Help me to select flowers for this garden bed? (pic)

gardenbug(8b)March 21, 2010

I am going to plant "New Dawn" Climbing rose along my trellis/fence. I have never planted a garden bed before and I need help with selecting flowers (appropriate for this site and help on where to place them. I would like to stay within 3-4 colors. Dark pinks, purples, whites? I plan to put a small dwarf maple tree in the one corner to fan over one end of the pond. (I'm not overly concerned about any leaves in the pond)because it's just a small pond and I don't mind scooping out the leaves.

I think tall flowers in the back? Medium, then smaller ones in the front? Is that how it is done? I need help with choosing some flowers that the colors will go nicely with the light pink roses. A mix of perennials and annuals would be nice. I have a small backyard so I want to select cool colors. It is west exposure, morning shade and afternoon sun. The bed is 3' x 14'

I already have a lilac tree and a blue mophead hydrangea. We are currenly removing all the old grass and replacing it with rock. As always, thank you for your helpful suggestions!

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You know, a lot of the fun of gardening is trying something to see if it works and then trying something else. Suck it and see.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 6:40PM
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I guess you're probably right. Thank you for helping me.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 7:16PM
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I'm curious about the edge between the dirt and the gravel shown your photo... I assume parts of this area are still under construction? Some means of keeping grass out of the gravel (or dirt) will be needed.

I think there is some design aspect about this garden.
From your layout the garden bed is bisected by two apparently very different areas or "rooms". A usual technique would be to have the beds in each "room" be distinct. Other than that observation... I don't have much to offer in the way of plant suggestions.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 9:04AM
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First of all, most of the time, good landscape design works best by starting with the "big picture". I really struggle with keeping that in mind for myself, and it may seem odd if what you are really wanting is the names of a few plants just to give you confidence.

What helps me sometimes to think about the big picture is to jot down the 3 greatest needs that I want in my landscape. If I try to jot down something about just one area or just one favorite plant, I try to remind myself, "That's a detail. What's the general idea that that detail is answering for me?"

I give myself three, but this exercise gains strength when you can put it into a single phrase, something like "Private beautiful shelter". That would mean someone wants their landscape, perhaps a small backyard, to always work toward creating a private, beautiful feeling of shelter ...

Someone else might end up with a phrase like "Party Central!" That landscape would emphasize different priorities.

I don't really think you have to figure out your general goal, but it might help you to understand that it's harder for people to help when the focus is on one small part of a bigger picture.

But I'll go ahead and try to offer some suggestions.

First of all, a lilac tree, hydrangia, climbing rose and "dwarf" maple oriented in and around a 3 x 14 foot bed command quite a bit of real estate. They also represent a range of different plant needs. I'm 2 zones north of you and my hydrangias prefer some shade, particularly in the afternoon. If the dwarf maple is a Japanese maple, many of them prefer shelter from afternoon sun -- they really are what is called an under story tree, doing well in the dappled light under larger trees. I don't do roses, but they are sun lovers and hogs for nutrient. Lilacs are tough, but many prefer a cooler climate. Presumably yours was bought locally and will do fine.

Depending on the varieties of each, these shrubs / small trees will use much of your space. Your New Dawn rose, for instance, can reach 8 to 12 feet with a 3 to 6 foot width (found at Missouri Botanical Garden). Can you widen the border to 5 or 6 feet? Can this bed be lengthened?

Mulch might be all you need. For spring bloom, I would recommend that you plant daffodils and/or jonquils in several clusters. Thats a fall job and youÂll want to try to put them where things like the hydrangea can hide them when their foliage begins to fade. You might also choose some small grasses or grass like plants, especially under the maple to drape into your pond. Maybe Iris virginica? Just one or two of those. Possibly throw in some black mondo grass which is about a foot high and wide and has pink blooms in late summer. Start with 6 plants in 2 spots along the edge of the bed Â

Pansies, which for you may bloom from fall through winter, coming on strong about now, and die out in the heat, would look nice with the black mondo.

IÂd say try a grouping of something like Aster ÂLady In BlackÂ, but youÂd have to put them in a soldier row to fit in your narrow bed. Frankly, there just isnÂt much room for tall, medium, short.

I hope this does stir your imagination. I also wrote because I hope you would understand a little just how difficult it is to know how to respond to your query.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 9:30AM
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Getting a bit of a disjointed picture here - weren't the lilac and hydrangea already estabished in another bed next to your home rather than against the fence separating your home from the neighbors as shown here? (Picture on Trees Forum moved/deleted but there you were inquiring as to how to get the lilac to bush out... Answer was to leave some of the suckering around the base to grow up and fill in.)

