good sized side yard design, mostly color and bloom time question

Mindyw3(5)January 4, 2012

Ok, so the most prominent plants, I.e. the frame of the side yard will be white and off white flowered hydrangeas and a lilac. The side yard is on the east side of the house and the long side is about 45 ft, 26 feet along the side of the house gets deep shade, only morning sun, and the south end is against a chainlink fence. Oh and the long side is against thee neighbors 7 ft tall privacy fence. There is currently nothing in this side yard. There is a spring blooming crab Apple at the very far ne corner of the front yard which is continiguous with the side. I want to kind of square off the side yard with a cutting garden that will be loosely designed, but mostly functional, so that will cut across from east to west between front and side yards. I'm not going to worry much about the foundation area this season other than smothering it because it is full of raspberry canes, alliums and weeds that a previous owner planted and never controlled. I plan on covering the entire area with black plastic sheeting to smother out the ground ivy for this season and next year pulling it up where I want pathways and seeding with a grass/clover mix. I have 3 forsythia I figure.I might as well use there also. Obviously they are early jloomers and bright yellow. The front of the house has a. Cherry tree that doesn't bloom every year, but otherwise dark purplish foliage and white flowers. There are swooped willows(supposedly pink in spring and light grey green otherwise) as well as purple butterfly bushes.and mid red.ground cover roses. Ok, so what I'm thinking is I want to build the border along.the south and east fences, both.are part shade. I "think" I want every color EXCEPT red and Orange. So pinks, purples, cream, peaches, a little blue and a little burgundy. I figure yellow and purple will look ok together in spring? What else will go with that? Blues maybe? In summer the hydrangea will bloom so maybe pinks and peaches.and burgundy for some depth? And then in fall I know waters are popular but I'm not sure how the typical fall colors will go with the hydrangeas. I also want to stay away from the highly poisonous plants such as digitalis and poppy even though I love both, because of my 2 toddlers. The center area of the yard is going to be used as a mlelon.patch this summer so no landscaping will be placed there for now. Any suggestions, ideas? Sorry if my description is hard to understand, ill try to post pics.

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Oh gee I left out a lot of info. I'm in zone 5. I want mainly perennials and a cottage/naturaliatic feel. Also lots of fragrant flowers. Anything that can be used as a cut flower will probably get put in the cutting area only. My soil is clay and alkaline and I don't want to mess with sulfur. I will be adding lots of compost before covering and after that the only fertilizing will be foliar or directly at plant bases. The amount and type of weeds necessitates plastic barrier and heavy mulch. The last 3 previous residents really neglected the entire lawn and according to neighbors one was a crazy lady who purposefully planted weeds she thought were pretty which in turn spread down the block....

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 11:34AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

It is always fun to pick up where a crazy lady gardener left off! I suspect future owners of my house will refer to me as that :-)

One thing you might be forgetting is that all plants are basically green most of the time, so stuff going together is really not that big an big issue. One exception is probably forsythia with pink flowering cherries, but then, I hate forsythia so I may not be seeing that correctly. But on the whole, in the type of project you have in mind, I would feel quite free to go with whatever plants you like.

Another thing, a single forsythia can get pretty big so unless you like that garish yellow colour a lot, three of them might be overkill. One is permitted to throw plants in the compost even if they are still alive.

Your kids will be safest if you simply teach them not to eat anything from your flower garden, although I have to admit that I have never been able to bring myself to grow monkshood, even though my kids knew the rule (my son could say Euphorbia when he could barely talk because he knew not to touch his face if he'd touched the euphorbias "dis a euphorbia?"). But the list of poisonous plants is astonishingly long and limiting, and if you also worry about what's poisonous to cats you can't grow anything at all, especially not lilies.

Do try to beat your weeds before you plant. It's way easier.

Karin L

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 2:44PM
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You areprobably right about the clashing forsythia. I can't bring myself to dig them out yet. I know Mosit flowers and plants are posonous but some more so than others. If my kid eats a tomato leaf or two he will be ok but some flowers only take one bite to do some serious damage so those are the ones I want to avoid, not so much the tu mmy ache and rash type poisonous plants. Thank you for the advice!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 3:26PM
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Here are some bad pics, but pics nonetheless.

This is the longside which is about 47 feet from the fence to the edge of the dripline of the crab apple. And that dumb tree and rose there are going down hard!!

And this is the fence to the backyard which I hope to have completely covered by shrubs and flowers in the next year or two. It is 15 feet from the wooden fence to the gate.

The tree in the back yard does provide part shade when its leafed out. There were a bunch of vines growing all over that fence since we moved in that we finally dug, not sure if they will try to take over again but I wouldn't doubt it. Jerks.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 7:05PM
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I add lilac,hosta,honeysuckel,ninebark,beautybush,rose,spirea,fern,azalea,thyme,croton,goldenmop,you select.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 11:37PM
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Hmmmm, how do you think it would look if I put ONLY hydrangea down the side of the house but did mixed plantings along the fences and in cutting beds? Would that disrupt the unity of the space? I have to wait until next year to put in any hard walkways because of the weeds just as a note so I'm not focusing on pathways yet!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 10:24AM
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Some folks think beautiful garden are flowers.I don't agree these concepts.a nice frame is very important,it consist of horticulture trees,bush,hardscape matching each other.this need designing.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 2:11PM
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Well said China miss. The picture you offer is as wild as usual but your thoughts are on target.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 6:53PM
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BTW - if you can't bear to dig out a healthy forsythia you could always post it on Craigslist as "free for the taking". I've seen that done a lot, not sure how successful it is (never done it, only seen ads posted for it). But it could assuage your guilty conscience :)

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 11:03PM
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Engineerchic: lol. Well the cherry might be going anyway. I thought the neighbors new dog had been tearing up the bark but upon closer inspection realize its a hideous fungal disease! It's mostly on the trunk but is also on a few of the higher branches.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 8:43PM
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