Newbie looking for advice

ptwonlineMay 8, 2013

So last year i began gardening, and I successfully planted a bunch of shrubs that lasted through the summer and winter, and have bloomed again this spring. Yay me!

Now I am looking at planting more flowers. However, I have made one discovery about myself in the past year: I'm a bigger control freak than I thought, and I don't like it when my plants spread without my express permission!

Case in point: I also put down some Sweet Woodruff under a larger shrub just to fill in the space and cover the bottom a bit. I knew that it was a groundcover and would spread, but I never expected that i would react so negatively to it. I see how the centers get so kind of ragged and will need to be uprooted and divided, which is a turn off for me. It's also growing at all sorts of points though the mulch and so I'm really unsure how the mulch should be arranged to handle a spreading plant like this while still providing cover for nearby shrubs.

So basically what i am looking for is this: nice, colorful flowers that can grow for a few years and not worry about them spreading all over the place. Ones that either bloom for a long time or can be easily deadheaded to get some reblooms. Oh, and that won't need digging out and dividing.

Are there perennials that fit this bill, or should I be looking at annuals instead? I would think annuals fit more of what I need, but I would prefer to have to replant only every couple of years instead of every year.


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I would suggest that you repost and title your message something like, 'Suggestion for Plants that are Well-Behaved'. You may get more hits.

You may also want to do a search on this site: Well Behaved

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 2:35PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Get yourself to the local library, and tell them you want to read a copy of The Well-Tended Perennial Garden by Tracy DiSabato-Aust. There are descriptions of many perennials describing the amount and type of care they need. Poorly behaved spreaders are high on her hate list, so it should be quite helpful.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 2:53PM
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Another valuable resource for planting the right thing in the right place the first time out is 'Perennials for Every Purpose' by Larry Hodgson. It describes hundreds of perennials in a lot of detail--far more information than you'll find in nurseries, nursery catalogs or on plant tags.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 7:05PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. Even simply knowing the common terminology like "well-behaved" will be a big help in checking resources.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 11:08AM
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Noooo, don't say unkind things about sweet woodruff!

When it comes to groundcovers, the closest to "well-behaved" is "won't strangle your other perennials & you don't need a flamethrower to control it". Sweet woodruff is positively demure for a groundcover. If you don't like sweet woodruff you may want to reconsider & switch to mulch.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 3:49PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

It is a thug in my Pacific Northwest garden and I'd never advise anyone to plant it. I've been trying to dig it out for years.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 8:31PM
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