need some evergreen in my cottage/rose bed

ilovemyroses(8 Dallas TX)March 20, 2013

I have a new 10 by 140 foot bed that has many roses, 60+. I have recently had all the grass taken out and am now filling it in as best I can. This is a median on our quiet street between the sidewalk and street. FULL sun to part sun. No strong shade. Imported a lot of nice $oil, so should be good to go!

I have added day lilies, irises, lavender, betony, salvia, walkers low n., and more perennials....BUT I know I need SOME evergreen in there to give it some backbone. YET I don't want to forfeit TOO much bulk real estate from roses and more interesting stuff to boring ole boxwoods!

What has some cottage character and can help keep this place from looking like a perennial wasteland in the time from first frost (late Nov) to spring beginnings (Feb). A short window indeed, but it could help!

Thanks, and love this forum, just discovered recently!

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Look into nandina (can spread out of bounds), abelia (several new varieties with colorful foliage), rosemary (and I think lavendar and parsley are evergreen), cleyera, and "mopheads." I'm going by what is evergreen in my garden in zone 7b.
Sounds beautiful there!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 12:15AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I just figured out the same thing about my garden and started sacrificing some precious space to green.

I love arborvitae with roses. It's nice to get that screaming lime green color in somewhere, especially with red roses. I also like the very dark green color of dwarf common myrtle and of boxleaf eunoymous (sp!). I planted three of the dwarf ones in front of a pale peach rose to make it stand out better. Springtime viburnum, since it has very dark green leaves. Texas Privet looks great with roses, especially as a backdrop. I can't wait to see your bed in bloom!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 1:08AM
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ilovemyroses(8 Dallas TX)

louisianagal, yes, I forgot about rosemary. don't know about nandina, i think i hate it, but maybe there are some other varieties i am not familiar with. and yes lavendar and parsley...and gerrymander, too. wonder if some cleyera don't get huge? gotta look up mop heads! thanks, and its getting there!

hoesnemesis, yes, it is tough to do, i would think you in socalifornia wouldn't have any off time!! gotta look up arborvitae, I've heard of it and it seems i like it. and common myrtle and eumoymous, too. great idea on the viburnum, and surely texas privet will grow here, gotta look that one up too.

so it sounds like bushes are in order. Ive thought about texas mountain laurel as it is so pretty, but dang, i RUN from shade!!! I'll look these up friends, thanks!!

PLEASE POST PICTURES if anyone has a decent shot of this idea! I am LOST!!!

thanks!!!! being 10 feet by 140, i don't really have the backdrop that i see in some pictures. the 'back' is five feet from the front, then flips to another 'front'....yno??

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 8:04AM
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daisyincrete Z10? 905feet/275 metres

Your day lilies, iris and lavenders (if you clip them after flowering), will help to give some structure among the more amorphous shapes, but, I agree, it MAY look like a pretty, but slightly unsatisfying border without a few clipped evergreens.
I like clipped box in a border. It helps to give a full stop to the eye. Box balls or pyramids tend to pull a planting together.
It doesn't have to be box though. What about clipped olive trees? Can you grow these in Dallas?
They do need clipping about three times a year. I have used small olive tree plants to make a low hedge at the side of my garden.
These photos shows the hedge, the day before I clipped it. As you can see, it has started to lose it's structural look.

If you don't want to give up too much ground, you could use clipped lollipops of many different shrubs.

Then there are some plants that naturally make a nice bun shape, like the common purple sage in this little border.

Or even grasses, phormiums and other spiky plants help too.

I know you will make it look good, cos I have seen the list of your roses. I would love to have the space for even half of them!!!


    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 8:10AM
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Daisy and Renee (Hosenemesis) have given you some great suggestions. You might also look into coleonema (breath of heaven) which has tiny pink flowers. I've seen it with either bright green (Kelly green) leaves, or a lovely chartreuse that really stands out. The chartreuse cultivar is called "Sunset Gold." Just planted that and some phormiums in my own hell strip here in southern California. Another possibility might be coprosma, which comes in many colorful possibilities. The shiny leaves are an attraction all their own. Check winter hardiness for your zone for both coprosma and coleonema though. They should be good to about 20 degrees, but if you get colder than that, it could be a problem.
Louisiana gal's rosemary idea is a good one. Some of them can be very structural, but you have to be careful to select one that will do that for you. Stay away from Prostratus or anything that says "trailing," of course, but in addition, many of the "upright" varieties like Barbecue will be exactly that--tall spires without roundness or branching. Great if that's what you want, but not if what you had in mind was a lollipop. Finally there's also rhaphiolepis indica, Indian hawthorn, with pink flowers and dark green leaves. A bit overused (and often badly used) in southern California in new construction, but it's actually a lovely and useful low growing shrub.
By all means, post pictures of your work in progress. And Daisy, your photos are breathtaking!!


