foliage plant for garden..trying to learn to add foliage

sushiqueenMarch 10, 2004

i am trying to learn to mix in green foliages of all sizes in my flower filler and to add texture and green or silver color side garden, front yard dividing my yard w/ driveway, EAST West Facing, I took out juniper and am now planting roses, day lilly, some climbing fill out the rod iron fencing. What tall slender foliage would i use that doesnt get too bushy to shade out ficus? Hot dry here in San Fernando Valley Socal in hostas etc.. wont work

I am learning you cant just have flowers and roses...the foliages make shade for the hot afternoons..and fill in a lot

I see pictures all the time of foliages mixed in gardens but dont know what they are....they seem to fit so perfect...

SHould i put a tree or 2 in there? Dwarf fruit? Ficus? Bay? Pittosporum? it is a 4 ft deep 15 feet long strip...

Thanks folks

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marquest(z5 PA)

I cannot visualize your area i.e. placement of roses daylily. In my gardens I use color foilage for when flowers are not in bloom for color. Also, our zone difference is difficult. You seem to have enough green with the daylily and roses.

I have seen coleus they come in a lot of colors and would give you color when things are not in bloom. Get the color of your flowers or complimentary color.

Ornamental grasses or New Zealand Flax.

Maybe someone in your zone can come up with a hosta substitute.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2004 at 3:47AM
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Your zone is USDA Horticultural Zone 9 but that isn't really enough to go on to make good recommendations. Are you on the east or west coast, is your ambient air humid or dry, what is the nighttime low of an average night where you are? These things would influence what will grow well for you.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2004 at 6:22PM
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That last question should have been:
What is the average nighttime low in the summer?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2004 at 6:23PM
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jkom51(Z9 CA/Sunset 17)

Get thee hence to and buy some Sunset gardening books! They have excellent advice for the Western gardener, none better. Also, many of their smaller specialty paperbacks show up on the 'sale' shelves at drugstores, Wal-Mart, Costco, etc., which are great buys. I picked up their latest 'Trellises & Arbors' book for $4.95 at Long's, a few feet away they were still selling their remaining copies at $12.95!

It is hot and dry where you are, but can get nippy at night in winter although frost is very rare. You're in Sunset zone 21 so there are wonderful tropicals available to you. The biggest thing for you to be aware of is that your soil heats up fast and stays warm throughout most of the year. Stay away from cool-soil plants (or keep them in the shade) and you'll be fine. Many of the nurseries are carrying Australian and South African plants now as their climate is similar to ours.

You are right to get into foliage, you can have a beautiful garden year-round in CA if you use the right plants. I'm 400 miles north of you so some of what I grow won't work for you, but some will:
Clumping evergreen daylilies
Lantana of any kind, trailing or shrub
Agapanthus, and there are beautiful variegated ones now
Abutilons (partial shade where you are)
Pelargoniums, the fancy leaf hybrids
Osteopermums will flower year-round for you, in fact they will flower themselves to death!
Bearded iris stay evergreen and many flower twice a year in partial shade
Lavendars, rosemaries, euryops, argyranthemums all have lovely foliage
Tibouchinas, melianthus, grevilleas will all love your weather.

At their feet: gazanias, helianthemum, asteriscus maritimus ('Gold Coin'), lambs ear, alyssum.

And I won't even get started on vines--oh, do you have great choices open to you....

    Bookmark   March 15, 2004 at 5:36PM
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Thanks for responding..will try to detail....basically a 25 foot long ( along rod iron fence 4-6 ft high) divinding neighbor driveway and my yard. Southern california..san fernando valley....inland....dry hot in summer up to 100 lows in winter 40 ish. Iceberg roses on one end,couple of daylillies, yes vines.....neighbor and me put some orange honeysuckel, jasmine ( but they will just bush over since fence not high enough) i want to put foliage..tall slender in the back of the in the middle of this fill in between the bars.. I was thinking pittosporum...tall slender wispy....i also put a couple of tea roses..which i shouldnt have right? according to nursery man...they shouldnt be near too much foliage because can create moisture..mildew / rust

JKOM....I use alot of lavenders another garden area...I am familiar with all the plants you listed...I am trying to learn about just plain ficusy looking thing or as i mentioned pittosporum.......gazanias fry in sun here no??

I will try to post picture..that would help folks right?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2004 at 9:39PM
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jkom51(Z9 CA/Sunset 17)

What you can grow in a sunny spot is going to depend on how much water you can give it. If you are setting up a drip irrigation system -- VERY recommended in your situation -- it will be much more effective than trying to water with a garden hose. At the very least a soaker hose is the way to go for you, it is much better for roses anyway since water on the leaves isn't recommended.

I'd grow canna in your situation. Also phormiums, New Zealand Flax hybrids, would work beautifully. I grow dwarf coleonema at the foot of my roses and the wispy green foliage looks great with them. Erysimums don't live long but they are cheap from big box garden centers and have wonderful foliage, pest-free, and colorful little flower spikes to boot. Watch out for 'Bowles Mauve', great plant but it gets very big, very round, very fast so it needs careful siting. I prefer the variegated erysimum, a nice little 2' wide, 1' tall clumber.

I find pittosporums rather plain but they can be good sturdy background plants which are always useful. I don't have a lot of room -- small garden beds all around the house -- so I love to mix foliage. The plants I suggested are ones I use for foliage as well as flowers. In California with our year-round gardening environment, one has to consider both when companion planting.

Another excellent groundcover is variegated oregano, very lovely, tough, sunloving plant.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 21, 2004 at 12:47PM
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Hey Jkom51

I looked up variegated erysimum and the page that came up "plants database" had pictures posted by YOU!!! You are all over the place!!
I like that plant..thanks.

Ok still looking between the plants..roses etc..something very tall growing, say 5 fill in between and hide the nasty blank iron fence that separates the yard......there would be a rose or 2 infront, like 1-2 foot away, it would be against the fence..there are some viny tupe plants, like the orange honey suckle and potato vine..the neighbor has on her side...I will take pic and post it here..perhaps you could help better

    Bookmark   March 21, 2004 at 2:18PM
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Hey Jkom and every one else who is kind enough to help

I posted on the Foliage Gallery to show you the site I need help with.

Its foliage filler #2..the good pic!!

Thanks again

    Bookmark   March 21, 2004 at 6:40PM
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