Can you help a Floridian??

beth7happyFebruary 21, 2008

My son and his bride have recently moved to Pooler, Ga. and have a home with ZERO landscaping. There is an area in the front of the house....maybe 10 x 15 feet?? It is filled with lava rock and weeds. I promised her that I'd 'fix' the garden area for her birthday. We're planning a trip there probably mid- March but I'm clueless as to where to start to find what we could put in that area - it's right as you walk from the driveway to the front door. Both are working and we'd like it to be as pretty, yet as care-free as possible. Any suggestions??

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That is near Savannah so definitely zone 8 and you should have plenty of choices. Is it an area you want to put low growing shrubs (like Indian Hawthorn) or something bigger? Is it close to the house or further out? Any room for a large shrub trimmed up like a small tree? Perennials? Give us some ideas of what size, shape and other attributes you were envisioning. Lots of gardenias for scent - in several different sizes.

Another place to ask is the SE Coastal forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: SE Coastal forum

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 3:04PM
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Yes, near Savannah. It's close to the house - garage is one border, house (dining room window is low) is another border...sidewalk the remaining two sides. Shrubs that can be trimmed, yes....perennials, def! and she LOVES gardenia! Rosemary? and does Indian Hawthorn stay pretty? thought about a border of daylilies, too...rebloomers? Are they alot of care there? Thanks for the input! I have lots of homework to do!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 3:13PM
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If you want the shrubs to be low, then pick the dwarf forms - for gardenia you want the one called 'Radicans'. Indian hawthorn does stay nice if you don't have deer! And they probably don't. Another dwarf evergreen is dwarf Yaupon holly. Lots of people prune it into meatballs, but I like it unpruned - it makes a nice compact mound. For good fall color, pick up a 'Little Henry' Itea (dwarf virginia sweetspire).

Rosemary can get pretty big, but you can start out with it and remove it (or trim it hard) later. That's the nice thing about gardening, except for trees nothing is really permanent. Move stuff around, take it out! There are lots of reblooming daylily choices now. Many people know Stella D'Oro as the first well known dwarf one, but there are other dwarf ones now as well as the full size ones that are reblooming. They are virtually no care at all unless you want to trim them for looks in the winter.

This first year you could put a lot of annuals in there to have quick color. I love the annual Vinca - tough as nails. Then next year add a few more perennials and reduce the annuals.

Here is a link that might be useful: 'Little Henry'

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 3:35PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Autumn joy sedums would be nice too.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 4:02PM
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First: Think about the style of the house. Would cottage garden go with it. Or in a Savannah historic district maybe Needle Palms, Sotols, Dasylirion, spineless Agave.
They already have the lava rock.
Maybe other desert plants that would go with the lava rock.
Salvias, Eucomis(pineapple lily) herbs, such as catmint, thyme, and lavender to go with a prostate rosemary.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 12:18AM
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Run down to FL and pick up 2 palmettos.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 11:56AM
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giving me all KINDS of things to think about! the house is in a new subdivision...lots of younger folks and children in the area. They want the lava rock to GO, so that's our first job....and I presume amend, amend amend the soil...if there's any under there. hmmm...palms will grow there? I need to get to Georgia more! :) really appreciate all of your input...keep it coming! Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 6:41PM
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Yes palms do grow in Georgia.
Buford, Ga

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 11:33PM
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Those look like Windmill Palms. They don't grow too well down here, but with cooler weather they probably do OK.

There's a group in GA that has palm enthusiasts in it.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 5:19PM
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More information on this garden - seems that it's a northern exposure...gets only about 3 hours of sunlight from what I can gather from the kids. I guess shrubs will be the best way to go? Not much flowers on the north side, right? I had been toying with some knockout roses since they bloom well and can thrive on least here in my yard in Florida, but perhaps they wouldn't do well in north side...Indian Hawthorne might work okay, tho... Now we may understand why the previous owners planted all that lava rock......

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 10:26AM
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Yes, the roses need more sun than that. If only 3 hours of sun, consider some of the shade perennials like hosta, ferns, cast iron plant (in addition to shrubs). And of course a nice layer of organic mulch to pull it all together. Around here we use pine straw and shredded/chipped bark mulch. They may have other choices in that area.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 11:03AM
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Absolutely hostas [in various leaf patterns for contrast] and some lacy ferns to soften the look. Impatiens or the pretty "angel wing" begonias for annuals. There's also a lovely shrub..Aucoba or Aucuba that loves shade, has variegated leaves and is slow growing that might do as a couple of short sentinels by the front door.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 5:34PM
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we've put off the garden until April; meanwhile I'll print all of your ideas and do my homework. You're a great group! Thank you, each one. Really wish I could go to the area and just 'tour' for a week before we have to decide, but at least now I have somewhere to begin.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 10:06PM
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