What would you plant ...

joydveenc7(7a)March 18, 2008

to cover an ugly foundation while some too small shrubs grow? My house is a ranch on a crawl space, and the windows on one end are five feet above the ground. Where the siding meets the foundation isn't pretty, and the only virtue of the shrubs that were there was their size.

Well, I finally replaced them last weekend with sasanqua camellias, but to get what I wanted and not overcrowd too much, I bought small ones that will take at least 3 years (I'm being optimistic here) to fill in some. They look a little lost. Perennials among them will help for half the year. I thought about planting carolina jessamine on trellis behind them. What would you plant there? That area gets about 6 hours of sun - it faces ENE. Thanks for your ideas.

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If you can train Carolina Jassmine on a trellis good luck to you. It shoots leaders over 6' in all directions in a growing season although mine are in partial shade. The Camellias would look lost. What about some Varigated Liriope and some Daylilies here and there? Liriope will stay colorful year round, except in the spring when they get rusty looking, but I use my mower with a grass catcher to trim them up.

Here is a link that might be useful: Propagating Perennials

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 8:59PM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

What about some grasses to fill in until the camellias grow up? They can be almost any height, and, while I would avoid the sawtooth-edged ones like pampas grass (they can give NASTY cuts if brushed against) they are quite attractive. You could move them to elsewhere in your yard, or discard them when the camellias were big enough. Other tall-growing perennials might work too, Joe-Pye Weed, Heleniums, etc., etc. Their main drawback would be the winter with no coverage - the grasses would only have a month or so after you cut them back in the spring...

Hellebores would like the morning sun - you would get flowers now, and a nice big clump of leaves for the summer/fall. There are any number of other perennials that would not get TOO big as to overpower the camellias, but that would fill in and look good. I would avoid the ones like cone flower, monarda or black-eyed susan that spread largely in the spring - they would be too much trouble. Garden phlox should do. Any of the lilies, esp. the shorter-to-medium height ones, should do fine with that much sun - I have several that get that much or even less, and while they lean a little to the light, they flower nicely.

Another thought for a trellis is clematis or a rambling rose - the sun should be enough for both to grow and flower.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 9:14PM
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Thanks for the warning about managing carolina jessamine! I thought that when the camellias grew larger the vines could come out or be moved, leaving a mixed shrub and low perennial bed. Sounds like the c.j. might swallow the camellias. Grasses are an interesting idea if they will tolerate an acid soil. Thank you both.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 6:43AM
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tamelask(z8a NC)

Or you could do temporary summer vines each year. Doesn't help with winter, but there's plenty of summer annual vines and there would be no problem moving things when you were ready to be done with them.

Carolina jessamine can be trained, but it does send runners along the ground you have to keep up with. They don't root in right off- so you just have to lift and tie them up. I think it would be hard to move after you were through with it- it's difficult to kill.

Another perennial vine that fills in fast is perennial sweet pea. It reseeds too much, so you have to keep it deadheaded, but it will bloom in hot pink most of the summer. It has some evergreen presence, but not on the trellis. You have to guide it up the trellis at first.

Problem with most of your perennial vines is that they would be almost as slow as your camellias at filling in or they are thuggy ones that might be a problem moving later. Clematis would be pretty, but you'd be lucky to get a good show until year 3.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 9:20AM
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I agree with the warning about Carolina Jessamine -- it's rampant.

I can't really think of anything that's evergreen and grows to over 5 feet and is really narrow and well-behaved.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 10:08AM
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You could consider growing a climbing rose on a trellis. There are several varieties which perform adequitely in hours sun.

Here is a link that might be useful: David Austin roses for parial shade

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 10:37AM
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A warning about David Austin roses: they are suseptible to blackspot.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 10:46AM
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tamelask(z8a NC)

well, i do have a podocarpus that would fit that bill, but it's taken several years to get tall- so i think you'd have the same issue of it coming in the same time as the camellias. sky pencil hollies maybe- not sure if they'd outpace the hollies. perhaps you could have something in big pots so that when the time came it would be easier to move?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 1:07PM
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That does it for the carolina jessamine. As a new gardener I once grew pink evening primrose from seed. Tamelask, I think you're right about the clematis and other perennial vines. But roses - how wonderful, even if I don't think I could keep the David Austens as gorgeous as those pictures. The annual vines for this year sound like a very good choice.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 8:18PM
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Someone mentioned grasses and that might be a great alternative that you can plant elsewhere after they have served their purpose. There is a very nice panicum called 'sheandoah'. It comes up early and remains good looking and upright all season. It has a reddish tinge mid-summer. It grows to about 2 1/2 feet. Pennesetum 'karly rose' is also a really nice shorter grass with very showy pink plumes. Its about 3 feet high when it blooms. Either of them will stay within bounds and won't gooble up space like some perennials can do. The panicum being the most well behaved. For the taller area, pennesetum 'tall tales' would be nice. Its a very graceful grass that blooms all summer beginning in June. It fills much more space then the karly rose or the shenandoah usually ending up around three feet wide. I grow alot of grasses and these three are my favorite. Adele

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 9:09PM
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