So for this bed, you've planned on a Japanese maple for the pond end and a New Dawn climbing rose along the trellis. Per the literature, New Dawn is a vigorous grower - can reach 10' to 20' tall X 8' wide and would eventually overpower anything else planted in the space.

But if your heart is set on that and you feel you can keep it in reasonable bounds, plants with grey foliage and lavendar flowers would be a good compliment. Lavendars and nepetas, insignificant blooming Silver Mound artemesia. Or a clump or two of sedums with dusky rose bloom heads. All easy to relocate when the rose starts to crowd. A good low white bloomer for in front would be some good old fashioned mounding petunias.

Truth be told, it wouldn't take a lot to plant a 3'x14' spot.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 10:55AM
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A repeat of something I have stated numerous times. Never plant a Japanese maple in a location you wish to garden around or next to it. JM's are very prone to Verticillium wilt which is naturally present in most soils which enters the tree through roots that have been cut/nicked while planting annuals and perennials. Always plant maples in areas where their root systems will never be disturbed.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 11:55AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Per Nandina's comment about protecting Japanese Maple tree roots from disturbance, use a permanent ground cover such as Ophiopogon japonicus 'Dwarf' or similar as a clean ground plane below the tree. For a foreground to the rose at the trellis, why not something simple like a tall pink phlox, or Hollyhocks, both of which also like full sun.

I don't think you really have enough width for multiple layers of perennials along with the rose unless you widen the border to 5 feet or so. Salvia uliginosa is a long blooming tall blue flowered perennial that you could use for back ground, or something like Verbena bonariensis would also work. I might suggest combining that with a pale yellow flowering Kniphofia uvaria like 'Green Jade'/Ice Queen/Little Maid or Primrose Beauty for some vertical accent at height of summer, or an Aruncus doicus or Hydrangea paniculata if you prefer white blooms.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 12:37PM
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Wow, thanks everyone for all your help.

rhodium - Yes, it is still under construction. All the grass is being removed. I am replacing it with rock. The grey rock you see in the pic is the base (crushed rock) stones will be placed on top of that.

wellspring - Thank you for your explanation. Yes, my imagination is beginning to stir. I think for me, I would have to say I want private, serene, pretty. Does that work?

The lilac tree and hydrangea have been on the lot for years. Both bloom beautifully. They are next to my house on the opposite side of the fence you see in the pic. I can't widen the border because my yard is too small and narrow.

duluthinbloomz4 - Yes, you are right! The lilac and hydrangea are beside each other opposite the garden bed and next to my house. I'm leaving them there and letting the suckers grow to fill in the void.

I'm getting the picture that New Dawn climbing rose just might overpower everything. My fence is very sturdy and long. If New Dawn doesn't work here, I'll need some help in selecting a more suitable climbing rose. My heart isn't set on it but New Dawn was a suggestion given to me in another forum, which is why I chose that one. So I'm still open to other ideas. I just wanted a light colored rose that would look good on this fence. One that would be relatively easy for me to care for.

nandina - Thank you for your suggestion. Maybe I can find something else instead of the JM? See? this is why I love this forum. If it weren't for you folks, I'd end up with a small yard that looks like a Tarzan belonged here.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 12:47PM
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I took another photo to give a better idea of what my backyard looks like right now. A mess! I'm trying to incorporate my pond somehow into the garden.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 3:09PM
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Me again. I want to introduce a 'soft' look on that fence among the other plantings. Consider the hardier form of an Argentinian shrub, Cassia corymbosa, which will grow in your zone. Feathery green pea-type leaves all summer which burst into sulpher yellow blooms in late fall lasting about six weeks. It is cut down to the ground for the winter, mulched and pops up again in spring. Numerous online nurseries carry it.

You say the fence is sturdy. Could you perhaps hang some long baskets in several places along the top and keep them filled with seasonal plants; pansies in the winter, Creeping rosemary dripping down from one, summer annuals. This would give you color when inground plants are not performing and provide a background when they are.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 4:18PM
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Wow, I had to Google the Argentinian shrub, Cassia corymbosa because I had no idea what that was. It's very beautiful. Where do you think I should place it? In the corner of the garden bed beside the pond. I love the idea of the hanging baskets. I could just put some hangers on the posts. What about my roses? I want a climbing rose too but now that I found out New Dawn is too big, I need to find another one. Wait a minute, are you thinking maybe the hanging baskets instead of the climbing rose? Now I'm starting to have some fun!! lol

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 4:51PM
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You could incorporate the pond by adding some rocks with a bit of presence - groupings along the back curves. And not dinky rocks, something with some heft and shape but that won't overpower the size of the pond; and buried in a bit not to look plopped by some magical accident. Interplant the rocks with a few specimens that can handle a western exposure, but not sure what they would be in your zone. Dragon's Blood sedum is a low growing creeper, hens & chicks. An annual sweet potato vine could be trained into interesting cascades.

