I'm not good at this design thing...need help

bgaviator(7)April 30, 2013

I really could use some help. I am not sure what to do with this space to make it look nice. I started this area last year...it was just a weed bed before I started working with it.

I will tell you what I currently have going in it right now....and I also must state that this is my in-law's house, and that they really don't have an interest in gardening...and they won't really take the time to keep things in check....so with that being said, I always try to keep "relatively maintenance free" in mind when choosing what to do. This is really my project for the time being, but I may not always be around to take care of "their" garden.

In the back you can see I have three pygmy crimson barberry shrubs. I think I spaced them out ok....I think they get maybe about 3ft wide? There will still be some space in between them when they are fully grown I think....they seem to be growing slowly.

In the back left/right corners I have a smaller variety of butterfly bush.

In front of each barberry shrub I have May Night Salvia.

You can see my lambs ear plants on the left and right side.....I really don't like them....they are too aggressive in their growth, and I'm just afraid they will get out of control if someone isn't always there to keep them in check.

In front of the lambs ear I have some type of coreopsis plants.....I am not really too fond of them either.

I would really like to rip out the lambs ear.....my idea is also to line the front this year with Annuals....maybe Geraniums or Dragon Wing Begonias.....This area is full sun, and will get blazing hot in the afternoon.

If this was your garden, and keeping my certain requirements for low maintenance and a full sun area in mind...what would YOU do with this space? I just feel I really suck at this gardening thing....I am not good at visualizing how things will look....and going to a garden center and seeing just how many things there are to choose from is overwhelming sometimes. Thanks!

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I agree the lambs ear could get out of control. The people I know who grow others have to dig out the spreaders each year.

I think you may like the coreopsis more as it fills in and matures. It will probably look quite nice with the salvia in a year or two. You might want to plant them in small grouping though instead of lined up. Think of small drifts of the plants mingling together as opposed to small plants dotted in between each other.

I'd consider some smaller grasses. Sedum and echinacea come to mind too.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 11:41AM
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I don't think I would mind the lambs ear if I could make some type of barrier to keep it small and tidy. I have a bunch of Lowes paint buckets I bought a couple years ago to make self-watering containers out of (failed experiment).....I have wondered if I cut the bottom of the bucket out, and then put the bucket over the lambs ear and pounded it down into the ground so many inches, if it would keep the plant contained.

Maybe I should move the Salvia into a group of 3 plants like in a triangle shape in between and in front of the barberry shrubs? Is it too late to move the Salvia now if this would look good?

I am not sure if this kind flowers/seeds or not...I just planted it last summer (came from a coworker's plant)...so far just seems to be a clump of soft leaves.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 11:59AM
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It is definitely not too late to transplant here in zone 5. I'd expect you are ok ther in zone 6 unless you end up with high temps and no rain.

I would dig up the 3 salvias and split each in half and make two triangular plantings. If you want a symmetrical look put a triangle in front if each barberry. I would tend more towards making them a bit off center with one corner of the triangles overlapping with the front if the barberry. I'd plant them fairly close--the salvia I have increases in size slowly.

Some easy annuals would be marigolds cosmos zinnias and cleomes. All could be directly sown into the garden from seed.

I have heard of people doing the lambs ear in buckets. Worth a try. I love the silvery look of the plant.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 1:01PM
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Thanks, I am actually in 5b. I keep trying to list that as my zone on this site and it keeps setting in zone 6

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 1:42PM
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