What would you plant next to this porch?

OakleyJune 30, 2010

I live in OK., z7. Hot and sunny.

Here's the picture of the porch and my comments and questions are below:

This was taken in May before the Carpet Roses were in bloom. They stay.

See the areas near my front porch? I want to plant the same thing on both sides of it BUT...the sunlight is completely different at each area.

Right side of sidewalk:See the Caladiums near the sidewalk? They're very big and lush now. On the other side of the C's I have Impatiens growing and they're not doing squat, but they thrived there last year. Second year of gardening this bed.

That area near the porch only gets a few hours of sun in the morning, perfect for shade plants. All the plants in front of them get sun for about 9-10 hours a day.

Left side of sidewalk near porch. It gets morning sun for about 5 hours, then shade for about 3 hours, then sun for a few hours before sunset. So it's basically a sun garden in that spot.

I have a Hibiscus there that isn't doing squat either and I usually can grow them like crazy! We have flat rock on the other side of the Hibiscus to set my succulents on but I only set one out.

What would be a good plant that will grow tall and flowery all summer, that would take lots of shade and lots of sun?

Is there such a thing? lol

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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

If you are having problems, it may be soil? Do you need to fertilize? I have some plants that are not doing squat either, (and I don't need to fertilize) but it was just a thought.

Farther back, maybe some low evergreen shrubs of some kind? I was just thinking you may want anchors there for winter. Low growing gardenias they can take AM sun and PM shade fine. Rosemary also works well here with AM sun and daphne would LOVE that type of situation.
Woodland phlox, perennial begonias, wood's asters are all plants that would bloom at different times and do well on the shadier side. You can balance them with like color/bloom times of other plants easily. I have some early dwarf iris that bloom with woodland phlox, other types of asters..

I think you could also plant some whispy plants with a bit more height to get a more cottage feel - guara for example would be perfect there.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 6:10PM
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Well, of course, I'm going to say more roses! LOL

Many roses do well in shade (especially hybrid musks) so it would be easy to mix up something like Lavender Lassie with a nice companion plant...maybe something blue/lavender that's good for sun and shade.

I'm sure you'll get much more knowledgable answers, but I couldn't resist recommending Lavender Lassie :)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 6:12PM
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Lavender, I'm thinking Roses too, but I'm such a novice. Right now I have 5 Knock-Outs, three are by the fence, three in the flowerbeds. I also have a Floribunda "Easy Does It" which is just beautiful!

But that area on the right is mostly shade next to the porch, you really think Roses would do well there?

Girl, I think I have really good soil there. Last year we added on a room and because of laying the foundation we got lucky because now the old sand from it is mixed with clay, plus the breakdown of the mulch from last year. Everything else is thriving.

I'm going to look up the plants you suggested..never heard of them before. But it would be a good idea to find different plants for each side with the same height and flower bloom to make it look cohesive.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 6:38PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

I agree with GGG to look for some low-growing shrubs to place at the back of the beds to help hide the concrete porch and give winter interest. That's something I've been trying to do this year in a few of my beds.

Take a look at Itea virginica 'Henry's Garnet'. It blooms in the spring and the foliage changes color in the fall. Dwarf gardenias are another good choice. They're evergreen and when they bloom the scent that fills the air is pure magic. And that's a great location to be able to enjoy it!

Winter daphne is something I added this year. I bought mail order so they're still small, but I'm hoping they'll make it. Fell in love when I read about them on the Dirt Therapy blog.

Winter Daphne

Frost Proof gardenia

Itea virginica...

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 7:18PM
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I love the hot pink! I have no suggestions, but I like what you've don't and wanted to say so.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 7:25PM
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Oakleyok- Annie will know what roses should do well in your area...in sun and shade :)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 7:26PM
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neverenoughflowers(6 SEPA Downingtown)

Very nice beds. I agree with ggg, I think some sort of anchor plants might be nice, how about hydrangea? They have such a lovely assortment available in every size and color. You can keep them pruned so that they don't get too tall and they would hide the front side of the porch.


    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 9:52PM
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Natal, aren't Gardenias hard to grow? One side is really for shade plants (only next to the porch), the other is full sun.

I need something that flowers all summer.

Never, I'm giving up on Hydrangeas! lol I have two and they just don't perform well for me no matter what I do.

