Redesigning rock garden

mbarstow(6)August 18, 2010

I desperately need help. I just ripped out my perennial garden that I had for 20 years. I got tired of the lack of life and color after their 2 weeks of splendor. I would love some ideas of dwarf shrubs that offer different shapes and color, like low growing blue spruce and shrubs with silvery leaves. Maybe a border along the rocks of light yellow hosta? This area is 20' long by 12' wide and then narrows down to 6' wide in front of 4 arborvitae that are 12'tall. The area gets at least 5-6 hrs. of sun. All suggestions would be most welcomed. We are just north of Boston, no rain for weeks, obvious by the lack of lawn. Thanks so much for any help.

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Have you been to the Gardening with Stone or any of the gardening forums?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 10:56AM
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I would recommend the genus Berberis (barberry) as they have nice structure and excellent foliage colors. Some are deep maroon, some are yellow. One of my favorites is "Gold Nugget" which is a dwarf to about 18" tall and wide.
I also strongly recommend the genus Hebe which offers incredible variety in foliage shapes, colors, flowers, etc. A good one for you might be Hebe glaucophylla which gets a few feet high and wide and has greyish/bluish/silverish foliage. Any other Hebe would also be excellent. Some are tiny and some are huge. I like Hebe "McKean" which is dwarf dome shaped with bright green scaly leaves, and also Hebe pimeleoides which has black stems and tiny silver leaves and it creeps along the ground at about a foot high.
A crazy idea for you might be to replace your lawn with Thymus (thyme), a fast growing groundcover herb about one inch high that is fragrant, has nice flowers, can withstand brief drought, doesn't need to be mowed, etc. I have been wanting to replace my lawn with it but right now I can't afford it and I am not sure if my neighbors would approve.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hebe Society

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 3:15AM
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mbarstow , I have to agree with the above, and would only add maybe research some chamacyparis varieties, there are many out there that are not only slow growing but offer spectacular form and color combinations. I know I have planted several and haven't been disapointed with them in my garden.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 6:52PM
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backyardgrown(7b-8 NW MS)

I'm working on mine too. I'm so sick of the crabgrass taking over around June. I've got to put down a weed barrier because it's really hard to keep that particular bed weeded and then the plants get choked out by the weeds.

I have 3 magic carpet spirea that are pretty awesome. It toughed out our drought with little water and provide 3 season color.

Mine is in a tough spot between two oak trees, so I have to find plants that do well in dry shade. I never remember to water it and weeding that bed is the last thing on my list. The worst part? It's right by the road so everyone sees it! (I'm so ashamed.)

So far the only things that have survived reasonably well are the spirea, carex 'Evergold', a handful of the ajuga 'Burgundy Glow' that I planted and the *#^#&*#$ crabgrass. Oh, and the chipmunks. They are doing great out there!

I'm throwing in some daffodils this year because nothing will eat those and they are reliably hardy under just about any conditions. There are very few bulbs I can plant out there because of the vermin. My cat can't keep up!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 11:33AM
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