In-experienced gardener needs help


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Let me start out by saying that I know precious little about gardening. That being said, I am an intern for a non-profit organization that would like to set up a series of potted plants in an empty playground pit we have behind our building.

The goal is that the plants will provide some greenery to the barren landscape, since we frequently host events in our backyard. They will be around a few picnic tables. We're hoping by adding some greenery potential donors will be more impressed, but we do not have much time or money to spend.

We are in Austin, Tx, and are hoping for plants that do well all year long with our seasons.

Because they are in a sand pit, they have to be plants that can stay potted.

I would really appreciate any advice anyone can give! Feel free to make as many suggestions as you would like!
 
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Sounds like you want plants that will pretty much take care of themselves. Succulents might be a good choice, since they need only infrequent watering. I'm not familiar with the climate of Austin - I imagine it gets pretty hot in the summer, does it get cold in the winter? How much rain and/or snow does it get?
 
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Do I assume when you say potted you mean they will be re-potted into ornimental type pots or literally stay in the pots they were bought in? As in all things it all comes down to finance. Orinimental pots come in all shape sizes and colours, can be moved about to suit the occassion and planted with evergreens, "box" comes to mind which can be trained and trimmed into different shapes, flowering shrubs, and in summer time a vast array of "bedding" plants. The options are endless and you'll probably find some of the staff will want to get involved.
 
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If you go to the home improvement stores, like Lowes, and explain that you are from a non-profit, and want some plants for your playground, they may have some that they will donate to you, so you don't have to buy all the plants, and even some of the containers.
Home Depot doesn't usually mark their plants down, but Lowes almost always has some plants on close out, that you can get really cheaply. I love Lowes !

Another possibility for you is to ask some of the other volunteers if they have potted plants at home. Some may have plants to donate to the project, and even if they don't want to give the plants away, people could bring in plants for the playground when you have an event out there, and then take them back home afterwards.
 
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The Walmart garden center marks down plants from time to time.
I think a plant that looks pretty good potted and makes a good decoration is a parlor palm. Areca palms and peace lilies look good in pots too.
Palms do pretty well in hot weather.
 
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Succulents are a great choice and some hardy grasses to separate them would really look good, especially for adding some extra greenery. For colour I highly recommend marigolds. They're small, compact, inexpensive, beautiful annuals that do very,very well i n full sun/heat. Their origins are from Mexico, so they are accustomed to desert (or near-desert conditions). They need only little watering and will tolerate most conditions. Not to mention the flower is packed full of colour !
 

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Hi there, I found this link (it's a PDF) from the Austin Government site. It talks about the plants that grow best in your area. Use it as a starting point in your quest. Enjoy!
 

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