorrow. Thank you so very much. It's funny that I have really good soil and and sandy soil on my property and she lives less than 15 minutes from me and has this gumbo (hard cracked clay) stuff all over her place except one area and that she planted hay for her horses.


Originally Posted by RaccoonBandit View Post:
There are a few plants that not only tolerate clay like that but many will also break up and improve it's texture Rugged Native plants have the constitution to hold in clay top rooted plants can get deep enough so that their roots doesn't rot and they break up the texture of the clay on their way down They are Amsonia-Blue Star, Butterfly Weed, Asters, Tickseed, Coneflower, Sea Holly,Swamp Sunflower, False Sunflower, Ox Eye,Daylily, Kansas Gayfeather,Blazing Star Gayfeather, Wild Bee Balm, Drooping Coneflower,Black Eyed susan, Gloriosa Daisy, Prairie Dock, Cup plant, goldenrod, Ironweed, & the Yucca- Adam's Needle does thhis help you in anyway hope you have good luck
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:02 AM
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Glad to be of help here in Missouri our soil on one side of the state so far down is black soil and then about the middle it turns to clay
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