Here is a link that might be useful: Coleonema Sunset Gold

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 10:19AM
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NHBabs z4b-5a NH(4b-5aNH)

Think about groundcovers to help provide the green. I have parts of my garden that were designed to provide winter as well as summer interest, and the varied foliage of my groundcovers are part of that along with the taller woodies.
From December 2010

From November 14, 2012

From November 14, 2012

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 11:10AM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

Beware the nandina, it is really invasive.

Personally, I would look at the grasses, they come in so many varieties and add a different texture to the roses.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 11:24AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Are there large succulents that could add some different texture and color?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 10:32AM
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TNY78(7a-East TN)

Daisy and nhbabs I love your whole garden pics! You're giving me lots of ideas! Daisy, what is the yellow rose in your second picture? It looks like an Austin....I really like it!


    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 2:06AM
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daisyincrete Z10? 905feet/275 metres

Tammy, It is a David Austin rose. It's Teasing Georgia.
There is one each side of a tiny pergola. They were planted three years ago. They seem to be pretty vigorous, which is just as well, as they have to compete with two Plumbago capensis, one Solanum ratonettii, one Aristolochia elegans and a Thunbergia alata African Sunset! Luckily all the other plants are younger.
Here it is from the other angle.

...and with the plumbago

...and with Dahlia Arabian Nights

ilovemyroses, I can't believe that I forgot to suggest Osmanthus delavayi. I used to grow it clipped into balls along a border, when I lived in England.
I pinched the idea, after visiting Christopher Lloyd's garden at Great Dixter and seeing he used it like that there.
It flowers in early spring with white flowers which have a gorgeous fragrance. After flowering, I would give them a hard trim to keep it's ball shape. That worked very well.
They gave a satisfying rhythm to the border.

Here is a link that might be useful: Osmanthus delavayi

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 3:28AM
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TNY78(7a-East TN)

Thanks for the pictures, Daisy! I have Teasing Georgia, but its still in a 1g container, so I'm really happy thats what it is. I've heard great things about its disease resistance, so I'm happy to hear that its vigorous too! I can't believe its that big after only 3 years :) Love the companions too!


    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 8:02AM
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ilovemyroses(8 Dallas TX)

Wow!! such good advise!! thanks all, many things i hadn't thought about!

And the pictures are so inspirational!!!!

Yes, the smaller evergreen things will help. I hadn't thought of grasses, nor really known how to use them, but these pictures really help! Will y'all come design my space!!!

seems so easy, but the planning not only in height, but color, texture...a challenge I love, but, wow, not as easy as it may look!

keep the pictures and ideas flowing!!! beautiful stuff, thanks to everyone!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 8:12AM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

My canyon creek abelia stays green all year. It blooms, but is more leaves than blooms.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 10:37AM
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Ilovemyroses, I hope you will post pics of your cottage/rose bed!

I'm planning to add more shrubs to my perennial garden, especially those that are evergreen. I'm in a much colder zone altho many evergreens span a number of zones. For my garden I'm also interested in shrubs/plants with silver, chartreuse, or reddish foliage which you might also consider.

Here are some links I've saved which might give you some ideas:

"the only shrubs you need to grow"

"Some of these evergreens may need more frequent water and some may not survive in hot climates."

I also like "Cornus alba 'Elegantissima' (the red twig Dogwoods)" and have 3 of them. While they do not have evergreen foliage they do provide winter interest with their colorful twigs and their variegated leaves are wonderful also. They would prefer an area with part sun.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 7:04PM
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ilovemyroses(8 Dallas TX)

Lucky gal, thx..I will post when I get a bit more done! Been working my ÃÂ¥The first link only gave two plants wo subscribing, but good ones, those two! I hate to think how many hydrangeas (oak leaf) I have bought and 'weeded' out the next spring! But I'll think that thru again!

Thanks. I'm a chartreuse fan as well!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 9:32PM
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"The first link only gave two plants wo subscribing, but good ones, those two!"

ilovemyroses, if you click on where it shows 'view all' you should see all 8 shrubs in the article. I haven't subscribed and can see all.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 1:29PM
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ilovemyroses(8 Dallas TX)

luckygal, got it. that IS a great article. some really good ideas. sometimes my computer is slow, so i bet i was impatient!! thanks for the tip!

the smaller low spreading creepers and the juniper were quite interesting. I think i need to slow down on the planting and see how it all grows for a bit. i have this 'thing' about not wanting to see much soil/mulch when they are at their peak. but i do tend to over plant and not allow enough room for salvias and such.

Come ON spring!!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:24AM
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