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prairiemoon2

Anyone have the time to help with a design question?

I know there are lots of creative minds on this forum and I would love to know what you would do with this area of my property if it were at your house. Lucky you that it's not! [g]

We have a small area that has been neglected that is long and narrow. About 4ft wide and 18ft long. We are finally ready to get it cleaned up. It is on the north side of a building so it is pretty much full shade, but at either end of this 'alley' there are small amounts of sun at the beginning and end of the day.

We have to clean out a stand of sensitive fern because I have other plants going in that I don't want to get overrun with it. I am already planning on adding other ferns that are well behaved, small hostas, pulmonaria, epimedium, heuchera. Maybe bergenia, tiarella, phlox, foxglove?

Two questions:

First, we need to access this strip to plug in the electric lawnmower, so we will need to place stepping stones. I am trying to decide whether to place them in a straight line down the middle and fit plants on either side of them, or a straight line down one side and have a larger planting area along side it, or use some sort of random or curving pattern of placing them. I was also considering, since it is long and narrow, how it would work to graduate the size from larger to smaller to get an effect of distance?

Second, the height of plant material. My plant list has to be full shade plants for the most part and so far most of the plants are very short. I don't know whether to keep it short and just vary the foliage color and textures, or add something else for more height at any point..at either end, maybe, where there are small amounts of sun? I have already planted a climbing Hydrangea at the foot of the wall of the building, if that makes any difference. It is very small right now. Something to keep in mind is the presence of the electrical cord every week. I plan on using some pretty metal stakes along one side to string the cord through so the plants won't get murdered.

That's it. It is a pretty utilitarian area so I am just happy to have it neat and functional and if I can add a few plants that we will enjoy all the better.

Any ideas or pitfalls that you can think of..all opinions welcome. :-)

pm2

Comments (33)

  • diggingthedirt
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I don't have any specific plant suggestions, but would like to make a suggestion about the path.

    Since the area is so narrow, I'd put the path smack up against the building; nothing will grow well against the foundation and it is better for the building to have the air circulation there.

    Also, if you have a GFI outlet, and if you are mowing only to one side of the building, you could leave an exterior grade extension cord (they make these with an outlet on a stake, with a switch) plugged in and secured at one corner of the building; then you would only have to walk through the garden once in spring and fall.

    One other thing - if sensitive fern is invasive, it might be better to not plant other ferns right away, because it will be difficult to spot the new sensitive ferns if/when they come back. The most difficult weeding is among look-alike plants - bedstraw in sweet woodruff, oxalis in the columbine, "plain old" grass in the ornamental grass ...

  • ginny12
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Random thoughts--

    Sensitive fern is the very devil to get rid of. I have been battling it in a bed of pachysandra for many years--unsuccessfully. Make absolutely sure, chemically sure, that it is gone before planting anything.

    And 4' is very narrow for a path and plantings. I second DTD's idea of putting the walkway along the house and using the extension cord she describes. That is, if you do install a mixed grouping of plants.

    In such a small space, you might consider using all one plant as a groundcover, such as one type of easy hosta. I definitely would not plant anything large here for several reasons, the most of important of which is that you do need to use it for access on a regular basis and 4' is narrow.

    And, I am sorry to say it, but you might reconsider the climbing hydrangea on the house. Future structural problems and lots of maintenance are issues.

    Lastly, to create false perspective, that is, making the space look longer than it is, you would slightly narrow the far end of this long, narrow rectangle. For that to work best, you would create three narrow strips--two narrow paved strips and one wider planted strip, or vice versa. You could plant the center planted strip with decreasing sizes of similar looking hostas, for example. The important thing is that they would all narrow from 4' at the entrance to perhaps 3' at the far end. Just something fun to try.

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  • ego45
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I second the DtD idea of extension cord. I have GFI attached to a tree surrounded by the sea of pachysandra (which is not very happy when someone step on it) and extension cord was a great solution to a problem.

    As to plants names, if area is contained you may want to create collection of 'beautifull, but invasive' plants there. There are plenty of shade loving agressors which you don't want to see in other beds, but wouldn't mind there, especialy if it's as you said is a pretty utilitarian area.

