Suggestions for planting by open woodland path
Since its now too hot to plant much, we have been working on making some bark-chip paths in a "woodsy" area of our garden. This whole area was completely covered in mondo and ivy when we bought the house, and we first thought we would just leave it like that. But we hated how the ivy looked, and did not want to have such a big area that was never used.
We already had one path in place along the edge of the area (from street to driveway). This had flagstones on it that we have taken up and used to create a patio elsewhere. We put weed barrier over the path, my husband made some steps (its quite a slope), and we filled in the path with bark-chips. We first thought it would take 8-10 bags, we ended up needing 50!
Once the first path was done, we thought a second would be just super. So, my husband started digging out the soil to carve out a new path that divides from the first one near the street and cuts across the area to the driveway (by the Physocarpus, on pic below). Another 50 bags of bark chip! Eventually we will continue it across the driveway to merge into our lawn area.
Now I have the exciting task of planting this area (well, in fall when its cooler)! Here's a pic showing what we have already.
We are going to keep the mondo grass between the cross-ways path and the street. So its really the area between the paths and the driveway that I want to plant in. The green around the magnolia was ivy -- which we have now ripped out most of. I do have a couple of native shrubs planted (dwarf wax myrtle, physocarpus) and some non-natives shrubs along the driveway (spirea, weigela). There are also a red maple and 2 redbud trees behind those.
Here's a pic of that area taken from where the 2 paths fork, looking up the path that crosses over the area. So, left will be the mondo that stays, and right will be where i want to plant. The small tree is the Red Maple (the Redbuds are further uphill and are tiny).
Its quite a big area -- I think the distance along the driveway between the 2 paths is at least 50 ft.
I would like it to have a woodland feel, but it does get quite a lot of afternoon sun, maybe 3-4 hrs (the photo was taken at 3pm). Around the magnolia is shadier, so I was thinking of Mtn Laurel and/or Rhodies there. But for the rest, I am looking for some "woodsy" shrubs that can take sun. I don't want to plant it densely, so I'm really looking for a few nice shrubs (ideally flowering, and some evergreen would be great). Would Florida Anise be able to take that much sun? I will plant smaller edging plants along the path edges, so I'm also looking for both shady and sunny smaller plants that have a woodland feel.
Any suggestions would be great!