In need of advice! X-post from mid-Atlantic

kitchen_mamanApril 30, 2013

Hello everyone! I am not new to garden web as I participate on the house forums, but I am new to the garden forums and I hope you all can help me. I hope this is a good place to ask! I heard that this board moves faster. :)

I live just outside of Washington, D.C. In Maryland--inside the beltway. We just finished a large renovation on our little rambler. We live in a mature close in community, sidewalk and nice trees (lots of dogwoods and mature weeping cherries).

I have a lot of ideas, but I am going to take it slowly. I love the idea of stepables. I thought I might use them to boarder our new porch-pictured below. Is it a good idea? I would also like to use them mixed with Lilly's, tulips and daffodils lining my walkway.

Oh, I also plan to put in a 3 foot tall white picket fence and boarder that with stepables too! I would also love messy flowers to grow up around it. And I am also thinking of flowering vines. I know-maybe I am all over the place.

The two that I love, and am thinking of using as a boarder are Saponaria x oliviana Cushion Soapwort and Arabis Old Gold Rockcress. One of them says it is good for zone 5, but I cannot find out if a zone 5 plant is okay to plant in zone 7.

To give you an idea of some of the things we want to do: We are asking the county to plant either a white flowering dogwood or a kousa dogwood. We also want a dwarf wearing cherry in the front replacing the poor overgrown shrubs ( neglected first by the elderly original owner and then by us because we knew we were going to take them out).

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Our exterior

Saponaria x oliviana Cushion Soapwort

Arabis Old Gold Rockcress

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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

"...I heard that this board moves faster..."

I do nothing faster anymore.

You seem to be thinking linearly (lining this, lining that) have you thought of more sinuous beds? How about shrubs or conifers for winter interest?


    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 7:34PM
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Plant hardiness zones generally refer to the coldest zone in which the plant will (or theoretically should) survive the winter. It doesn't tell you whether the plant is well suited for the particulars of a given growing region though--soil type, humidity, winds etc.

Most plants can grow in a zone higher than thier listed hardiness zones. Of course, there are many exceptions. :) Some plants (peonies, tulips and cherries for example) require a certain amount of cold weather to grow. Also, zones in the west are further subdivided to take into account the particular climate conditions. As I recall, this is by sunset, not the USDA hardiness zones.

Anyways, for you in zone 7, you should be good to go with those plants provided you provide the right growing conditions.

How deep is your yard?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 8:12PM
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Thank you for the advice. I am not sure how deep it is. The bushes are about 10 feet deep and I think the sidewalk is about 6.

I am looking at some dwarf conifers that have beautiful color and I have decided one some beautiful lilies, roses and grasses to plant this spring and I am Pre ordering tulips and daffodils for the fall. I am going to look at putting clover stepables to "line" the sidewalk, but do a nice deeper space in front of the porch. We want to put in a white picket fence and I want to grow flowers along that too...I love the cottage look and there are some really beautiful gardens in the area.

My mother, who gardens nut lives far from me, suggested that I bunch the tulips for effect instead of lining them. I agree. Should I do the same with the lilies and roses?

Thank you!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 8:59PM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

If you want a cottage style garden clumps are better than lines, rigid lines of plants are more suited to formal or modern styles.

Planting groups of three or more usually gives greater visual impact, most designers recommend odd numbered groupings. Larger plants can be placed singly, especially if space is limited. You might find it helpful to drive around your area to look for gardens you like, see what does well and so on. There are lots of good websites for gathering inspirational pictures for your own garden, and there is probably a local Master Gardeners group that should have useful information for you. Our local Master Gardeners have a website that I consult regularly.

You might want to measure your space and draw up a plan. Consider the mature size of the plants you want and make sure that you won't have to worry about removing or severely pruning them in the future.

It's hard to judge from one picture, but it seems to me that your space is limited enough that just using one tree as the focal point and designing around it might be the best way to go. Find your specimen plant(s), install the picket fence, do some border beds, and you might be set. I always like to print out some graph paper and play with different designs that way, it's a lot easier to erase and redraw a line than it is to dig up and move a flower bed. Using a hose or some flour to outline the beds you imagine can also be helpful. Also, I would want to put something taller than a steppable in front of your porch, something that could connect the tall porch to the rest of the landscape.

Research and planning isn't as fun as getting your hands dirty, but in the long run it can give you a nice garden faster than trail and error. If you are impatient to get some color going you might want to start with potted plants, that's what I've been doing in the areas I plan on renovating in the future but want to have flowers in right now.

Good luck! Post pictures to keep us updated on your progress, please!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 10:28AM
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