Thank you Organic kitten! The carpet roses are faded out right now due to the hot sun, but that's okay, they're still pretty.

Lavender, I'm waiting for Annie to get her tush into this topic. I know I can grow Roses on the sunny side, but not sure on the shade side.

This is funny though. When we were in the process of building the new room, they did it in the Winter. Not ONE drop of sun got on that flowerbed all day long...this is before I planted anything. So I knew I'd need to plant a shade garden since it's on the North side of the house.

Well I'll be, when Spring came around the whole bed gets full sun until Fall! Whew! I'm so happy now because I can experiment with lots of different kinds of plants. :)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 8:23AM
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Cher(6 SW OH)

It's lovely what you've done but I agree with you that something different at that area would be good. I would also go with some low growing shrubs. Hydrangea was mentioned and you can get small ones and they do well in both sun and shade. There is also Weigela Dark Horse with dark foliage so even when not in bloom you would still have color. Or if you want evergreen which I probabaly would myself there, try the Daphne's or Dwarf Azaleas. Both good choices.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 8:55AM
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I was going to suggest hydrangeas or weigela as well - there is a very low growing one in the wine series - maybe it's Fine Wine I can look it up but it is dark and needs something growing against it for contrast.

My thought is you aren't going to be able to plant anything across that area that gets shade in some parts and sun in others that will grow the same in both places - even if it survives it will look different and really highlight the different growing conditions. If it was me I'd try to work with the area and grow what flourishes and then use some flowers or fill in flowers to establish some flow across the whole space.

How would a fence look along the very back that extends up about 18" look? Maybe an iron one in black or white You could get clematis or something like that to cover it and it would make a nice defining edge and would be the same on both sides. Just a thought...

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 9:20AM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Oakley, gardenias are really easy to grow. Take a peek at the video in that link.

Here's a link from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. Might give you more ideas for shrubs. Btw, they list the Itea virginica I mentioned and state "shade, to morning sun", but I have 4 that get varying degrees of sun from half a day to all day and they're all doing great.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shrubs for shady spots

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 12:17PM
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Oakleyok- I'm sure whatever you decide to put in front of your porch is going to be beautiful! If Annie doesn't find this post right away, here's a link that might give you some ideas. It's a rose nursery in Oklahoma...and this page is supposed to be shade tolerant roses. Many will do well in sun, too.

I like to mix up old-fashioned roses, some bloom once and some repeat, but it's nice to have a little difference in bloom size and fragrance. All of them seem to end up being white, light pink, medium pink and lavender-pink...maybe because they look so good with lavender and purple companion plants! LOL

Here is a link that might be useful: Shade roses in Oklahoma

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 12:41PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Oakly, pardon me for saying this, but by sticking to the assertion that you must have something that blooms all summer, you are limiting yourself soley to annuals, and for that much, purchased annuals because you need to find plants which conform to a size and shape because the porch is lower (and you need it open, it's meant to be open and it's a lovely porch to show off!!!). The domey purchased annuals are, what I think is partly stumping you - they don't have a cottage look when used all together, because they all have the same shape and size and often the same leaf color.
Try to envision beyond just the beauty of colorful flowers but imagine the beauty of beautiful foliage. Form is going to be more difficult for you (because of size) but you can do it! The Daphne Odora Marginata has beautiful variegated foliage, other low growing shrubs will give a green backdrop to show off the beauty of the annuals you need for color. Gardenias are easy to grow, simple! They like morning shade or filtered light. They do feature some habits that may annoy you right there at the front of the house. When finished the flowers brown and the foliage can get yellow any time of the year, but I just pick that stuff off. Mixing in vertical foliage (some ideas are irises, candy lilies) and grassy foliage (how about society garlic which blooms all summer) add some spikey interest and break up the dome shapes a bit.
I experiment a lot with form and foliage color on the driveway slope of the garden. It's not all successful! I have a hard time finding shorter plants that do flower all season long (or most of the season) that can take that hot, dry area. People do comment on this area the most though, not realizing that the form and texture can be as interesting as it is. They key to the flowers is to make sure that there are several things flowering at once, but not necessarily all are in flower always. It seems to work. There's a gal in California with a wonderfully packed full-front yard garden (oh, where are you and I've forgotten your GW name) - I'm imagining something like that, or areas of Cameron's garden where she relies on a mix of 'spike' and domey lavenders in her hot and dry areas...