  • runktrun
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I second ginnys suggestion not to plant the climbing Hydrangea but not for possible structure problems but because this is not a narrow climbing vine as the branches that produce the flowers grow out from the main vine to a minimum of 1 1/2 feet to 2 feet with such a narrow path this may not be the best spot. I would try to keep a majority of plant choices low with the occasional grouping of mid height plants to avoid the visual space being too crowded

  • ctlady_gw
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    OT to the original post, but can I ask Ginny what the potential structural problems are from the climbing hydrangea? I've never had one before but planted one of George's beautiful little rooted offspring against our brick chimney (inspired by George's photo of a garden tour home where this was done) last fall. Now I am wondering if that's a poor choice of location? What is the potential damage? I don't mind maintenance issues, but would not want to compromise the brick in any way...?

    In terms of the original post/question, I wonder -- if there is little sun in this area -- whether the phlox and foxglove will do well? I think of those both as needing lots of sun and the phlox, at least, needing good air circulation?

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    It's so interesting how you can think something through until you can't think of anything new to think about it and when you ask someone to look at the same situation they can come up with something that you never thought of or weren't aware of. This is great, I'm so glad I asked. :-)

    I forgot to mention that the reason the space is so narrow is it is between the house and garage. Runktrun, the climbing hydrangea is on the side of the garage that has no windows in it. The garage is about 16 feet wide, so that should work, do you think? The reason I put it there was because there are two windows that face the garage. What were they thinking? So, I needed something to look at from those windows that was better than a blank wall. Since it is narrow and shady, I thought the climbing hydrangea was my best bet. Our house has siding on it, does that make any difference?

    ctlady, I saw that same photo and did the same thing..lol...but not on the chimney. The chimney is next if it doesn't work here. [g] One end of this alley has a small section of fence that cuts it off from the front yard. There is a short 2 or 3 feet there from that fence to the outlet that would not be disturbed by people accessing the outlet, and that has some morning sun. I had thought of putting foxglove there, if I have enough space, but the phlox I was referring to was woodland phlox that grows in the shade and is short, not garden phlox. Sorry, I wasn't clearer.

    Okay, so it's an exterior grade extension cord with an outlet on a stake. I am just wondering though, the outside outlet has one of those plastic covers on it to keep the rain out and if I keep it plugged in all the time, then the cover will be in the up position and the plug will be exposed to the weather, is that right? That's okay, I'll ask at Lowe's and see what the story is with those. Nice idea, thanks dtd.

    I wish nothing would grow up against the foundation, lol, far from it. We just added the outlet last year and plants have been there for a long time. Right now the sensitive fern has overrun a few other things I once tried to establish there. Violas have also invaded it and it is a favorite place for maple sapplings to start. I have a hosta in there already that does fine and I had some solomon's seal right up against the foundation and it was growing well. Some honesty found it's way in there and bloomed. Epimedium already did fine there.

    So, I don't want to be fighting the weeds any more than I have to or mulching the whole area. I thought if I can get the sensitive fern out of there, I could do a version of what ego suggested...semi aggressive plants, like lamium, that I don't want in other beds with stepping stones through it. I hadn't realized that getting the sensitive fern out would not be easy. I grow organically, so I'll have to wrestle with it. Maybe I can pull out what I can and then water it good and wait to see what sprouts and pull it again? Thanks for alerting me to this problem, because I would have just pulled it all out and planted new ferns. I would have hated weeding it out later. I was already dreading trying to get the violas out of there too. [g] I would acutally leave them to fight it out, but they're not pretty ones. I'm just glad it is not a larger area that I have to dig out.

    You are suggesting that putting the stepping stones close to the house will allow me to have better results growing plants a little further from the house, dtd? When I say grow plants, I am taking the foxglove off the table which would have been the only plants on my list that would have been taller than a foot high, so I think the air circulation will be fine in that case, don't you?

    Great tip about the look alike weeding.

