It's shady...NO! It's sunny?
I hope someone can give me some advice about a planting bed beside my driveway. The driveway runs pretty much west to east and this bed is on the north side of it. There's woods - mostly oak with some pine, hickory, and persimmon - along the drive behind this bed. To complicate matters, the drive curves in an S shape, which means that there are some trees to both west and east of the bed even though they stand back from the drive itself. Clear? I'm not surprised.
So...when we moved to this place there were lorapetalums planted in the driveway bed. They were almost dead. In the first place they had had no care for months. But also the soil in this bed is poor and sandy. At least drainage is perfect! But we have had moderate drought for several years and the bed tends to dry out very quickly. I moved the ailing lorapetalums to another area and amended the bed with compost and stall cleanings and put in cannas, thinking that they should do well in a south facing exposure.
The cannas failed to grow well, probably because the bed was not really rich enough but also because there is not enough sun there during spring and early summer. I spent one Saturday checking hourly to see whether it ever received full sun. It didn't. I moved the cannas to a full sun exposure and they took off like rockets. They are now about 9 feet tall and blooming like crazy, compared with about 2 feet and hardly any blooms in the driveway bed.
So then (late May or so) I decided to treat the bed as a shady area since it was evidently too shady for cannas. I planted caladiums. They grew VERY well at first and made a lovely bit of color there until late July when, it seemed that the earth turned and - WHAT!? - my driveway bed is now in full, blazing sun every afternoon and my caladiums are brown and crispy.
This is obviously a problem of exposure that changes as the earth's tilt moves during the season. But WHAT can I plant there that can tolerate this? Actually, I would prefer something that would thrive there but that may be asking too much. I am not really particular - perennials, annuals, shrubs. I would like something that would bloom or have colorful foliage and have a fairly long season of color because the drive is very long and boring otherwise. Any ideas?