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 12:41PM
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Here are updated pictures of my beds. I took them a few minutes ago.

My idea flower would be to plant Caladiums lining the porch. We've talked about small hedges but honestly, we like to sit on the edge of the porch or step down there. I like the fact that the edge of the porch shows because it's so big, but I'd like to soften it with tallish flowers.

Also, 3/4ths of the bed is full of perennials so I don't mind buying annuals every year for the porch area.

I may just do Knock Out's with some colorful (not orange!) cosmos next to the porch.

Excuse the gardening mess on one side, it can't be seen from the sidewalk. :)

Facing the front of the full sun bed:

Standing on porch:

Facing the front of the full sun bed with mostly full shade where the Caladiums are.

Standing on porch facing bed:

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 3:38PM
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Lavender, I forgot to thank you for the Two Sisters link. My dh brought home some seeds from them just a week or two ago and I've definitely got them on my list for next Spring!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 3:45PM
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Cindy, when we built the porch we decided not to get railings for it because then you're basically trapped from getting off the porch except where the sidewalk is.

My dh laid some stone steps and a walk way to the left of the sun bed and when we need to water the flowers along the fence that's where we step down at to drag the hose.

I really REALLY wanted an iron rail there, but I'm definitely glad we didn't do it! We do have that black edging going along the sidewalk, but it needs to be painted again before next summer so it will stand out more.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 3:51PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Oakley, do you have any pics of the beds in the winter?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 3:55PM
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Here's a picture from this past January. This was our first winter in the new room/remodel. It's only my second season of gardening in the bed.

Also, you can't see it in this picture but there is green shrubbery next to the house. If I were to plant shrubs in front of the porch, they'd have to stay tiny and narrow. But they'd just get in the way. lol

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 7:11PM
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What I'd say is I like summer a lot better than winter.... ;) Groan - winter stay far away!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 7:17PM
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Low growing shrubs for evergreen in winter:
* Boxwoods (comes in a variety of sizes and leaf sizes)
* Junipers (spreading and short spire types)
* Yews (can be trimmed too)
* Beautyberry Pretty shrub - has pink or purple drupes (berries) in the fall and winter
* Eponymous - comes in greens or variegated and several sizes

*** Gardenias - on your north side like that, I would only grow them only in a more protected area, like in a semi-sheltered corner. They cannot take our harsh icy winters or our hot, windy, scorching sun here in Okie.
They need semi-shade and shaded Southern or Eastern shaded exposures.

* Azaleas - southern shaded areas

Ornamental grasses - summer, fall and winter interest.
They look fantastic with roses and soften the look of concrete porches or patios:

* Feather grass
* Maiden grass (my fave - comes in green or variegated)
* Bunny tails grass - short grasses with bunny like blooms (pom pom plumes) through summer and into winter.

Roses. Large roses in front of your porch and behind your annuals in front. I would use shrub roses. They bloom almost non-stop from spring till freeze. They can take anything Oklahoma can dish out. Easy care. These are all very fragrant:
Large shrubs:

* Abraham Darby (Apricot pink) Austin rose 5-6 ft
* Aloha (Med. pink) Hybr Tea 6-8 ft
* Eutin (red) Floribunda 4-6 ft.
* Excellence von Shubert (dark pink) Polyantha 3-5 ft.
* Graham Thomas (med. yellow) Shrub 5-8 ft
* Heritage (light pink)
* Lafter (yellow orange blend) Hybr Tea 4-6 ft
* Lady Elsie May - (pink/light pink blend)
* Mrs. B. R. Cant (med Pink) Tea 5-8 ft
* Archduke Charles (red blend) China 3-5 ft
* Pink Grootendorst (Med. Pink) Rugosa 5-8 ft - put this one by the corner post on one side.

Small Shrub Roses:

* Westerland (tall orange-yellow blend) 3-5 ft.
* Iceburg (white) floribunda 3-4 ft.
* Katherine Zeimet - Polyantha (white) 2-4 ft.
* Gruss an Aachen - Floribunda (light pink) 3-4 ft.
* Duchesse de Brabant (light Pink) Tea 4-6 ft
* Anson Jones - shrub (light yellow blend) 3-4 ft.
* Chryster Imperial (red) Hybr Tea 3-4 ft.
* Betty Prior (med. Pink) Floribunda 3-4 ft.
* Belinda's Dream (lt or med. pink) Shrub 3-5 ft.

