Need help with cottage garden slope

eks6426(5b)March 22, 2011

Hello. I am looking for some help with my front yard plantings. I have a cottage style garden going on. The front yard faces north-north east. There is a large maple tree on the west (right side of the picture) that shades some of the front yard. Several years ago I planted pink Fairy Roses on the slope. The roses look reasonably decent for a few weeks of the year but then just look like a thorny mess the rest of the year. The Fairy roses that are on the side with the maple tree don't do very well..they are thin and scraggly (too much shade!). The Fairy roses away from the maple tree get huge and send out long spiky branches that reach out to attack you. I would like to take out the Fairy roses and replace them with something else but not sure what.

In front of the roses are boxwood bushes and a mix of perennials such as lambs ear, creeping thyme, oregano etc. Behind the roses at the top of the slope is a row of Six Hills Giant Nepeta (catmint) that looks beautiful for several weeks but then just fades.

I need something with interest in mid to late summer and preferably in the fall. Winter interest would be a great bonus. A mix of things could be ok too. I am in zone 5B.

Any suggestions?

Picture with the Fairy Roses in bloom

Picture with the Fairy Roses fading.

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ideasshare(z6)

Formal direct and nature plants growing make thorny mess.change style please.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 4:17PM
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ideasshare(z6)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 4:41PM
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ideasshare(z6)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 5:00PM
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ideasshare(z6)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 5:12PM
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ideasshare(z6)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 5:32PM
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inkognito

I like the one with the giant broccoli by the steps best but I don't think ideashare would be very good at jigsaw puzzles.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 10:04AM
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drtygrl

But honestly, doesnt "Formal direct and nature plants growing make thorny mess.change style please. " say it all?!?

I never would have said "change style please" but it was one of my first thoughts.

And there is nothing better than giant broccoli.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 6:11PM
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KraB

I think some giant hostas or some hydrangeas would work well. There are alot of fine textures in your yard, mix it up with coarse textures. There seem like alot of catmints in there

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 6:19PM
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eks6426(5b)

Wow, a lot of interesting ideas there. I'm not ready to do a total remodel right now. Just some different plants to perk it up.

I totally agree on the need for bigger leafed items. I have a lot of tiny leafed plants right now and there is nothing with bigger leaves to give some impact. Most hydrangeas don't do great in my area. I can grow the Annabelle Hydrangea that is white or some of the Paniculas. I am concerned that all of these get so large that they would cover over the boxwood bushes.

Hostas don't love my yard either. Part of it is too sunny and then the shady part under the tree, they don't grow. No idea why. I keep trying and no luck. I would love to get some of the hostas with the big leaves that are yellow & green striped.

Are there any other shrubs with large leaves like hydrangeas that take up less space?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 9:19AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Many hostas do well in sun (search or ask in the Hosta forum) and as for why they don't grow under the maple, one word: roots. The shade alone wouldn't stop them from growing.

Is the tree yours? If you want to grow anything under there, it will eventually be an either-or question, tree or plants. An area of just mulch under the tree might be a welcome calm spot in the yard.

You are in the position that anyone is who relies on a cottage garden as landscaping. Winter interest? Zilch. Structure? Zilch. Accessibility? Bad. Focal points: almost invisible. Specifically, I had to search the photo - fairy roses? What fairy roses?

Don't get me wrong, I live in an even more chaotic jumble of plants and I love it. But you have to know what you can get out of it, and what the trade-offs are.

I started a few years ago removing several deciduous shrubs and replacing them with Rhodos, which I love. I don't know if Rhodos would grow for you; many are quite hardy. And many can tolerate sun if there is enough water. Perhaps some stone to retain the slope would serve multiple purposes... structure, focal point, and moisture retention/root cooling in summer.

Viburnums might be another option for you; also deciduous azaleas? Check your local speciality nurseries - they'll usually sell anything that will work in your zone!

But it may not be big leaves you're after so much as strong plant form. Conifers can give you this too, often better. Something like a golden fastigiate yew might look pretty cool.

KarinL

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 12:28PM
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kristin_flower(4a)

I love your romantic cottage garden.

Have you tried cutting the catmint back after mid-summer? You might get another flush of flowers later on, or at least a neater look.

If you don't like your roses, you might consider replacing with peonies. They don't bloom long, but they won't attack you, and for me the foliage looks great all summer long. How about adding some Siberian iris for the foliage and bloom.

Your window box plantings look pretty and healthy, but for some reason I'm thinking your house might look better without them.

I like your Annabelle hydrangea. Maybe add a couple more for a hedge.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 10:07PM
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timbu

Some late-season replacements for your pinks and blues might be:
Japanese spirea "Genpei" "Crispa" etc.
Agastache "Blue fortune"
Berberis "Rose glow"
Eupatorium "Little Joe"
Echinacea
Platycodon
None of them replaces a rose, though.
Lately, I find there's a Zen to Ideasshare's postings - one that says "don't take things too seriously". But the zen gets tainted by business interests...

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 3:35AM
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drtygrl

"Lately, I find there's a Zen to Ideasshare's postings - one that says "don't take things too seriously". But the zen gets tainted by business interests..."

Well said.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 12:24PM
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honorbiltkit

I think your garden is charming, even when The Fairy is not in bloom. The mix of colors and textures and shapes in your foliage doesn't seem to me to be lacking anything.

If you want perennials that flower at a certain time of year, you might check Bluestone or one of the other online nurseries that lets you search by numerous variables. Alternatively, you could put some annual seeds out and see what happens.

Best of luck. You have a smashing start.

If you are very brave, you can even try wildflower mixes for your area, if you are prepared to be quite severe with the plants that are quite in your face. [Last spring I dug up some small bit of grass and put perennials in for a cottage garden. The little plants looked so lonely, however, that I broadcast wildflower seeds, with a shocking outcome.

This is AFTER I cut down the sunflowers, which were scaring small children. I had non-stop riotous color until frost, but then a huge mass of plant matter to remove. Now I have located all of my perennials except the peony, which is not yet up, and I intend to be more judicious in my annual or wildflower plantings. Maybe alyssum and snapdragons.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 4:14PM
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