    As for creating perspective...Ginny, that is the idea that I was trying to remember how to do. Thanks for explaining it. If I don't use that here, than I may be able to do it somewhere else, since I have a small property.

    Plant names...I just bought some lamium last year, but I kept hearing about how it can get away from you, so this spring I dug it up and put it in my containers. Worked out really well. When I added it to the containers, I noticed how quickly and easily it established itself and took off, so I am glad I didn't leave it in my beds. I love ajuga but I just won't grow it because I am afraid of the trouble it could cause. I am not sure if it will even be a problem in this location? ego...did you have any other ideas of plants that fall into that category?

    runktrun....I will get a plant list together but I have a number of plants around the garden that I can move to here and they are all in that one foot range I think. What would you consider a mid height plant?

  • ginny12
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Climbing hydrangea is very beautiful but it's also a large and powerful vine. It clings very tightly to its support and keeps shady and moist anything it is clinging to--bricks, mortar, shingles, clapboards--which negatively affects the structural integrity of those building materials. The moist shade causes rot or decomposition. Even before that occurs, you will have to deal with routine painting, repointing, or whatever care is required.

    A friend has successfully grown a climbing hydrangea against her house by growing it on a very strong trellis that is hinged at the bottom. The trellis is set about 6" out from the house, allowing air and some light to reach the clapboards. The hinges let my friends lay the whole thing on the ground when they paint the house. They also hard-prune the hydrangea to keep it under control. I've seen this plant at least 40' tall on another Mass. house, so it means business when it gets going.

    Personally, I like them growing on a big, strong tree, high-pruned. Less angst.

  • ego45
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Ginny articulated perfectly all problems associated with growing cl.hydrangea ON a house, though growing it on chimney or brick/stone house is much less problematic than is on a shingles/siding covered house.
    You may want to search on Hydrangea (or LD?) forum for the saypont's last year thread (with a lot of pictures) about that.

    PM2, there is a GFI outlet cover that have a special holes in it, so when something is plugged in outlet cover still stays close. It is interchangeable with your existing flat cover, so that is not an issue.
    Regarding 'outlet on a stake'. You could eliminate stake part if you'll buy a special plug for the outlet part of the outdoor extension cord and remember to plug it in every time when you done with using it.

    Names: I'll think about and post later.

  • ctlady_gw
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Ginny and George - thanks! I'll check into brick/mortar issues with the hydrangea. It's very young yet and would be easy to move (I have lots of trees it could climb, too, but I loved the look of it on against brick... so maybe I need a substantial trellis (more than what we bought) set away from the house...)

    As for the lamium, I think it must depend on the cultivar. I have "Hermann's Pride" and it isn't at all invasive, just stays in beautiful mounded clumps. The clumps increase in size the way any perennial would, but they don't "spread" in terms of putting out runners or self-sowing. It makes a beautiful mound tucked between and beneath other plants, and has the advantage of looking good all through the season.

  • ego45
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    PM, just a quick thoughts on a relatively short and semi(?)-invasive names,
    -shade to part-shade: ajuga, variegated carex 'Ice Dance', anemone sylvestris, astilbe chinensis 'Pumila', vinca plain or 'Illumination', liriope (not invasive, but fast clumper), tricyrtis 'Miyazaki', athurium filix-femina.
    -part-shade/part-sun: platycodon 'Sentimental Blue'(heavy reseeder), dwarf monarda 'Petite Delight', dwarf filipendula 'Kakome', Hakone grass, dicentra eximia.

  • karenpreciouspetals
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Ginny, I would add some "Rozanne" geraniums to your design. They will take some shade and bloom from June through frost.
    They mingle with the other plants and can reach up to a couple feet high.
    I'd move that climbing hydrangea out of there though.
    There is a short Hydrangea that only gets 18 inches high I love. It is called "Pink Elf." This is its second year in my clients yard and it is blooming away. She has Eastern Exposure though. I'd put it in an area that gets some sun so you get some blooms out of it.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Okay, you convinced me. I am certainly not looking for headaches. I've only had the climbing hydrangea for two years and I moved it to it's present location in the spring, so it hasn't even attached itself to the side of the building. It will be easy to move, but I fear I just won't have a place for it at all. I think it would look pretty silly climbing my maple trees..lol. I have seen them used in the application suggested, on a nice tall evergreen that was limbed up high and it does look lovely and I am sure is a lot less trouble. The only other place I have is a stockade fence, but I will have too many plants in front of it to make it worth it and I assume I would have the same trouble with the fence. I will have to give it more thought and then what to do with the blank side of the building? Trellises at some point with the hinges, maybe...