Climbing Roses that can be kept as large shrubs

* Ballerina (pink and white) Hyb Musk 5-7 ft.
* Joseph's Coat (orng, pink, yllw flowers) Lrg Flwr 8-12 ft.
* Buff Beauty (Cream-orange blend) Hyb Musk 5-7 ft.
* Don Juan (sup fragrnt velvety red) Lrg flwr 10-15 ft.
* Felicia (pink yellow blend) 4-7 ft.
* Lavender Lassie (sup fragrnt mauve pink) Hyb Musk 6-8 ft.
* Zephirine Drouhin (dark pink) Bourbon rose 8-12 ft.

Any of these will do good with part shade like you have in front of your porch. Mine only get a half day of sun and they bloom like crazy. Planting my roses in full sun don't do as well for me here in Oklahoma. They do grow and they bloom, but not as well. Afternoon shade is a good thing. Also, they will have protection from hot afternoon hot winds in the summer.

There are all kinds of shrubs and grasses and roses. Don't forget Garden Phlox, Daylilies and Echinacea (coneflowers) for color. Endless color possibilities.

Daphne is beautiful and would be beautiful, but I have not been able to find them for sale here locally.

I think you have too much sun there for Hydrangeas.
Nandinas are lovely shrubs. I grow them. There are so many plants to choose from.

You don't need it all cluttered with plants, but you will want tall things, short things, round, tall, feathery, large leaves, tiny leaves, & etc to add interest and textures. That is just as important as flower colors - maybe more.

Some of the roses can be purchased locally.
Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 7:22PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Annie, grasses are a great suggestion!

Daphne is beautiful and would be beautiful, but I have not been able to find them for sale here locally.

I searched locally and finally ended up ordering from Bluestone Perennials. The plants aren't huge, but I'm hoping they'll like where I planted them and eventually put on some size. I would have ordered from Almost Eden, but the ones they had weren't ready to go yet. Was told to check back in the fall. So, that's another source if you're interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: Winter Daphne at Almost Eden (a Louisiana company)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 7:43PM
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Wow, Annie! We need someone with your expertise in our area. Although we're about 30 minutes away from Spokane, WA...it's a much different gardening zone out here. It got down to 33 degrees last night!

Oakleyok- Now that you have been given so many wonderful choices, I'm looking forward to seeing what you put in front of your very inviting porch :)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 7:48PM
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Let me also say that I like what you have there already.
What I was suggesting was in answer to your question -

"What would you plant next to this porch?"

I do not want you to think that I don't like what you have planted in those beds so far, because I do.
I am very proud of you.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 11:15PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Oakly, those photos show the perennials much more than the first photos (where the color of the annuals stands out so much, above others.
I too don't want you to think that I don't like your plants. I surely do think they are beautiful (and when I say low shrubs I mean like 2' tall!!! I realize you don't want to block all that exposure you have there, it's wonderful!). But I do think you will find pleasure with a few structural plants, and some more "airy" plants.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 11:25PM
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Here is a view of my patio garden from the North side of the house. The patio is on the far right, out of view. (Try to ignore the posts of the botched and unfinished Pergola - eyesore - Can't wait to get rid of it!)

You can see from the image the various heights of my roses (i.e., Dark Pink Knock Out, Lady Elsie May, Betty Boop, New Day, and Midas Touch), Crimson Pirate Daylilies, and tall feathery Maidengrass. On the path side, or front side, I have dwarf red Barberry, Lavender Mums and Magenta Buttons Mums, a few volunteer Black-eyed Susans and purple Perilla (which I thin out, leaving only a few in certain spots) and a much shorter daylily, Stella de Oro in front of the dark pink Knock Out rose. The roses have to be cut back every spring or else they will hog the whole bed and start to splay out. There is some Oregano tucked in beside the Maiden Grass on the north end. Makes it easy for to just to step out on the patio and snip off some for my spaghetti or what-have-you. I have large pots of Basil on the patio too for the same reason.

Okay, on the south end of that same bed, out of view are Gerbera Daisies, white Sweet Allysum, Dianthus, Dwarf blue Ageratum, variegated Oregano, and 2 kinds of Creeping Thyme.

