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Help with small corner garden plan (using existing plants)

Posted by tblmom 6 (My Page) on
Sun, May 2, 10 at 15:58

I'm a newbie gardener and I wanted to rework the existing plants in the backyard of our new house to create a small corner garden along our back fence. It will end up to be the shape of a quarter circle, about 8-9' in length along the 2 straight sides. I have a little room to go longer on one side if need be, but not too much longer since we want to put down a patio next to the small garden.

Currently, the plants that came with the house include:
-Hibiscus, which takes up that back corner space, and a spirea bush along one side of the fence (pretty much takes up the length of the fence). The rest of the area is empty (the plants are currently spread out over a 15' narrow strip).
-3 Little spire Russian Sage plants
-3 Salvia 'May Night'
-3 Gaura lindheimeri 'Blushing butterflies'
-6? Rudbeckia (I think, I can't tell yet, they're just starting to come up...probably the Goldstrum)
-9 Asiatic lilies (yellow-orange)
-6? Irises - purple
-three random plants I got as a freebie from another plant order (1 achillea coronation gold, 1 guardilla 'oranges and lemon', 1 rudbeckia moreno)

My problem is that everything is either purple or yellow (except for the gaura) and approximately the same height. I'm not sure how to fill in the rest of that semi-circle without it looking too much like a checkerboard. I would prefer not to have to buy additional plants since we spent a fortune on our front yard garden this year.

If you have made it through this entire post and have any ideas to offer, I would be most grateful!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Help with small corner garden plan (using existing plants)

Hi, I'm not a regular on this forum, just started browsing through posts looking for info relevant to my own situation. I think you'd get some good responses if you post on the Perennial forum as well. It does sound like the bed would be a nice size and shape. Purple and yellow is a good color combination. Although some plants are natural companions while others imho sort of don't go together. For ex., I think sage, salvia, gaura and rudbekia go together, not sure about integrating them with lilies and irises. But I could be mistaken, the Perennial forum would probably be more helpful.

Anyway, you can avoid the checkerboard look by planting in drifts (each type together in a natural way, not interspersed randomly and not in rows or squares). Of course you'd want to be sure they all take the same amount of sun and be aware of any differences in water usage before coming up with a plan for the space. The height issue is more of a problem although you could pick up some taller shrubs or grasses and shorter plants for very little money at a box store. Before you do anything, though, I would highly recommend getting a book called "The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer" by Cohen and Ondra. It is filled with information about planning perennial beds and entertaining to read as well. I so wish I had had it when I started gardening five years ago, I would have saved myself a lot of time and money.

hope this helps


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