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Help me place flowers here :)

Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:51 am
by AprilArchambeau
I am doing my whole yard, have some ideas for the backyard, but last year, I planted flowers in front of my porch, just 5 in a row, and it looked plain, not filled in and plain stupid :(. Here is a pic I just snapped outside, its dark sorry :(. I circled the part in red that I need to place flowers, I want perennials, I want it filled in, and I want it to match, any ideas appreciated :)

Here is the pic!!!


Not sure what the flowers are on the left, but I am not too fond of them so will more than likely rip them out :)

Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 1:22 am
by Kisal
What kind of light does the area get ... full sun ... light shade ... deep shade?

What are you looking for in terms of flowers? Do you want color all season long, or would you be happy with color just in the Spring, or in the Summer, or in the Fall?

Would you consider low-growing shrubs that flower?

Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 2:53 am
by The Helpful Gardener
North side? South Side? East? West? We'll get a good idea of light and weather if we know that...what's the soil like?


Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 2:59 am
by AprilArchambeau
In all honesty soil is soil to me, I am not sure how to tell. I am in West Virginia on the eastern panhandle, its full sun, and yes I would consider small flowering shrubs :).

I want something with alot of color, I assume red of yellow would look best against brick? I would LIKE blooms all summer but it doesnt have to be like that. Spring blooms would be ok :)...I have a light pole in front of the porch that you cannot see pictured, I was thinking something like a few small shrubs like the size of a medium mum around that :) Not sure though, thats why I came here? That area is full sun also :)

Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 3:20 am
by The Helpful Gardener
Brick is a red so contrasts can be even more standout; the good contrast for red is blue, which is so cooling in summer...

Sun in morning/afternoon? From when till when? And please do me a favor? Dig a hole the size of a glass, and then take a glass that size, fill it with water, pour it in the hole, and tell me how long it takes the water to filtrate into the soil... that'll give me a good idea as to soil conditions...I know it seems like dirt is dirt, but plants have very specific needs...


Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:49 am
by AprilArchambeau
I know they do.....I just don't know what I am talking about :). I wouldnt mind an assortment of colors honestly, and although its past midnight...I am going to dig a hole. Brb lol....Ok I am back, it took 6 minutes, I think thats pretty good don't you? :) It is full sun from about 8 or 9 am until the sun goes down.....

Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:38 am
by The Helpful Gardener
Yup, it's pretty good; probably not a clay soil. That's good... a front step would be good; a granite slab would be cool. Or bluestone with a matching path from the drive to the door...

Sounds like a south facing, I like Kisal's idea of mixing shrubs and flowers; shrubs would offer some winter form. How about Spirea 'Magic Carpet on the driveway side, followed by Nepeta mussinii 'Dropmore' (blue blooms all summer on grey foliage; followed by a triple planting of Paeonia lactiflora 'Bowl of Beauty' (could sub Hibiscusx 'Kopper King' there, or a Gold Mop cypress), then Nepeta, then Spirea again then your step...

This treats the perennials as shrubs in a border, but they are all toughies and long lived. Adds intesting foliage colors (which is there even when flower aren't), the catmint is always in bloom, and the other will add seasonal interests and are just great plants, period. Inexpensive and easy to care for...

The Hibiscus idea is growing on me... if you add a little depth to the border you could put it in back of two peonies...


Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 2:06 am
by AprilArchambeau
Those all get too big though don't they? I want something small, no longer than 12 inches tall. When you say along the driveway, do you mean outside of the red circle? I can only plant where I circled in red due to us driving in and out of the yard...

Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:22 am
by The Helpful Gardener
April, do you mean you are driving on the grass? I guessed the little peek of asphalt in the bottom left corner when I said driveway. And I just said "driveway side" not along the driveway... and everything at twelve inches of height won't register visually from any sort of distance unless we get real loud with here goes...

Okay the Nepeta can stay at 12" to 15", but everything else goes...first (from driveway) Nepeta then Firecracker salvias, say three of them (an screaming red annual you'll need to buy every year or start from seed), then Corepsis 'Moonbeam' (a perennial, blooms most of the summer in electric yellow). It's a little taller than your requirement but so airy you won't notice... then Salvias, then Nepeta (halfway there), to Salvias to Corepsis to Salvias to Nepeta (to bluestone step if you aren't driving on the lawn).

So three Nepeta, two Coreopsis, and two six packs of Salvia; certainly not breaking the bank. Use the money you've saved to improve the soil; compost and composted manure are not expensive and very beneficial. This thing will take care of itself pretty much...


what to plant

Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:39 am
by rainbowgardener
I was agreeing with Scott that against that brick, you don't really want red flowers, they will just blend in... then he went and threw in all those red salvias. If it were me I'd go for campanulas (blue bells) which come in a range of lovely blues and purples. The flower spikes are a little taller than was asked for, but they are airy and delicate; I don't think you'd mind, the plant isn't actually very tall, just the flower spikes. Then you could mix in the moonbeam coreopsis for a gorgeous contrast. Then in front you could have hardy geranium (not the red geraniums they sell with the round leaves which are really pelargonium) which also come in a range of blues and purples and are very low growing, 6" or so. Maybe alternate with a few silver mound artemisa, which is a plant grown for foliage not flowers, but makes a beautiful little cushion of ferny silvery-grey foliage. All of these are perennials and once established should be very easy to maintain. Butterflies like the coreopsis

Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:06 pm
by The Helpful Gardener
You could use Campanula carpatica 'Blue Clip', Rainbow, not have the spikes, and keep to April's height requirements...some of the smaller Veronicas could work there too, like 'Georgia Blue'...

I do think that even the bright red would get a little lost far away, but it would be very apparent as one got closer. I added red back in because April was thinking red earlier... and I do like the primary contrasts in that combo...

That said, RBG offers some good thoughts, including the 'Silver Mounds', which would be a nice color echo of the exposed cement... any thoughts, April?