    So...does this mean it is never a good idea to grow anything on the side of a building? If you have a trellis it is fine, right? What about using eye hooks and wire? I have seen this done on HGTV so many times.

    As for plants...thanks for that list ego...I would like to try ajuga, finally, and Ice Dance and a pretty golden carex, 'Bowle's Golden' are my favorite carex. That is a pretty vinca and I have been wanting to try tricyrtis, I didn't know it was a potential problem. I have a number of Japanese ferns but haven't got a Lady's fern yet. I do have a fern called 'Ghost' which is a cross between the Japanese Fern and a lady's fern and it is one of my favorites. It clumps and it has lovely coloring and form and has performed well in the two years I have had it. Everything on your list is interesting and I don't have one of them ...since I usually avoid aggressive plants as much as I can. Thanks for some new ideas to choose from.

    ctlady...yes, I have read that it depends on the variety and that the Herman's Pride is one of the more tame lamiums. I'm not sure which variety I have, but it's pink and looks like Pink Shell maybe. I will be happy to try it in this location to see how it works out.

    You've all been a big help today. Saved me from making a decision I am sure I would have regretted down the road. Thanks for all the input.

    :-)

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Oops! Thanks also ego for the info on the GFI outlet cover. Sounds like just what I need! Thanks dtd for thinking of that idea too.

    Karen, love your screen name. :-)
    Not sure if you were addressing me or Ginny but I actually have a Rozanne that is flopping in a location that I am not crazy about it flopping, so another idea for me to add to my list. I had already started thinking of where I wanted to move that.

    Thanks :-)

  • ego45
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    PM2,
    Akebia quinata will grow in shade and will cover you garage wall in notime, though it's a twining , not a clinging vine and would need something to twine around. Your eye hooks + wire idea should work with akebia.
    Big plus of akebia, in z6 it will be semi-evergreen. In my garden it loses all leaves by Christamas and in leaf again in early March. Big minus(potentialy)- it's a huge vine. 25-30' is not a big deal for it, but you could just hack it and it will produce 5-6' of new growth in one season easily. Mine is in a FULL (not even a dappled) shade. In part-sun it will bloom in April with sweet chocolate scented flowers.
    One more to the list of semi-invasive part-shade lovers -Begonia grandis= Hardy begonia (self-seeder).

  • diggingthedirt
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    PM2 - about the perspective trick... maybe I misread this part of the post, if so, apologies in advance! I don't know why you would want to make a long narrow area appear even longer - and therefore, narrower. I'd go for some kind of rhythm, planting groupings that repeat, or break up the area with a focal point at the center of the wall. Making it appear shorter and wider would be my goal (if I was a goal setter!) or just making it look attractive without fooling the eye regarding the shape ...

    Funny that you'e removing violas, I was going to suggest Labrador Violet - Viola labradorica purpurea, which has nice dark foliage and great early flowers. I have that on the north side of my house, and love it.

    There are some very upright hardy camellias; I've been lusting after a row of them, but they want complete shade - especially in winter - and I don't have as much space on the side of my house as you do. My sister has dozens of varieties in her Longs Island garden, and there always seems to be one or two in bloom. They're slow growers, I'm told - but I can attest that when not watered they die very quickly.

  • WendyB 5A/MA
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Re: Pink Elf...Karen, I believe Pink Elf is a/k/a 'Pia'. One is the TM. I tried it here for a few years, very protected in winter and couldn't get it to bloom. East exposure. That is great that it is blooming for your client.

    For full shade, I love to use Caryopteris 'Snow Fairy' and forget about the blooms. Really brightens up the space. It should get close to 2' H to add a bit of height to all the groundcovers.

