Low maintenance shrubs to grow near house

giddyupgo(9a)June 16, 2011

Hi all,

I was just over in the California forum asking this question and thought I'd copy it here since it is really more of a shrub question ...

We live in a place with scorchingly hot summers (in the 100s for several weeks in the summer, with averages in the 90s). Our house sits smack in the middle of a clearing so there is no shade.

I'd like to plant some shrubs or other ornamental plant around our deck. I think they would need to be non-flowering because my kids spend a lot of time on the deck in the summers and I don't want anything that will attract a lot of bees, unless such a thing exists as a bee-repellent flower.

You'll all have to forgive me because I haven't done much gardening, and when I try I tend to kill things just by looking at them (don't worry, I'll be sure to shield my eyes every time I walk down the deck, haha). So I need tough, forgiving plants and probably also plants that are low maintenance as well as tolerant of heat and full sun. Also probably need my answers dumbed-down. :-)

Thanks in advance!


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey becky ...

cant really help you with your zone.. since its not even close to my z5 MI ....

but there are two very important things for you to know..

first.. there is a PROPER PLANTING TIME ... and mid summer with 100 degree days it NOT THE RIGHT TIME ... others should be able to help you define such ...

though many experienced peeps might get away with it.. you.. as a neophyte.. wills struggle greatly ...

as to flowers and bees ... unless a child is allergic ... it is my experience .. that given a food source .. and short of intentionally irritating a bee ... they are going to go about their business and not bother most peeps ....

thought there are a few extreme bee magnets ... i would suggest to you ... that leaving out every single plant that might attract a bee will lead you to a very boring landscape ...

instead of over-protecting the kids.. teach them to respect nature.. and you will be much further ahead ... especially as the get older ...

good luck


ps: one the greatest problem with bees being attracted to peeps.. is fragrance in anything .... its always the woman who perfumed herself to come to a garden tour. ... its the guy drinking beer [yeast] .. back in the day.. OMG.. hairspray was magical .... shampoos ... deodorants ... ANYTHING with a heavy fragrance is an attractant ...

an unwashed stinkee gardener.. is just a pile of compost.. lol.. bees are not interested.. nor are dirty crumb-munchers ...

and the worst thing to do.. is have a nervous breakdown and start swatting at them.. i simply give a queen-like regal wave.. and the motion scares them away ... on the other hand.. if you swat it.. all you do is really piss them off ...

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 8:05AM
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Hi Becki

I think I have the answer. Go to a local nursery and ask to see all of their spireas. I love spireas--got about a dozen--and many work in zone 9. They flower briefly, but I've never noticed bees being overly thrilled with them. The main thing is, spireas require almost no maintenance--they're very resilient and responsive. Plus they come in many sizes and foliage colors. Perfect for a newbie. Stick 'em in the ground, keep them well watered to start them off, maybe sprinkle a few fertilzer pellets, and you're set. Each spring you can cut them back, which they really appreciate. Or don't! Spireas are the cats of the shrub world: self-reliant when necessary, but they also don't mind a little love. Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 11:56AM
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Spirea is a good choice. Weigela might also qualify. I'm not sure about CA appropriateness, but many new Weigela varieties are moderate size and have interesting foliage choices - variegated or purple/bronze for extra interest. It flowers early than has sporadic bloom throughout the season. it attracts hummingbirds which could be fun for the kids.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 9:14PM
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