Some years I plant ornamental Potato vine or Silver Falls Dicondra to spill out on the path. I have planted Dusty Miller and Silver Brocade Artemisia in there for a more upright silvery white addition.

On the other side of the patio I have Hardy Hill Rosemary, Black & Blue Salvia, Maximillion Sunflowers (which will get tall and flower in late summer), Joseph's Coat rose cl. rose, Needlepoint Holly, Blue Bedder Salvia, another Bleeding Heart, more Dianthus, Lamb's Ears, a Cherish Rose and Hot Chocolate Rose, Fannick phlox (new to this area), ending with Russian Sage and old-fashioned Orange Daylilies on the south end of the patio. This is where my round Lily pond is situated (Half-Whiskey barrel converted to Lily pond). There are also the same spring blooming Irises, Tulips and yellow Jonquils on this side. Volunteers of poppies come up in April and Petunias in May along the paths.

Some things will be cleaned out of there this Fall for a new look next year. I want to add more ornamental grasses in this area and replace the Bunny tails I lost to voles 2 years ago. I like how grasses softens the flowerbeds and adds height and different textures. I also want to add the tall white Nicotiana that smells so wonderful in the evening and at night.

By intermixing like this, I always have something to look at and enjoy year round.

This area will look pretty good when the Pergola is rebuilt by the carpenter I am hiring. :)

In spring there are also pink Bleeding Hearts, Irises, Tulips and Yellow Jonquils in that bed. After flowering, they each add green leaves and different textures to the bed.

I am certainly no expert, but I have experience with what I can and cannot grow in my gardens. I have done a great deal of reading about plants and gardening techniques these past 30+ years. You never learn it all. The ore I learn, the more I realize how much I have to learn.

Make a drawing of your beds. Juggle plants around making crude drawings to see what appeals to you. Approximate the basic shape of each kind of plant you might want in each spot, their widths and heights, in perspective with the porch, pillars and existing plants. If you like the shape of things, then play with the color combos. It's a fun thing to do on days that are too hot to work outside or on rainy days. Keep your records and take with you when you go shopping for plants or order them on-line. These things really help and can save you a lot of time and money!

You don't have to plant as many flowers and things as I did. I just like it FULL like that. I seldom if ever have to weed the flowerbeds planted thickly like this. It's an old time Cottage Garden technique and adage to never leave any spots bare in your garden. If you remove something, fill that space with something else right away.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 1:44AM
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wow, I would love to have that garden bed going up to my house! Love it! You have some great suggestions so far. I think I would plant small evergreen shrubs, maybe an azalea too along the porch base. And I would add a big arbor too, with a clematis or 2 (ones that bloom different times) planted on the shaded side to grow towards the sunny side. Lavender is a great suggestion, maybe some asiatic lilies in the center of the beds. Stepping stones and a bird bath in the shaded side?? You have to post pictures when you have it planted!!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 8:03AM
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Annie, thanks so much for the info! What are those purple flowers in your bed? My garden needs some purple. I do have Spiderwort on the other side of the porch.

Everyone, I'm not taking any offense about the rest of my plants! lol.

I'm still in the experimental stage of what to plant.

I kind of like the idea of ornamental grasses. But don't laugh, I'm afraid of snakes. I've seen snakes curled up under the Caladiums and they're hard to see. It's cool and shady under them.

Again, thanks so much for the help!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 9:08AM
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The purple flowers are Old-fashioned Garden Phlox. They smell so sweet. One of my grandsons say they smell like strawberries to him. I suppose everyone smells something different. Very sweet. They bloom from late June till September or October. Butterflies love them. I grow them in just about every corner of my yard.

Those would be wonderful in front of your porch on one side and behind your Carpet Roses and Yellow-Orange Cosmos.

Don't plant everything symmetrical on both sides. Asymmetry is more interesting.

As for snakes...I'm afraid it comes with the territory when you have plants in your yard. :)


    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 12:13PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

When I saw your winter pic I thought of an arbor too, but I'd put it at the beginning of the sidewalk leading off the parking area. That whole area could change overnight with the addition of a picket fence and arbor. Maybe something to consider in future years.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 12:17PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Oakley, I don't know if you were posting here when Steven was, but this is sort of what I was talking about.