    Lamium 'Purple Dragon' may also work nicely for groundcover. Mine does get some sun, but I think it should do nearly as well with less. I have another pic somewhere in full bloom.

    {{gwi:263853}}

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    ego...I LOVE that idea for the akebia! I have seen it before and just found a link for photos posted below, of an amazing close up of the flower. The vine is very pretty too. Plus, I won't have to wait until we get around to building a trellis, using eye hooks and wire is much easier. Plus it will be faster than the climbing hydrangea. I think it might just flower for me on the ends where the sun will hit it too and still look nice in the middle where it will be full shade. Great idea!

    Do you grow Begonia grandis, ego? Very pretty plant. I just saw a Gardener's Diary episode with a gardener who was growing it. They had it in a woodland.

    dtd...of course, you are right. I have no idea why I was interested in making it look longer instead of wider...lol. The idea to repeat would work for me as I do have multiples of some of the plants I already have to put in.

    You don't have as much room on the side of your house as I do?! Now, you're just trying to make me feel better..lol. I actually am guessing at the width of that 'alley' as I have started calling it..and I am going to have to go out and measure it again tomorrow.

    The camellias....were you thinking I could use one in the middle of the wall to make it look wider or as another option I could plant a row of them along side the stepping stones? Are they that upright? Did you say which variety you were thinking of? What about where the akebia vine is going to go? I thought I should plant that in the middle of the garage wall to spread out in both directions. Not sure how far that will come out from the wall. Oh, and I am planning on putting a few soaker hoses down. I still can't believe that on the cape you are zone 6 and I am zone 6. I thought the cape was zone 7?

    I love viola labradorica and sowed seed 2 winters ago with winter sowing and ended up with about 30 seedlings. I have some under my maple tree that I could move to that area and it will go nicely with the different colors of foliage. I would be better off having it there too. I am a viola fan, but the one that is there is a very insipid white one. I bought some Queen Charlotte two years ago which is an odorata and was fragrant but it didn't come back this spring. I also had Rebecca which is white splashed with purple and I loved that one but it also didn't come back. Last year was a strange winter.

    wendy and karen...the eastern exposure that I will have will be shaded somewhat by a 4 ft tall picket fence on the east side, so it will provide more light and actual sun for plants that grow higher, but the most sun I have is on the side that will face west. I do love that little Pia though. Maybe I can find another place to put it. Maybe in the front of my house, ego? [g]

    wendy..that caryopteris is very attractive and reminds me of my Ivory Halo dogwood but smaller. The Lamium is very pretty too. Looks much like mine with a different color flower. Oh, btw wendy, when I clicked on your thumbprint of the lamium, it was a coneflower. I found the lamium about 3 photos further along. I saw another photo of your hostas with a dicentra exima ....such a nice grouping. :-)

    Well..it appears that I have more choices than I thought I did. Now if I only didn't have to go dig up all that sensitivie fern and white violas!

    Thank you all... :-)

    Here is a link that might be useful: Akebia close up of the flower

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi,

    I got out and measured instead of guessing this morning. I know I measured once before but not for a long time. Well, my memory is not what it used to be. It was actually 70inches wide and would have to deduct a foot from that due to the overhang of the garage roof and the rock that is under the dripline. So that makes it almost 5 feet of planting space. :-) I did remember right about the space up against the fence before the electrical outlet starts, there is three feet that would go undisturbed by anyone using the electric outlet. That could be used for taller items like foxglove and cimicifuga or a small shrub?

    I also have 21feet from the fence on the east side to the end of the garage, but the 'alley'continues beyond the garage into the yard and between a patio and a perennial bed for another 16 feet that has western exposure once the garage ends. I was planning on doing stepping stones here as well with creeping thyme etc.

    I thought of some more plants I can move from other areas of the garden. Georgia Blue Veronica, corydalis seedlings, a variegated carex I forgot I had and some moss for around the stepping stones too. Some that I am not sure about adding are Bergenia and Primula.

    I was looking around and discovered a Jack in the Pulpit already growing there too. Take it out or leave it?

