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Help me fill this bed... (pictures)

Posted by joannemb 5b (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 24, 10 at 19:24

I just don't know what to put here inside the boxwoods around the tree. (Excuse the ugly yellow supports--they will be gone soon.) I was thinking hostas (Guacamole or another bright/lighter green to contrast) but the shape is odd... not a true circle and the tree isn't centered, so I'm not sure how to go about filling that space with hostas. Would 3 (guacamole gets about 2 ft. wide) around the tree be sufficient? That variety of hosta is more upright, which would give me some height. I think I'd like some height inside the boxwoods--as I will be keeping them a short hedge as they grow in (they were just planted this past Summer.)

Open to any ideas! I've thought about it so much I think I need a fresh opinion at this point...

[URL=http://img91.imageshack.us/i/dsc02384h.jpg/][IMG]http://img91.imageshack.us/img91/706/dsc02384h.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

[URL=http://img718.imageshack.us/i/dsc02383y.jpg/][IMG]http://img718.imageshack.us/img718/2624/dsc02383y.jpg[/IMG][/URL]


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Sorry, these links should work--for pictures

Sorry you have to cut and paste it in your browser

http://img91.imageshack.us/i/dsc02384h.jpg/][IMG]http://img91.imageshack.us/img91/706/dsc02384h.jpg

http://img718.imageshack.us/i/dsc02383y.jpg/][IMG]http://img718.imageshack.us/img718/2624/dsc02383y.jpg


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RE: Help me fill this bed... (pictures)


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RE: Help me fill this bed... (pictures)

Thank you!


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RE: Help me fill this bed... (pictures)

Ok, no response ... I think hosta would be fine here as long as it is not getting hot afternoon sun (and even that is not so bad if there is adequate moisture). I think the bold leaf shape of the hosta will contrast nicely with the dark green, small leaf form of the shrub.

What is the sun exposure of this area throughout the day?


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RE: Help me fill this bed... (pictures)

Thank you for responding :)
It faces East, but I have had hosta in that bed in the past (before we re-did the landscaping) and they do fine. For a medium sized one with a say 2 ft. span... how many would you put there? I'd like to put about 4 or so around the tree... but know I'm supposed to stay in odd numbers. 3 seems sparse and I'm not sure 5 would fit.


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RE: Help me fill this bed... (pictures)

Did you rule out floribunda roses?


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RE: Help me fill this bed... (pictures)

Hmm, I do like the rose idea...
After researching the floribundas it seems the lowest growing ones are about 3 feet -- would that be too high for the tree there? The trunk of the tree is around 3 1/2 ft.--just wondering if the tree will get lost in all the roses?

Also, I'm not thrilled about the idea of straggly branches there during the winter. I like the hosta idea because they disappear throughout the winter, but do like the idea of a fuller look (roses) with blooms.


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Maybe groundcover roses?

Maybe a groundcover rose? I know absolutely nothing about them....but they would be lower to the ground so as not to compete with the tree, but would fill the space and add color:

http://www.millernurseries.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=194

or

http://www.highcountrygardens.com/catalog/product/82730/

Would maybe still be unattractive during the winter though? Just concerned about that because it's right in the front of my house, and here in Cleveland it's winter mor than it is spring/summer :(


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RE: Help me fill this bed... (pictures)

Have you thought about Huechera's? The burgundy leaved ones would give some additional color and if you check you will find some that are evergreen so they would be there all winter also. Off the top of my head, one that I have is Amethyst Myst and it stays evergreen. The other thought is Lavender. Also evergreen so you would have leaves all winter. Both work in my zone 5 and stay evergreen. Both would atleast get the size of the hosta you are looking at, even a little bit larger over the years. Both would enable you very easily to get 5 plants in the area.
CH


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RE: Help me fill this bed... (pictures)

  • Posted by mjsee Zone 7b, NC (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 28, 10 at 15:49

Honestly? I don't think you "need" anything else in that bed. Negative space can be a good thing...If you really feel like you NEED something...the Hosta 'Guacamole' would be a good choice and has the plus of being one of the fragrant hostas.

Don't be discouraged that you've received few answers...it's the busy season for many of us.


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RE: Help me fill this bed... (pictures)

Thank you mjsee :) I'm back and forth about it--and am now thinking maybe I'll see what some hostas look like there---they're easy, not too expensive, and if I don't like them I can easily rip them out and find a place for them in the back yard. They are one of my favorite hostas so I'll enjoy them wherever they are. The more I look at that bed I think I agree with you that less is more. My other thought was maybe just some white clips--bellflower


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RE: Help me fill this bed... (pictures)

I've thought about posting a number of times, then didn't, because I wasn't sure how my "thinking" would be received.