Btw, does anyone know whatever happened to him?

Here is a link that might be useful: Steven's cottage garden in the front of his house

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 1:05PM
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Love the picket fence and arbor idea but our winds here are pretty strong in that area when it storms. I've been thinking about a small border style picket fence though.

Annie, I was under the impression Phlox only bloomed in the spring and on the short side.

These are definitely on my list for next year. Did you plant them by seed or plants? Are they perennials or annuals? They'd be beautiful by the front porch! I'm going to go look them up right now. :)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 2:09PM
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The Spring-blooming phlox are a completely different variety. They are a ground-cover. Garden Phlox are tall, upright and bloom in summer only. They come in many colors, but I love the old-fashioned purple ones best. They have the best fragrance and can take our severe Okie weather.

Garden Phlox, Roses, Irises, Daylilies and Coneflowers are the backbone flowering plants of my gardens.

No offense to others, but I personally wouldn't put a picket fence around your front garden-way nor install an arbor out at the entrance. That style does not belong with a Ranch-style house in rural Oklahoma. A rustic style trellis on one side of your porch would look great, but not placed where it would block your view would look very nice. For that, I would grow a thornless climbing or rambling rose of some variety or a beautiful Honeysuckle that is not invasive (not the wild kind -those would eventually take over your entire bed).

Stick with your ranch design and use rustic style garden plants, trellises and garden decor. It is a common mistake of some gardeners to try to do otherwise. It would look terribly out of place and would ruin the look of your beautiful home. Trust me.

You can create a Country Cottage Garden that would add to the beauty of your Ranch-style home and it's value.

Reference for ideas on what I mean by Rustic: Better Homes & Gardens, August 2009, starting on page 91 is a great article. There is a picture on page 92 of a Rustic Gazebo the family built in the middle of undulating waves of flowers in front of their house, i.e., Purple coneflowers, Rudbeckias, Petunias and Ornamental Grasses that you ought to see. They also have a few evergreens and dotted here and there with hollyhocks and other things. The bed is outlined with rocks. It is fantastic.
It is the RUSTIC and the undulating waves of flowers that I want you to see in particular.

My point being here again is to create a garden that compliments your house style and shape - not fights with it.

Lots of good things to learn from that article and the beautiful photos.

You can access the article online, but you have to be a subscriber. Bummer.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 4:00PM
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I think I let my subscription to BH&G run out because I don't have the August issue yet. I've let a few mags expire, I was getting too many.

I agree with what you're saying regarding the picket fence. I actually like the iron border fence we have now on each side of the sidewalk, it just needs a new coat of paint.

We also have a wrought iron trellis out front but next to the fence for the Morning Glories, and we have several bamboo trellises just off one of the beds for more MG's. The pictures don't show them though.

We've created a new flower garden at the fence line close to the house. So it's an extension of my "cottage garden" and I hope next year it will be at it's fullest.

I agree about the purple Phlox. Purple is what I'm lacking and to me it's THE color for a cottage garden! It's the color we see in English gardens all the time.

Oh, the inside of my house is the rustic/country/farm style.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 4:22PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Annie, are you really a stickler for those rules? Yes, let Oakley take you on a tour of her home. It's definitely not your typical "ranch" ... has much more charm! I love her kitchen.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 5:04PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Some interesting fences on this ranch.

Here is a link that might be useful: country house

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 5:27PM
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Thanks Natal! I'm going to pour over those pictures in just a bit.

Don't you think the white picket edging would be better than something taller? I may buy some this winter when garden supplies go on sale.

Here's how bad the wind can get in that area during a storm. Because it's L shaped there, when a storm blows up we get a lot of weird "circulating" wind. We had a beautiful iron trellis and the wind broke it at the base and knocked the whole thing down! And it was brand new. :(

So anything too tall will get blown over. That's why I think a border type picket fence would be nice. And they would match the windows! :)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 7:19PM
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Your garden is really maturing from the first pics I remember you posted. Looking good!

I know your style is casual but whenever I see your house and garden I think of a knot garden, I think because of the symmetry. Most knot gardens are formal but I'll post a link to a pic of an English cottage knot garden. Of course it's quite large but I think this could be done on a smaller scale.