    So that's about it. I hope I will be back soon with an update to say I have all the viola and sensitive fern out of there.

    Thanks again for everyone's help.
    :-)
    pm2

  • lschibley
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Any updates on this thread, prairiemoon? This was a very interesting discussion to read! I'm working on a shade border too, so loved to hear about all the plant ideas. What worked and what didn't?

    Lisa

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi Lisa...

    Well, we have that area almost finished. I still have one idea that hasn't been implemented, but it could be finished just the way it is without it. We used bark mulch down the center for a path and on the house side, planted, 3 different epimedium, pulmonaria, three different ferns, Japanese Painted, Ghost and a Wood Fern. Hostas and Heucheras. At the fence end, we added Labradorica violet with ajuga. Along the garage side, I have one entire length of Lamium with pink flowers with a variegated hosta at each end. The stars of this little bed are Trillium which I was thrilled to see bloom this spring, as I bought it half off last fall and it was completely dormant and looked like I was buying a pot of dirt. [g] The second star we just added is a Japanese Jack in the Pulpit that was just stunning when it was in bloom.

    So far, everything has worked except believe it or not, the first ajuga I added died out. I think it may have rotted? I have tried a second one, but not sure how that will work. I haven't got a photo of the whole bed, but a few of the individual plants below. I decided I didn't have room for a structure with a vine, so I am planning instead on planting three tall narrow evergreen hollies or boxwoods to break up the expanse of the side of the garage and then it will be finished. We are all very happy with the way it came out. It is so much more manageable and since completion has hardly needed any attention at all and looks neat all the time. I would have liked to add a few more plants, but I have about run out of room. [g]

  • lschibley
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Oh my gosh, that first plant is gorgeous! What is it and where can I get one. I am working on a black and white garden (I call it my Obama garden!) with variegated white and black foliage and flowers in a shady area. That would go just perfectly.

    If you do take photos of the whole bed, please post them. What an interesting project and it sounds like you made the most of a challenging space. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Lisa

  • lschibley
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Ok I figured out it's an epimedium. Googling to see if I can figure out which one.

    Lisa

  • lschibley
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    How about:

    Epimedium grandiflorum var. higoense 'Bandit'

    Oh my gosh it's pretty. Definitely adding it to my wish list. Thanks for posting the picture!

    Lisa

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Yes...you found it, it is 'Bandit' Lisa. :-) Just to let you know, it is very small this year, almost minature. I am wondering myself if it will get larger. It works well in the space I have it in luckily. All the epimediums I bought were first year plants and all looked small so it could be they will be larger next year. I do have other epimediums in the yard that are quite a bit larger in leaf size, bloom size and footprint. Maybe there is some information out there about that? At any rate, I bought it at Garden Visions who specialize in epimediums. They could answer questions and send you a catalog. This article can give you more info...see link below.

    Yes, if I can get a good photo of the whole space I will post it for you Lisa. Right now, nothing is still in bloom. I am considering adding some Tricyritis for later bloom and the Lamium should continue to bloom a little all summer. There are some neat foliage colors, so that should keep it interesting.

    Your project sounds interesting Lisa...what other plants are you using?

    pm2

    Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Visions

  • lschibley
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    White Flowers
    Sweet Woodruff
    White Bleeding Heart
    White tulips (not in place yet)
    Oak leaf Hydrangea on the edge of the space

    Black Flowers
    Black Bart Columbine (not in place yet)
    Black Tulips (not in place yet)
    Helleborus orientalis w/ black flower (not in place yet)

    White Foliage
    Cornus alternifolia 'Argentea' defining the front corner (not in place yet)
    'Brise d'Anjou' Polemonium
    Fire and Ice Hosta (not in place yet)

    Black Foliage
    Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' - Black Mondo grass
    Cimicifuga Hillside Black Beauty (white flowers)
    Brass Buttons 'Platt's Black'
    Trifolium repens 'Dark Dancer'

    I've only started the garden this spring, and I have no idea how it will work, but it's been fun putting together. It's a small space just to the left of the front door. The space transitions from mostly shade to half sun/half shade as I get away from the house, so I am trying to site plants accordingly. I know it's going to be a hodgepodge to plants at first, but as I see what works (some items are just on order and not in place yet) and what doesn't I am hoping to really shape it into something cool.