So, first I'll ask a couple of curious questions:

How tall is the tree? I think you said it's "around 3 1/2 feet"? I don't have my math mind on, so I'm not sure what diameter that is?

What sort of tree is it?

How large will the whole bed be, including the boxwoods?

Now for the tough stuff ...

Lots of homeowners create "tree circles". When done with plant material, most are done with hostas. I found an article on this phenomena at the Renegade gardener site, but couldn't capture the exact address for the article. I'll post his general web address below. He is someone anyone gardening north of zone 6 should know about. He is a professional designer, garden writer, keynote speaker, etc. and his website has tons of info on tons of topics. I don't agree with him on everything. He hates daylilies, for instance. I don't. He also thinks "tree circles" are silly at best and the result of alien life forms, at worst.

I'm not saying your bed is like that, but since this is a focal point of your front yard, you may have to take some care to work against the dreaded tree circle effect. Designers on this forum talk about this sometimes ... It also shows up as a sub-category of perimeteritis, that is, the homeowners tendency to design by simply planting around or along the edges of things, rather than creating something more integrated and organic with their whole landscape.

You did say that "but the shape is odd... not a true circle and the tree isn't centered, so I'm not sure how to go about filling that space".

What if the space I mean the whole bed isnt really accomplishing what you want it to accomplish? Which brings me to my final questions:

What is the major point of your front garden? Is this bed helping you to achieve that goal?

If the above two questions dont make any sense, and youre thinking "But Im just dealing with the bed around my tree", then thats what Im trying to get at. If what you really want is a front yard that shows off your home to its best advantage, diminishing any flaws, guiding the eye and heart to your front door, then focusing too closely on a ring around the base of a tree wont help you accomplish your goal. It will simply put a ring of plants around the base of your tree.

What can happen sometimes is that we create a bed, then step back to view it. We know that it just isn't quite right. We wonder why? We assume it must be the plant material we chose, so we rip one thing out and put in another. But ... what if ... what if it's the concept of the bed itself that is somehow troubling our inner eye?

Hope this helps somehow, some way, some time

Wellspring

Here is a link that might be useful: The Renegade Gardener


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RE: Help me fill this bed... (pictures)

Wellspring,
Thank you for your input! It's so difficult on these forums to explain/show the entire vision... especially when I'm so bad at posting pictures. But truly I am not looking to do the ring around the tree thing--LOL there are plenty of folks in my development who have that tackled quite nicely. :) Here is another picture of the front of our house. We started from scratch, so it is very fresh and nothing has grown in yet. There will be mini hostas edging in front of the boxwoods (which in a few years will hopefully form a nice hedge.) The planters will be filled with flowers (I'm trying a one color garden---all white flowers with a few pops of color here and there.... About 25 globemaster allium should be popping up next month along the sides of the posts in front.)
Pictures: Sorry you have to cut and paste them

http://i41.tinypic.com/2jg4jm0.jpg
http://i39.tinypic.com/30cx2mf.jpg

The tree is about 6 ft. tall (the leaves start about 3.5 ft. up--I didn't explain that well before--sorry) That's why I wanted lower growing plants.

THe bed is odd shaped, but as you can see in the picture, without ripping out our porch and re-designing the walkway, it is what it is. The tree is a Tardiva hydrangea by the way.

I'm one of the very few people (it seems) partial to formal landscape design. I'd love to re-create a modern version of an old english garden in the front here. So I guess I don't want to "ring" the tree, but rather fill the bed in entirely with one type of plant---like seen in formal designs:

http://i40.tinypic.com/9gzkt1.jpg
http://i40.tinypic.com/1zftsua.jpg
http://i40.tinypic.com/2ib2kjb.jpg
http://i43.tinypic.com/b7ksog.jpg

If I do fill the bed with hostas---I want them to fill the entire space (much like pachysandra would do) not just ring around the tree, or look like separately planted mounds. I guess planting them close would be the best way to achieve that?

Hope this helps a little (and maybe redeems me a bit in your eyes! LOL---even if you're not partial to formal design) :)


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One more link

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.channel4.com/4homes/images/mb/Channel4/4homes/design-and-style/design-by-space/garden/gardens-gallery/corner-flower-bed-lg--gt_full_width_landscape.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.channel4.com/4homes/design-style/design-byspace/garden/garden-design-ideas-08-09-17_p_2.html&usg=__fPNK_Pax3hZLyTdnaBqsCKwVw2k=&h=320&w=492&sz=71&hl=en&start=251&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=hO6na2Lorp3u8M:&tbnh=85&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dformal%2Blandscape%26start%3D231%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26rlz%3D1T4ADFA_enUS342US342%26ndsp%3D21%26tbs%3Disch:1

I guess I need to post pictures of what I envision this to look like in a couple of years---once my little boxwood mounds have filled in. If the Green Velvets grow as large as they are supposed to, it should be a hedge in 2 more years.


