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Help with front bed design!

SYinUSA, GA zone 8
13 years ago

I have a northern-facing bed directly in front of my house (morning sun, afternoon shade). I had planned on putting a row of hydrangeas there and then layering something smaller in front for added interest. Then my sister pointed out that hydrangeas aren't too attractive in the winter, and we have long winters. I could be asking for too much, but is there anything that fits my unreasonable demands?:

- Evergreen or close to it for winter interest

- Blooming (not red, orange, or deep pink/magenta - it will be against a red brick wall)

- Fragrant (not necessary but would be nice)

- Informal/cottage-y


- Maximum height of 5'

- Old-fashioned appearance

For reference, here's the front of the house:


The total bed size is 17'10" x 6'4". I've thought about viburnum, cotoneaster apiculata, Carol Mackie daphne, rhododendrons, azaleas, hydrangeas (Endless Summer and/or Annabelle), and Miss Kim Syringa patula. I'm a nervous/careful gardener that is new to growing in this zone. Are any of these options better than others? Other suggestions? Thanks in advance for your expertise and input!

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