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My first plants arrive today!

Greetings, all.

Sorry if this is a duplicate. It didn't seem to work the first time.

I'm just starting my first tank (20 gal), and the plants I ordered should
arrive today (I hope). I got the 24-for-$24 assortment from
aquariumplant.com. It seemed like a good way to go for a clueless
beginner, since all of the plants in my local shops are close to $4 each
and are usually covered in algae or look to be otherwise unhealthy.
Anyway, I hope it was as good of a deal as it sounds. I'm sure I'll end up
losing a few (or more). (The details on the assortment are at
http://www.aquariumplant.com/view.html, if anyone's curious.)

The one big question I have is whether pH is going to give me problems.
My tap water is very hard and alkaline. Haven't measured the hardness,
but judging from the residue that the water leaves on everything it
touches, it's up there. The pH in my tank is around 8.4. I tried filtering
about 10-15% of the aquarium water through peat this past weekend. The pH
of the overall tank dropped somewhat after I reintroduced the filtered
water, but it has since settled back into its comfortable 8.4 groove.
Replacing all the water with something softer isn't an option, as I'm
currently cycling the tank and am nearing the end of the cycle.

Any advice on how to proceed? I'm hoping to have a box on my doorstep when
I get home, so anything you have to say would be appreciated. (Sorry; I
know the question -- if there even is one -- is vague. Maybe I'm just
scared and looking for support.)

By the way, I've learned more from lurking on this list than from any
other source. Thanks for sharing all the knowledge.