Pic linked below is from this site: http://maureeninlondon.wordpress.com/

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 3:48AM
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That is beautiful! Wish I had that brick wall though. We're going to do something similar along the barbed wire fence next year. We started planting in front of it this year and we plan to carry it along the fence next Spring with taller flowers.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 6:06AM
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Below is a LINK to a website that explains better what I was getting at about designing your garden out front in a more rustic style. I didn't mean "country and western"...I meant Cottage Garden.
Rustic does not mean it won't be pretty or feminine.

The article shows a variety of plants and flowers that would work with what you have. The brick and rock add the rustic style, very traditional in Cottage Gardens.

To do this you would need to raise your flower beds by your porch up almost level with the porch. Then terrace the flowerbed with big rocks laid in a natural way and brick steps down to your driveway. This would not be hard to do. Use local rock and any leftover bricks you might have from your house construction. Your Carpet roses and Knockouts would be your featured plants. They could stay where they are and not have to be moved at all.

All the plant shown in the article are very do-able here in Oklahoma and all are sold at places like WalMart, Lowe's and others. I would also add some soft feathery Ornamental grasses too.

This garden got the "Best of Home and Garden Award" in 2009. It is so beautiful! This is how I see your front garden when I look at its potential:


Here is a link that might be useful: A Story book Garden with roses & more

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 1:34PM
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Here's how they did it, step by step, for any of you wishing to try this. I am!

Here is a link that might be useful: Step by step construction

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 3:12PM
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bump :)

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 11:56AM
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I saw this picture a month or so ago, had some thoughts, and didn't put them down. I see it now and there is so much potential!

I personally would add some semi-tall (2-4 feet or so?), informal perennials. My line of thinking would be maybe some Anise Hyssop, Agastache, Russian Sage, etc. They are so nice and sweeping and they would soften the look of the garden.

I also believe I read that you didn't want anything too overly tall along the porch itself. I would put some of what I suggested above (hyssop, etc.) along the porch to soften those hard edges of the porch. Those are very hard edges and lend a very formal look to the area.

Maybe for a small amount of height, you could add a small tree to the corner where the house comes out? I am on a very small lot so I have to make do with what I have, so I've learned a lot. My little cottage garden surrounds my dwarf plum. Also, I have found that the giant sunflowers add some nice height when you don't want the yearly maintanence of trees.

Personally, I would not plant the same exact things on both sides because once again that can lead to a rather formal look, but I know the feeling. I'm facing the same issue on my front porch.

Also, a clematis would look great going up that big brick pillar you have on the porch.

I really do think though, that if you plant a very natural, sweeping, somewhat tall perennial along the front porch, that it will soften the look of the garden considerably. I'm assuming you're going for a more informal/cottagey look?

I'm not sure what Annie thinks, but the hyssop I've grown, and also phlox (which would look great against the porch) both do equally well for me in part sun or full sun. There may be slight differences in the number of flowers and height but nothing major.

I am just trying to give some suggestions that don't necessitate redoing any of the hardscaping. And I'd agree with Annie, an arbor wouldn't look quite right with a ranch.

Now, a pergola going down the whole walkway...with horizontal accents...that would look quite nice!!!!

My Mom has lavendar lining the walkway to her front door. The scent is just wonderful all summer long. Same with anise hyssop. I'd highly recommend it.

I personally am not a fan of evergreens, but that's just my opinion, it's certainly not a fact or a rule! We had an arborvitae at the old house, and I grew a clematis up it to soften the look of it.

Give us an update on the gardens, OaklyOke!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 12:46AM
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littledog(z7 OK)

It depends on which way the breeze blows in relation to the porch. If you aren't just set on both sides matching, and they wouldn't block the breeze I'd put in either a Vitex that you could cut to the ground every year or a medium sized crepe myrtle (any color but pink or pale lavender - white, dark red or even deep purple) trimmed up like a small tree on the left on one corner, and a Callicarpa (Beautyberry) on the other.
On the right, I'd go with a Fothergillia and a Peony.

If you'd prefer something not so tall but still somewhat permanent: hollyhocks and phlox toward the back would be fun. Yaupon Holly is a tidy, small leaved evergreen with nice red or yellow berries in winter that will attract birds to your doorstep. Depending on the soil, it would be fun to have a rabbiteye close enough to the porch that you could just reach off and pick blueberries from. (assuming the birds don't get them first, like they do mine)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 1:14AM
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