Empty Spaces Left by Annuals- What to do?

bluestone7(7b)July 27, 2013

The mid to front section of my very sunny, and hot garden bed in the front of our house has been filled with annuals that we put in over the past yr. and a half. We are in zone 7b.

I am thinking ahead to the fall and winter and do not want such a wide swathe of empty space in our rather large bed. I know I need a sprinkling of perenialls that look good in winter- most likely smaller shrubs that can take the sun and heat next yr. in summer.

The back of the bed is filled with rhododendrons, mid bed has barberry and crocosmia. But, the front of the bed was allysum, stachy, blue fescue, daylillies and salvia-- come winter there is going to be a 36 " deep x 18 ft long. open area. And, of course the allysum will be gone for good. So those holes could take something that will stay as the allysum cooked in the heat, though pretty it wasn't practical.

Any suggestions on lower growing perennials shrubs that don't get too wide and will add winter interest in zone 7b? I have done searches and keep coming up with zero.

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cyn427 (zone 7)

I just ordered several Veronica 'Speedwell' plants that are supposed to be evergreen in mild climates (it is listed for zones 4-7, so 7 seems like it would be considered mild for the plant). I am hoping it is because that is what I am looking for, too. It is a low growing perennial groundcover, so it may not be what you want.

I also just bought two boxleaf euonymous shrubs. They are slow growing and reach 1-2 feet in height according to what I have read and judging by those in a neighbor's yard, but I would imagine you could keep them trimmed down if they get too big for your space. They have pretty, small glossy green leaves and might be perfect for what you want.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 4:31PM
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Cyn - Do you know what variety of Veronica you have? Speedwell is the common name of Veronica, and varieties range from a few inches in height to a couple of feet, so more information would be useful.

There are kinds of Erica AKA heath, a small evergreen shrub, that should grow in your zone if your soil is acid. They are fine-textured and will bloom early spring.

Other places you might get suggestions include visiting local nurseries and asking staff, or checking with the perennials forum and the shrubs forum here on GW.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 7:13AM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Whoops-meant to write 'whitewater' as the variety, not speedwell. Sorry. As I said, the Whitewater is low-growing as in 4-6 inches tall, but it is supposed to spread 12-18 inches in it's first season. We'll see.

Also, my Carex (lots of varieties-common name=sedge) looks great all year!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:31AM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

There are some plants that could work for you quite well - consider some really slow growing evergreen conifers.
Hetz Midget or Teddy Arborvitaes, or perhaps an herb like germander?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 3:31PM
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