Mission Impossible ?

zigzagMay 29, 2008

Need suggestions for rock garden (i.e. low profile), shade tolerant plants for a small area beneath a thirsty cherry tree. yep, Mission Impossible.

Must be pest proof (hostas need not apply). Flower blooms preferred, perennial strength required. Goal is to incorporate near term beauty with long term longevity.

Area does not get enuf sun to support sedums of any description and is too dry (thanks to the cherry tree) to support much else without major watering (which I can do, but would rather not in the long term).

Have lots of portable rocks, and the means to build up between them with compost, but a shortage of plants to incorporate. A bit of a conundrum -

Any bright ideas, folks ??

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Wow...um... =)

Maybe some sempervivum varieties? I haven't tried any, but heard there are some that do well in part shade. I know they're tough, and some are really pretty, although I don't know how they are in the long run.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 12:37AM
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amyflora(7 NC)

I have had great experience with Epimedium sulphureum, or Yellow Bishop's hat, being very tolerant of dry shade. It was a staple at Fearrington Village when I worked on the gardening staff there for just this type of challenging spot in the garden. The rocks will make for good mulch of a sort, believe it or not!! I also have used:
-Cyclamen hederafolium (sp?)
-Ajuga 'Caitlin's Giant'
-Mazus japonicus
-Creeping Jenny - Lysimachia nummularia both golden and
green forms
I have even have had regular old oregano be dry shade tolerant.
-Would hellebores be too tall? They are doing just fine in my dry shade bed with so little care it is almost abusive on my part :)!
The Bishop's hat has shocked me with its beauty and tolerance of all sorts of conditions.

Hope this helps!! Am so envious of your rocks!!! Have a great gardening weekend!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 7:24AM
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Thank you, Amyflora and mBuck - great ideas here! I've already totally wrecked my 'plant budget' for this month, but armed with your suggestions, I'll be assaulting my fave local nursery w/ my fistful of 'blooming bucks' coupons late next week. Now I won't have to wander in there with that 'deer in the headlights' look! I have a plan, thanks to my friends!

Amy, a few of my rocks are leftovers from when I had to pull the dry streambed (stupidly, I didn't make my Garden Elves leave them all, just snagged a few of the rounded river rock variety). Meanwhile, my son works in drilling/blasting (yep, he plays with dynamite) and he'll show up occasionally with rocks of interesting shapes, sizes and colorations. I have a few niches of the above parked waiting for their place in the rock garden. Am itching to put them to better use!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 1:07PM
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amyflora(7 NC)

Zig, I had a wonderful purple rock at our old house that I could just kick myself for not bringing along. Did you know that in Japan the gift of a rock for the garden is considered a great honor? Your son is getting brownie points and probably didn't even know it. Can't wait to tell my son (he's only 8) about what yours does. How inspiring!

I thought of another couple of plants:
Creeping strawberry, Saxifraga stolonifera
Vinca major and minor, but think carefully before planting, can be thuggish.
If you ever get down to Sanford, I would be happy to share most of the plants I suggested. I have lots of Epimedium and Caitlin's Giant Ajuga to share. Just ask Adele!! I am always trying to spread the love!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 3:27PM
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