    Lisa

  • lschibley
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Oops, I forgot two plants, Bridal Veil Astilbe and Toad Lily 'Shining Light'.

    Anyway, it's been lots of fun, and will be interesting to see how it turns out!

    Lisa

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Lisa, I added two Oakleaf Hydrangeas to the garden and I am enjoying them. I just moved one in the spring and was surprised that it continued to develop flower buds and is getting ready to bloom. Great fall color.

    White bleeding hearts are one of my favorites. I just bought one and I am trying to find the best place for it this week. I wonder will you have enough sun for the tulips? I thought they want full sun and heat? You have picked a number of my favorites actually. Black Hellebores, Bridal Veil Astilbe and I just looked up the Toadlily and that is very attractive too. Hillside Black Beauty Cimicifuga is the prettiest of the dark ones to me. And my favorite of all your plants is that Cornus alternifolia. I have been thinking of trying to use that for a few years.

    Seems like we have very similar tastes, Lisa and your garden sounds like it will make a beautiful combination. Hope you are taking lots of photos. :-)

    pm2

  • lschibley
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks pm!

    The tulips are actually in front of the shady bed, away from the house, so they should get pretty full sun up to 4pm or so. I guess they aren't technically part of the Obama garden, but I thought they were so cool, that I wanted to mention them. Some of the blacks aren't really blacks of course, but dark purple, but if I can get enough of that color in their I think it will work.

    I am very excited about the variegated Cornus alternifolia. I found a small one at a local nursery, but it is actually in the ground, and they won't move it until it is dormant. So that one will have to wait until late fall, but it will definitely be the focal point of my yard.

    Thanks for your kind words. As I said everything is new this year. I really have no idea how it will turn out, but I'm excited to see!

    Lisa

  • lschibley
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Here are a couple of pictures of the Obama garden. Everything is small. But I am hoping for good things in the future.

    The Variegated Pagoda dogwood will go just at the left edge of this picture.

    Lisa

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Lisa...nice photos! You have a great porch. You've done a nice job with the stepping stones and all the plants you have put in so far. I like the evergreen at the corner of the porch and that mostly white hosta. That variegated pagoda dogwood is going to look fabulous! Is that an oakleaf hydrangea to the right of the evergreen? Thanks for sharing your photos. Hope you will post again once you get your tree in place.

    :-)
    pm2

  • lschibley
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi pm2,

    I can't wait to get the pagoda dogwood in. Yup that's an oakleaf hydrangea and the evergreen is a Chamaecyparis obtusa Gracilis and it was my first conifer purchase. I guess you could say it got me hooked.

    This garden makes more sense if you imagine it continuing left away from the house. I'm removing another strip of grass along the woods for a shrub border starting at the dogwood and extending to the street.

    The dark foliage plants blend with the mulch, but they are more interesting in person. I think it will be much more interesting as things grow together.

    Thanks for your kind words!

    Lisa

  • User
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Ahhh, this year-long thread is a delight for me.
    I just want to add one thing about the narrow strip to be planted. Could you perhaps hang some baskets of seasonal flowers from the garage eaves? It would give some up-high
    interest, no?

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Moccasinlanding...thank you for posting. It is nice to know my experiences were of interest. Sorry it took so long to respond. Yes, that is an idea that I hadn't considered, adding containers to the side of the garage. Hanging something from the eaves...hmmm... I will have to take a look and see if there is a place I could do that. There wouldn't be room I don't think for a hanging basket to hang straight down from the eaves, so it would have to be some sort of hanger that would keep it away from the side of the garage. We do have vinyl siding and I am always reluctant to screw anything into it, but this idea is still a good one for someone in similar situation that would not have vinyl siding or would not mind screwing into it. I still will take a look and see if that idea could work for me.

    Thanks very much....I love your screen name.

    :-)