Sunny, dry border along house: help please?

CassandraSeptember 16, 2012

I've got to replant the narrow, south-facing border behind my 100+ year old urban house. It is very dry and was exceptionally dry this year due to our unusually hot summer in MN. The wine and roses weiglea in the center actually does quite well and it is the only thing I want to keep (it looks bad in the photo but this was taken when things were pretty much spent). As you see, the two salvia on either side of the space flop terribly and are downright ugly for most of the summer--so they've got to go. Other things there right now that haven't done well are bee balm and a day lily--I want to clear them all out.

So what would you do with this area, keeping the weiglea? I'd love something pretty, neat, but hearty and little-care. Some things I'm considering are dwarf conifers/spruce on either side to give some height and winter interest, or white peonies, or dwarf gold spirea, or little lime hydrangeas, or some type of non-flop purple salvia (are there non flop types), or non-flop sedums. I don't know if any of these would do well in this space nor do I know whether or not something larger on either end (like the conifer) would help "balance" the area. Really, I'm stymied in my decisions and any design help will be very much appreciated! I'm zone 4b, by the way--Twin Cities.

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Well I'm experienced only in quite different zones than you are in (7b to 9b), but my suggestions would be:
make that area an herb garden and/or succulents (you had mentioned sedum). I think euphorbia might also work. What about Kalanchoe?
Anything you put there should be "heat and drought tolerant" and like "full sun" (of course) because the stone and the sidewalk will reflect alot of heat. I think I would also consider making 2 beds in each of the corners there underneath the T of that sidewalk (the grassy areas that show in the picture), using the same plants or some of the same that you use in that border. I think that would make it look like all one garden and bigger is better!
Laurie in Mississippi

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 10:53AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I think tall dwarf conifers would look good. It's such a small bed I would stick with two or three types of plants.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 3:33PM
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Sedums will do very well with no care...ask me how I know. I have linked the Santa Rosa garden center below. They have a huge selection, most of the new kinds do not flop. They have lovely leaves when not in flower, come in many heights and are beautiful when they do flower. They are extremely easy to propagate also..just stick a stem in dirt. Santa Rosa is an excellent company and is very highly rated in Dave's Garden. I have purchased many things over the will love the prices and the packaging. c

Here is a link that might be useful: Santa Rosa sedums

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 5:27PM
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I agree, Santa Rosa Gardens ships great products!

Sedum would look great in that area, but I also like the idea of herbs.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 7:02PM
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Many thanks for your reponses and the link to Santa Rosa Gardens. I am leaning strongly toward sedums, and the no-flop variety! I appreciate your help!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 10:57AM
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