All I know is when it comes to gardening/landscaping for the DIYer is that the heart knows what the heart wants. Most of us non professionals cut our teeth by trial and error; by pouring over gardening books before the advent of the internet; by skulking around local garden centers; by overplanting things that just weren't quite appropriate; by making mistakes and replacing failures until something actually worked; by realizing it's a plant and not "my baby" (as I so often see plants referred to on some of the forums) so it can be uprooted, discarded, replaced without trauma.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 5:02PM
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Hi duluthinbloom, Yes, I'm planning to put some rocks behind there. The pond isn't finished yet. Thanks for telling me the shape of rocks to get though, I probably would have come home with the dinky ones. I will bury them a bit as you say so it will look more natural. I love your idea of the little planting interspersed. So, I will definitely do that. Okay, I'm all for the annual sweet potato vine too. I wish you all could just come over here for coffee and I could sit down and drink it while you guys all plant my garden. Just kiddin' - I really want to learn how to grow and take care of my garden. I just need some guidance. Thanks sooooo much.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 5:11PM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

I have been disappointed in New Dawn. It's such a powerful grower (thick canes) and the flowers are whiter than pink here.

White Dawn is a charming white climber suited for small gardens. Flowers remind me of a gardenia. Its canes love to grow whichever way they are directed. So much prettier.

I would try foxgloves in the bed and use Campanula rotundiflia as an underplanting. Pink snapdragons or purple delphiniums could be used for background height if you don't like foxgloves.

You may decide to add a clematis?!

The rose choice is the most important. Are you familiar with HelpMeFind? Search for pictures of roses there.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 3:07AM
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I tried some rough sketching - the square shape of the bed bothered me so I made it curvy, and added rocks (I suggest replacing those edging blocks with natural stone). For plant choices, one option would be lots of Autumn Joy Sedum - or something evergreen, maybe heathers or periwinkle.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 4:42AM
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Quite frankly this space doesn't look very functional... I don't live there but it is not a place I would want to sit in... I'm not sure why though.

The "garden room walls" are very nice and make the space have potential, but it seems to be kinda small like an small quaint room overloaded with knick-knacks.

If the pond doesn't fit into the plan then dig it up (after all it's a solid liner) and move it to where it will work.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 9:15AM
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Thank you everyone for all your helpful suggestions.

Yesterday, I purchased 2 climbing roses (Polka) they are an apricot/peach color, hardy, vigorous climbers, disease resistant and a strong fragrance. The owner of the nursery helped me to select them. I think they will look really pretty along the fence. They'll get planted today.

iris_gal- Yes, I am thinking of delphiniums. I'm wondering now that I've chosen apricot/peach colored roses, how will they work with purple shades? I don't know what foxgloves look like, so I'll go and google those. I like all your suggestions. Thanks very much.

timbu ~ Wow! thanks for taking the time to do this for me. Everything looks so much softer. OMG. How do I get my husband to change all this again? lol. He's going to kill me. hahaha

Rhodium-I agree with you. It's still kind of harsh looking. I'll keep working on it. Do you like what timbu laid out for me? I like the curvy garden bed don't you?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 12:43PM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

I love apricot roses! Now the color scheme has changed! I'm more experienced with your orig.

Polka has lovely colors and I would suggest taking a bloom to the nursery when you choose companion plants. Or bring the plants home on trial. I was convinced a certain rose would be a splendid color with my existing climber. The nursery gave me a bloom. OMG. What an error. Looked disastrous. The joys of gardening!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 3:35AM
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Yes, after all that, my color scheme has changed. I decided on this color because not too far off I am growing pyracantha with orange berries and I thought the apricot would look better than pink. Now I'll have to start another thread asking everyone what looks good with apricot? lol

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 11:46AM
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Cadence, I'm going way out on a limb here and I hope you will take this the way it's meant. I really have the utmost empathy for new gardeners because the learning curve to success is very steep and I was there long ago.

I think you would be well advised to find a landscape designer who will come out and do a plan on paper for you. This should not be as expensive as it will be if you buy plants and situate them inappropriately and have to replace them. You will be able to do the work yourself and buy the appropriate plants for the area. I surmise that you live at the coast, either on the island or the mainland, in a metro area and there should be someone there IRL who will help you. I live in the same province but a lot further north where such experts are few and far between.

You are asking for advise when you are part way thru the project and we don't even know what style garden you want. It's not a situation where the advise you receive will ultimately be very useful to you.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 8:53PM
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