Gladiolus garden assistance.

LullabyF360February 11, 2013

I have red gladioli planted beside a portion of my driveway. I want to plant something else along with them to further beautify the area, but I have no clue what to have as their companions. I don't know if I should plant some sort of green foliage for a background, or plant another type(s) of flower to compliment the red.

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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

If you lift your bulbs each year then annuals might be more practical.

A lot depends on the style of your garden. If it is formal then something worth repeating might be needed - in form and colour.

Silvery or gold foliage. Or rich purple/red - such as basil or Iresine.

Small-leaved and dense. Or more airy, such as some of the scented-leaf Pelargoniums. Or prolific - petunias, which will be there before and after the Gladiolus flowering.

If the garden is more relaxed, then grasses might offer a possible foil for the spear leaves and the red blooms. Something with blue or brown foliage, perhaps? And a fountain form?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 2:54AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

It's hard to say what I might do without knowing what size area you are talking about. Assuming there's lots of sun if there's Glads already. Could you show a pic?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 11:23AM
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LullabyF360

Oh no. They haven't come up yet. But if you want, I can still upload a photo to show where they are. & yes, there is plenty of sun in that area.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 11:33AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I'd definitely look at it and give it some thought. I'm sure yours will start sprouting soon. Seeing lots of Glads leaves coming up around here.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 11:48AM
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LullabyF360

They are planted in between those two bulbs. The rose bush is in the middle. There are ten bulbs plantes on either side of the bush.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 1:46PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

It looks like you have plenty of sun and space. Roses and Glads are a great start if you ask me.

Also looks very compacted, dry, probabaly not much organic matter in the soil. While trying to form a mental image of what you want it to look like, what other plants you might like, I would be adding whatever organic matter I can find to that spot. Roses are especially fond of banana peels if your dog won't eat them. You can just lay them near the trunk or push a little dirt aside and cover them up.

When the grass gets going, you'll probably need some kind of border/barrier to keep it separate from your other plants. So this would be a good time to be working on that also, and giving you more height to pile up leaves, cut grass, kitchen scraps, so it doesn't wash away. This will help your plants grow better, and hold moisture in the area a little better, as well as make sure people recognize not to drive over there.

If you put a thick, overlapping layer of cardboard or newspaper that is whole sections thick at the bottom of the space you want to be a flower bed, that's a good way to start and be reasonably sure grass won't come up through it. Then you can outline that with rocks or timbers. Something that has a long, flat surface is better at keeping grass from creeping through.

Lantana blooms for a really long time and attracts butterflies and bees. Other sun-lovers that are relatively carefree are Cannas, Gardenia, Sedum, Lantana, Rosemary, Oleander, Brugmansia. I think I'd stick to mostly bigger plants in such a large yard, also will handle dry conditions easier, once established. Stuff you see easily when you pull in/out, tall enough to walk over and sniff easily while still holding your purse...

You might get a lot of bang for your buck out of a pack of Zinnia and/or sunflower seeds this year, while waiting for other plants to mature more slowly. Basil would also probably do great things there.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 5:08PM
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LullabyF360

I didn't even know my dog snuck into the picture! Lol! He's starting to loose his baby teeth & is going through a teething stage. As of right now, he would eat the banana peels. He hasn't learned either to leave the area alone where I have things planted. The part of the driveway that circles around the house, we are going to place black trim there to prevent the gravel from washing away during heavy rains. We should have put the trim down before we spread the gravel, because we have lost quite a lot of gravel. We aren't going to get anymore gravel & the trim till after we finish the porch. I am also intending on using the trim to outline where I have things planted, such as where the gladiolus are & the muscadines in the background there (where you see the hilariously leaning trellis). We haven't decided on what to fill in those areas with. We've thought about pea gravel or white rock. The front area between the porch & driveway I have thought about planting Irish moss there as a filler. Yes, our soil is...horrible isn't quite the word for it. It's clay/sand mixture. When dry it is like a sand storm. When wet it will either suck you down or cling to every single thing. Walk through it & twenty pounds will be added to each shoe. Everything that we have planted, we first fill the hole with top soil, stick the plant in, cover the roots with the good soil, & put a layer of our dirt to prevent the good stuff from washing away. I have two small gardenias growing on either side of the front steps. I took four clippings from them & waiting for them to root. I have tried zinnias with no luck :( they never made it past six inches tall :( I have some snap dragons, columbines, & hollyhock I am wanting to place somewhere. I suppose some could be used for around the gladioli. I wish I could find white gladiolus bulbs to plant with the red, but no such luck. My only option there is to buy a mixed color pack of bulbs & wait for what comes up.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 9:03PM
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davidinsf

With that much open area, I would start looking at lots of perennials or you are going to spend hundreds every year re-stocking (like I do).

I am a dahlia grower, so I would look into dahlias, which will come up every year depending on your location. (However, clay is not its favorite soil so you would need to amend it a lot!) Given that they tend to multiply, one tuber will yield about 4-5 plants in 3-4 years. I have about 90 in my yard along with MANY glads, roses and assorted annuals and perennials.

But then comes the conundrum: how to color coordinate such a large area.

I split my 90 foot yard into sections using such common stuff as logs to make raised beds, rocks to make mounds and extensively use containers to make meandering paths. Therefore I can afford to plant red glads near red dahlias and inter fill with red annuals at large.

With your space AND having so much open area behind the plot, getting a 'blizzard of red' effect is much harder. But if you don't, competing and/or random colors will make your yard look hodge-podge with no rhyme nor reason as to why something is planted.

The great thing about dahlias and glads are they can be dug up and moved if you change something. Roses don't like to be moved and neither will established large bushes.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 10:23PM
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