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RE: Help me fill this bed... (pictures)

I had to look up your hydrangea at the Missouri Botanical Garden website. Have you found that site yet? It's really great for those of us gardening in the cooler zones. St. Louis is about an hour south of me, and it's in zone 6. Our local newspaper "officially" changed my zone from 5B to 6A about 4 years ago.

Here's some of what they say about your Hydrangea paniculata 'Tardiva':

"This Hydrangea cultivar is a vigorous, upright, rapidly growing, somewhat coarsely textured, deciduous shrub which typically grows 8-12' (less frequently to 15') tall. Features upright, pyramidal, sharply pointed, terminal panicles (to 8" long) of mostly sterile flowers. The showy, white, sterile flowers are somewhat loosely packed in the panicles and slowly turn purplish pink with age. The much smaller, fluffy, fertile flowers are partially visible beneath the showier, sterile ones. Larger flower panicles can be obtained by thinning the plants to 5-10 primary shoots. In full bloom, the weight of the flower panicles will typically cause the branches to arch downward. Blooms from late summer well into September, one of the latest shrubs to bloom. Oval to ovate, serrate, dark green, leaves (to 6" long) with undistinguished, yellow to purple-tinged fall color."

Elsewhere they mention it can be trimmed to a "tree" form. Is that what yours is?

Joanne- I also need to make a confession. I read a lot about landscape design and gardening and I'm in the garden every minute I can. I have a pretty good inner "vision" of all kinds of things according to friends, but ... could you tell there was going to be a "but?" ... I can't actually see your pictures. Just came in from a beautiful afternoon of garden clean up, but I do all of it absolutely blind. Could see for the first 27 years of my life, but that's quite a few years ago.

No one else had brought up the dreaded tree circles, so I was beginning to think that that was simply not an issue in your case. I wanted to bring it up on the chance that it might have been something to consider.

As it is, your additional comments and photos may well bring additional responses.

Are you expecting the arching branches that MBG describes?

Here's a link to their page describing your shrub ...

Here is a link that might be useful: Missouri Botanical Garden on Hydrangea paniculata 'Tardiva'


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Hope This Posts

I had to look up your hydrangea at the Missouri Botanical Garden website. Have you found that site yet? It's really great for those of us gardening in the cooler zones. St. Louis is about an hour south of me, and it's in zone 6. Our local newspaper "officially" changed my zone from 5B to 6A about 4 years ago.

Here's some of what they say about your Hydrangea paniculata 'Tardiva':

"This Hydrangea cultivar is a vigorous, upright, rapidly growing, somewhat coarsely textured, deciduous shrub which typically grows 8-12' (less frequently to 15') tall. Features upright, pyramidal, sharply pointed, terminal panicles (to 8" long) of mostly sterile flowers. The showy, white, sterile flowers are somewhat loosely packed in the panicles and slowly turn purplish pink with age. The much smaller, fluffy, fertile flowers are partially visible beneath the showier, sterile ones. Larger flower panicles can be obtained by thinning the plants to 5-10 primary shoots. In full bloom, the weight of the flower panicles will typically cause the branches to arch downward. Blooms from late summer well into September, one of the latest shrubs to bloom. Oval to ovate, serrate, dark green, leaves (to 6" long) with undistinguished, yellow to purple-tinged fall color."

Elsewhere their information says it can be trimmed to a "tree" form. Is that what yours is?

Joanne- I also need to make a confession. I read a lot and garden every minute I can. I have a pretty good inner "vision" of all kinds of things according to friends, but ... could you tell there was going to be a "but?" ... I can't actually see your pictures. Just came in from a beautiful afternoon of garden clean up, but I do all of it absolutely blind. Could see for the first 27 years of my life, but that's quite a few years ago.

No one else had brought up the dreaded tree circles, so I was beginning to think that that was simply not an issue in your case. I wanted to bring it up on the chance that it might have been something to consider.

As it is, your additional comments and photos may well bring additional responses.

Are you expecting the arching branches that MBG describes?

Here is a link that might be useful: MoBot entry for Hydrangea paniculata 'Tardiva'


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Gardens Are Easier

My apoligies for the double ... now triple post. How annoying of me! The web page kept telling me my message had been rejected ... so I posted again. It could have gone on forever.

