plants for narrow raised bed

rustyshackleford333(5/6)August 26, 2007

We just completed a raised patio and have put a raised be around the perimetre. It is about 20" wide and on one side (facing the neighbours) we would like to put some sort of living wall (bamboo? cedars?) and on the longer section that faces the yard we would like to have something that rises up a bit (1-2 feet) that has season-long interest. Not sure if we want to do one type of plant or a mixture of two or three. We wondered if we should just do an long-blooming annual (impatiens?) that would allow us to experiment a little more - but wondered if anyone had any good perennial suggestions. Has anyone has seen a situation like this and might have some plant suggestions - for both the lower rising front edge and the high-rise green wall at the side.

(Pics here: )


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Your house and patio look great. The raised beds complement them nicely in my opinion.

Looks like the area is pretty open so I assume it gets a fair amount of sun? I was thinking maybe Nandina aka Heavenly Bamboo would work well in that space. That could qualify as zone stretching for you however. Anyway they get at least six feet tall (much more so in warmer climates of course).

You might be looking for a more cold tolerant evergreen. Either way I hope this helps.

Oh one more thought. I double checked the cold tolerance of Black Nigra Bamboo for you and it is considered to be tolerant to zero degrees. That could also be pretty risky with your zone but I think would look great in the 'block the view of the neighbors' bed.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 5:51PM
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Thanks for the ideas - the patio faces NE, but the roof doesn't cast any shadow on the bed, so full sun.

We have had a nice, hot (but very dry) summer where we are almost always over 25C (80ish...or hotter) but unfortunately we do get a good blast of winter come January (-10C or lower - the 10's or 20's F ) so I'm not sure about the hardiness - I'll have to do some more checking and see about that - and if/where I can get the bamboo. If I can find a supplier (local nurseries didn't seem to have much to choose from) they will probably know best about the hardiness. Thanks for the names though - good place for me to start. :)

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 6:46PM
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You are very welcome. Let me tell you just a little more. First I don't know if you are familar with 'Heavenly Bamboo' but it is not real bamboo. I've heard it called false bamboo but really, its not bamboo at all. It is really sun, heat and drought tolerant though and tough as nails.

Second on the black nigra bamboo I bought mine mail-order from Forest Farm. At that time I was very happy with the plant and here in Zone 7 (generally down to around 10 degrees at the coldest) it has done fine.

Have fun with your project and let us know what you end up planting.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 9:25PM
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What a fun bed to plant, have you considered tall native or perennial grasses? Karl Foerster or some type of tall prairie grass? For fun in the summer you could even put some tall funky sunflowers in with them...Helen...

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 11:36PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

If you do plant real bamboo, research very carefully and make sure you have a clumping variety, which, BTW, will rapidly outgrow a 20" border. Running bamboos can and will travel underground 20 feet or more. They are virtually impossible to eradicate.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 6:06AM
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ornata(London UK (8/9?))

How tall is the raised bed? Bamboo rhizomes can travel sideways for quite a distance, but they don't go more than a couple of feet downwards into the soil.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 5:54AM
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Bed is about 24 inches tall of good soil - then gravel underneath that. I guess the bamboo might find its way out? I did take the time to put some a very thick layer of plastic cutting off the side bed (where bamboo might go) from the other bed (where we don't want it to spread...)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 2:53PM
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