Best plants for border between stone wall and sidewalk

mattchowellMay 17, 2003

Looking for low growing perennials that will withstand western exposure and location next to a busy road and smother out weeds and ivy that comes over the wall. Flowering would be nice but not essential.

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You need an invasive! Something that would normally need to be contained (your street and wall sound like they'll do that) and thrive in the worst situation. I would consider Lysimachia clethroids (gooseneck loosestrife) very pretty in all seasons - good spring foliage, gooseneck white flowers rather dramatic en masse, and good foliage color in fall. Oh, I just realized this is not 'low growing' as specified. Well, consider it anyway!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2003 at 10:35PM
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Cynthia made an excellent suggestion about the gooseneck loosetrife, it's about two feet high prior to blooming, blooms may add another eight inches. Very pretty and a butterfly favorite too.

Hostas are also a very good choice, the cheapo variegated green and white ones multiply rapidly, and their leaves fill in fast to shade the soil to deter other plants from sprouting.

For a very-very low ground cover there are many creeping sedums to choose from, they also multiply quickly and are not expensive to purchase.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2003 at 2:45PM
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Pudge 2b

Goutweed a.k.a. Bishop's Weed (Aegopodium). 10-12" high, variegated leaves, no flowers - most people regret planting this because of it's invasiveness, but your situation sounds ideal. If you want to mix in flowers with this, Asiatic Lilies and Goutweed work well together, the Goutweed does not deter the strong stems/bulbs of the lilies. Unless the site is overly wet in which case lilies could rot.

Just wanted to mention that perhaps Trudi missed the "western exposure" when she suggested hosta. A western exposure is generally quite sunny and hot and IMO hosta would not do well with too much sun

    Bookmark   May 18, 2003 at 5:10PM
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My concern with gooseneck loosestrife would be not enough moisture in the location mentioned.

If my assumption is correct, I would think you might want to look towards xeric planting: thymes, artemesia, lavender, low-growing dianthus.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2003 at 8:56AM
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mina(Z5 Chicago)

I have the exact same spot but my strip is east facing and only about 6" wide.

It's incredibly dry and hard packed. also I am into native plants.

any suggestions that might apply to both of our situations?


    Bookmark   May 19, 2003 at 7:59PM
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I didn't miss the western exposure pudge, lol. I suggested variegated green and white hostas in particular as those with white can take a greater amount of direct sun without sunscald. Albo-Marginata is a typical supermarket hosta that can tolerate full sun here on Long Island, zone 7, without sunscald. During a prolonged drought, as with all plants, a drink from the hose or watering can is beneficial. Albo-Marginatas are easy to find, cheap to buy, and multiply rapidly.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2003 at 12:02AM
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cnm7(7a Albuquerque)

Pink evening primrose is the first plant that comes to mind.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2003 at 12:24AM
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CanadaGoose(Z5a Ontario)

Aegopodium varigatum - the varigated Bishop's weed, or Goutweed is deal for this sort of location. It will thrive in the hottest, dryiest, most miserable hardpacked soil. I have it growing in lovely clumps down the east side of my house where it is in hard packed clay. Nothing else will grow there, not even grass.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2003 at 7:20AM
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janet_MA(z5 MA)

How about day lilies? They can take lots of lousy soil, I have them where they collect road salt and sand. The don't grow very tall so you can see the rock wall behind them. They multiply rapidly (by division) and don't ley any weed grow through them. You can get varieites that bloom at different times so the display lasts a while. The can take full sun and nearly full shade - although my full shade ones don't bloom.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2003 at 9:17PM
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I have lily of the valley in this situation and it takes the rock salt that is sprayed from the road in the winter as well as the high school kids feet tramping up and down the block. Maybe it would work for you too.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2003 at 7:12PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I love Chameleon Plant a.k.a. Houttuynia Cordata Variegata. For your situation fighting ivy, this is your plant. Ivy is aggressive and will choke most plants. See below for a picture.

Here is a link that might be useful: Chameleon Plant

    Bookmark   May 25, 2003 at 10:46PM
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sbeas(z7 OK)

If the ivy is coming over the wall, I would keep trimming it so that it doesn't come down your side of the wall. I don't think much will smother out ivy without the something being a more miserable problem. Why are you limiting the plantings to low growing ones? Columbines would be nice if you add some height. I always thought they were for shade, but some yellow tall ones love being in full sun and are taller than the same ones in shade. If you want rampant plants, put in Goldsturm rudbeckia and it is evergreen and has yellow flowers when it blooms in early summer. It is just a ground cover until the flower stems rise up. Some mondo grasses would work and they can be had in miniscule sizes of mere inches. Ajuga is nearly flat to the ground and nearly evergreen with flowers in spring. Hardy geraniums can be had in various heights and have nice foliage and flowers.Cat mint comes in low to taller heights and the flowers go nearly all season. Just a few to let you think about. Sharon

    Bookmark   May 25, 2003 at 11:59PM
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ellemay(z8 TX)

I have a similar situation, but the bed faces east. I have planted a variety of salvias there and love them... most are evergreen here or at least root-hardy and they bloom at all different seasons. I also have a few spring flowering bulbs (daffodils, iris, alliums) for early color before the salvias kick in.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2003 at 12:12AM
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mina(Z5 Chicago)

I ended up planting native pachysandra in this 6" swath of hard packed soil, east facing between the sidewalk and the stone wall. it looks great.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2003 at 2:54PM
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lisazone6_ma(z6 MA)

I planted an area in front of my retaining wall with the sidewalk in front with low-maintenance, hardy shrubs all in burgandies and golds. I didn't want perennials or flowers that would have to be divided every couple of years and I figured the neighborhood kids would just pick them off anyway. I got everything low growing for the most part, and dwarf. I have a crimson pigmy barberry, emerald and gold euonymous, low rug type juniper, a yellow potentilla, gold mop cypress, two ornamental grasses, carex buchananii and a pennisetum rubrum. Oops - there is a burgandy daylilly out there and I just put in a purple heuchera to replace another grass I didn't like. I plan on replacing the heuchera with a sedum tho. THe pennisetum is annual for me but I think it's worth planting every year it makes such a statement. Ornamental grasses are low maintenance, can take brutal sun and drought, can take road salts - there are many that stay smaller - I think they fit your bill perfectly. They come in so many colors, stripes, etc. You can really make a statement with them without any flowers at all, altho the plumes they put out are considered their "flowers".

    Bookmark   June 25, 2003 at 9:36AM
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I have phlox along my wall and drivway, the low kind, pinks, white, purple, etc, every year I plant another carpet. It surrouds the rock wall over and onto my grass area cascading to a small table and chair area for suimmertime tea. Lots of compliments. Easy to grow. Craftylady_Ma.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2003 at 11:38PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Gardener extraordinaire and writer Lauren Springer has written about planting a similar "hellstrip" in Denver. I believe it was in an article in Horticulture within the last 5 years. Worth searching for.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2003 at 4:50PM
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