I think I'll go eat some dinner and rest from the toil of 'puters. Gardens are easier!

Wellspring


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RE: Help me fill this bed... (pictures)

Wellspring,
Wow. I had to read your post twice to make sure I was reading it right. I am amazed and in awe that you could get all of that without the pictures... Wow! Yes, my hydrangea is in tree form--- It is quite a lovely tree when it flowers in mid summer---not your typical big hydrangea blooms (which I also do like, but in shrub form) but a very delicate lace like bloom. So pretty--I guess you could say that tree is my focal point (other than the front door which is flanked by columns.) Thank you so much for taking the time to advise me and LOL about your last post.... I wanted to say, "no more annoying than my trying to post pictures on any one of these forums.... over and over without success" LOL


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RE: Help me fill this bed... (pictures)

I think I might try White Nancy Lamium in there. I think Guacamole hosta will be too tall. I only mind the empty space because it is so dark (shaded by the tree)---maybe filling it with the lamium will brighten it up a bit


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RE: Help me fill this bed... (pictures)

I thought about your garden all evening!

I'm still not sure about this space, but thought that a hosta with crisper, more clearly defined markings than Guacamole might make more sense. There are all kinds of sizes and shapes in hosta. One that is smaller and is also fragrant is Diana Remembered. Her margin is described as "creamy white". Striptease has a gold center, like a leaf in a leaf, with a thin white strip between the gold and the outer green margin. Still, if you are using white as a dominant element you might want to have a clean looking hosta that keeps its white color. Another one that sounds interesting is 'First Frost' because it keeps its leavs looking good late into the fall.

I even went looking at the Missouri Botanical Garden for a pretty small shrub that might work ... came across an azalea, hardy to zone 5, that gets a "Plant of Merit" award from MoBot. It's 'Girard's Rose'. You'd get bloom in May and, apparently, exceptional red fall leaf color. It matures to 2' x 2'.

Anyway, what you use here, it seems to me, ought to be repeated in some way elsewhere in your garden. That "formal" thing is helped out when the plant palate is kept relatively limited. That's why hosta might still be your answer.

I've grown the solid leaf variety of Geranium macrorrhizum and adore this plant. It's semi-evergreen for me and is the quickest thing out of dormancy. It gets about 15" tall, is blanketed in rose colored blooms when the tulips are blooming, re-blooms sporadically, and is a well-mannered plant. I've read that the cream edged G. macrorrhizum 'Variegatum' is lovely in bloom or out. I've found this one at mail order places, but not found locally yet. The plain ones I got from Bluestone.

Don't laugh at this one, but I even wondered if you should try an annual around the hydrangea just to get an idea about how you like it. I know this is mundane, but what about old fashioned white impatiens? You know, the ones with the red dot centers? You might repeat them in a pair of containers with some sort of trailing plant ... ivy or ivy geraniums?

Still thinking ... but maybe leaving it is best?


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RE: Help me fill this bed... (pictures)

Wellspring...ok, JUST when I think I am set on the White Nancy, you make me google another hosta (Diana remembered) and it is GORGEOUS. I can't believe that last Summer during my quest for a medium sized hosta with a large WHITE flower I didn't find this one. The reason I like Guacamole is really for the white flowers--I find them lovely. Diana has the white margin and the flower--which at the hosta library look even less lavender than Guac. It is really beautiful. I don't know if I mentioned it, but planted in front of the boxwoods on the outer side of the bed are a mini hosta called "Carrie Ann" (If they indeed made it through the winter.) They are green with a very slight white margin---narrow leaf and that lovely white flower that I like. Not sure if Diana would be too similar-- leaving me with not enough contrast?

I'm all about the repeating as you said... I had planned to use the white nancy on the other side by the dogwood tree I planted last year (may have to do a little tree ringing but it's all in the name of bringing the plant over to the other side so please don't judge! LOL) :)

And funny you should mention annuals--impatiens even. I started the whole plan out going that route, but after my husband made these long rectangular (large) planters that sit on the porch, I thought I should fill that bed with low maintanance perennials.... I'll be quite busy tending to all of the annuals in them!

You are so sweet to take the time to give me such great advice---I am a newbie and have a lot to learn, but am loving every minute of the process. Thank you again---you have inspired new thoughts for me to obsess over now

Hmmmm, Diana or Nancy


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RE: Help me fill this bed... (pictures)

I would fill the whole bed with knockout roses; they are fabulous! Bloom all summer til the frost and they require no maintainance. I have at least 16 in one bed in the front of the house with a mixture of shrubs.


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