Recommendation for perennial or shrub for border?

sydneye(7b)March 19, 2012

Hi there, not sure if I have this in the correct forum or topic, but, here goes. We redid our front yard a few years back, tearing out a portion of lawn that was sloping towards the house, replacing it with a flagstone pathway and a short retaining wall only a foot or two high (to try and flatten out that front lawn and establish better soil and drainage). It looks lovely, and the drainage is a million times better (we have glacial clay in our area that makes things without sufficiently amended soil struggle), but, the choice of plants we used, though not bad, needs to be addressed. The area faces due east, and gets unobstructed morning sun, but then afternoon shade due to the proximity to the house which is a two story. In the background, against the house we have a large rhododendron, some astilibe, many lenten roses, a calla lily, fox glove, holly hock, an evergreen climbing hydrangea, a pink climbing rose against the fence (being planted soon) multiple french and English Lavender, and a regular hydrangea (all edging the substantial fence and arbor we also built.

The area in question has a 2+ foot width of space between the wall and the newly established lawn. It is curved towards the house, and looks somewhat like a very curvy m that doesn't come in much at the center. In the area bordering the lawn I had planted some chocolate cosmos, seathrift, columbine, salvia, lupine, sunshine blue blueberry shrubs, and vinca. To the right of this area we had multiple other plants already established such as spanish lavender backing up on a large birch tree, a leggy looking pink rose plant, lambs ear, and a patch of white daisies surrounding the birch. I have also planted a few poppies in that area. Due to the afternoon shade and problems with fertilizing, I would like to move the blueberries to another location as well as remove the corsican mint and vinca which is pretty, but has become somewhat for a weeding problem, as in, I can't weed around it, and it is becoming invasive. I am not sure what to plant in their places... :( I have 3 blueberries, and 4 vinca.

Can anyone think of a plant that may work with mid afternoon shade, and bright morning sun that would be at least a perennial (coming up in spring and not leaving until fall), or a smaller evergreen shrub that would possibly also flower? I may be able to post a picture of the area, but am not sure how to do that. I need something that will look pretty, but wont take over the area as I have planted quite a few spring bulbs, and some for summer, and would just like the area to look established, and consistent with the rest of the yard. I have contemplated bringing a few hostas to the front yard, so, that may be an option as well. I also have a lot of iris, dahlia, echinacea, manhattan poppy and a few other bulbs to plant, but need some suggestions for something a bit more permanent for that area.

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To imbed pictures into your thread, upload them to a photo hosting site. Search Google for such if you don't already have one you use. There are many free sites.

Once the picture is uploaded to the site, look for a link titled "share." Click on it and it will provide options to get various codes (for different size pictures, etc.) When you find the code for the full size picture, click on and highlight it. Use control & C to copy it. Then return to the message you are composing and use control and V to paste it directly into the message. If you got the right code, it will show up in preview. If not, go back and look other html code.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 6:40PM
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Thank you! I will do that in about an hour! :)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 6:44PM
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Okay, here is a link to some photos of the yard taken I guess two years ago. It looks sparse, some of these plants have grown larger. We did have acidanthera growing, but it was damaged during a very cold snap we had a few years ago, and I don't know if it will come up this year. I'm also realizing we have some bletilla striata as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Flikr photos

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 9:07PM
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Your initial post is long with so many details that it doesn't exactly jump out to the reader what your question is. Then your link takes us to where you have many pictures. It's too time consuming to try to figure out which is the correct picture that matches up with your question. When you go to the picture you see the "share" link right there. After you click on it look at the bottom of the box and you'll see "grab the html code. Paste that code here.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 12:10AM
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After reading this, it seems like you're wondering what you can replace blueberry bushes and vinca with. If that's the case, I'd look at red-flowering currants for the blueberry and kinnikinnick for the vinca.

The kinnikinnick will definitely be an improvement over the vinca although it may take a bit to get established and start spreading. I have daffodils growing up through mine.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 8:52PM
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Thank you! I was actually thinking of the flowering currants too. We love them on the other side of the yard, I was just wondering how to incorporate them. I know they can get quite large, do you think this would be problematic bordering the lawn (since the space available between the pathway and the lawn is only about 3 feet wide.) That was one of the reasons I liked the sunshine blue blueberry so much, as it added some nice evergreen structure to the yard without being overbearing. I will definitely check Kinnikinnick. Is it easy to weed through? The vinca has been a nightmare, as has the corsican mint.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 9:57PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Poor summer aspect from the currant, keep that in mind. Like other low carpets the bearberry will have to be kept weeded, and often only does well really well on a sandy soil in full, hot sun. Otherwise you may get a thin cover with lots of blackening and spotting, the latter a problem with manzanitas in general in this region - even though hairy manzanita and bearberry are native here.

In the wild you often see bearberry growing out over rocks, road cuts and other barrens, ahead of taller plants that come in after it, take over if permitted to do so.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 10:38PM
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If you only have three feet, the currant will be too big. Maybe a snowberry or serviceberry. The serviceberry will eventually get too big but the ones I've seen in yards are very slow growing.

If you don't want it too tall, you could go with a penstemon but I'm not sure about their light requirements.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 1:09AM
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