Garden Do Over

pam_3(GA 7b)July 25, 2008

Last year I planted a little garden in memory of my 2 year old son, Evan. I planned it all out, and it looks pretty darn good, if I may say so myself. Problem is, I believed the area to be more shady and planted shade tolerant plants. Naturally, it is a full sun bed. It's in sun from 9am till 2pm or later. Some things would probably be ok, if we were getting sufficient rain. however, the direct early afternoon sunlight really has made things suffer. I already have a place to put my hydrangeas, hostas, and woodland natives. So, I am in the planning stages of giving Evan's Garden a do over.

I mostly planted things with neat flowers and interesting names. I'd like this garden to be enjoyed by my surviving kids. So...I would like some suggestions of neat plants (small shrubs, perennials, annuals) with fun flowers/foliage or an interesting common name. I think sunflowers would be great. Evan loved red everything and he seemed to be drawn to yellow flowers. Any suggestions? Thanks!

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Hi Pam 3,
I'm glad to know you aren't giving up on your little garden. There is so much you can do--
You could plant cherry red knockout roses. These guys really live up to their disease resistant reputation. The two I planted last year have recieved no water except the rain. And they look great. Another option which my daughter loves is pennisetum 'hameln'. It's a grass and it's little flowers look like little tufts of bunny tails. There is a vareity of pennisetum called 'little bunny' that might be really cute.
Bat faced cuphea comes to mind...4 o'clocks... the kids think its funny because they never open on time....
CAn't wait to here other's ideas!!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 8:53PM
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rosiew(8 GA)

Dear Pam,

Thank you for offering us the privilege of making suggestions for Evan's garden. Would you please tell us the approximate size? With all that sun it will be a super cheerful spot for all. I'll be thinking of fun plants - with special focus on the reds and yellows.

Do you like starting from seed?

Rosie, in Sugar Hill

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 9:21PM
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nikkineel(GA 8/7b)

Pam, While reading your posts about Evan's preference to red and yellow, my first thought was two garden areas I have behind my spa. One side has crape myrtles (from the Razzle Dazzle series), they are "Cherry Dazzle" (red) and are only to grow 3 ft tall and 4 ft wide. Also in the same area are red knockout roses - very fast growing and they have bloomed all summer. Every time I deadhead them they are covered again with blooms almost immediately. Also, in the same bed, are some gallardia - one plant is red and the other has reddish orange and yellow. Close by, I have a yellow hollyhock that grows to about 8 feet. That one may be taller than you want but I will be happy to send you some freshly harvested seed if you would like. I will also have gallardia seed from both colors soon. I'd be happy to have the opportunity to honor Evan in that way. Best of luck with your garden. I also have several varieties of sunflowers that I will have seed for as soon as some dry out enough to harvest. Here are some pics - Nikki

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 11:16PM
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nikkineel(GA 8/7b)

Pam, I looked at your trade list and noticed you wanted the fragrant angel. I also have some of that but I'm not sure how to harvest the seed or propogate to share. If anyone can give me tips, I'll be happy to share that as well:) Nikki

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 11:20PM
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pam_3(GA 7b)

thank you for your suggestions, everyone. I measured today and the space is about 12.5' wide and 6.5' deep. The left side of the bed has more shade. The right side is the sunniest. I'm planning on keeping the oakleaf hydrangeas on either end (a dwarf species that only grows to about 4'.) Most everything else in the 12' in between will probably be moved. I do have some things planted behind the bed...1 Snowflake Viburnum, 1 Clethra alnifolia "Ruby Spice," 1 Itea "Saturnalia," and a Camellia. The Itea and Clethra only grow to 5 or 6', so I'm a little limited on height for plants in there in front of them.

I think the knockout roses look great. Are they thorny at all? I also *love* that Hollyhock. I could probably find a space for it! I also like the pennisetum idea. I saw some of the "little bunny" last year, and almost got them! I think I'll probably get another "Evan Matthew" dahlia for back there, and maybe some other dahlias. Evan liked the pom pom sort of flowers, as well as daisy shaped. That gives me a lot to choose from.

Rosie, my seed experience is a bit limited. My success rate has been low. I think if I was starting a few instead of 50-100, I'd probably do better!

Nikki, I've had some success with dividing Echinacea. I wouldn't want you to try it, though, unless it's big enough.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 5:53PM
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nikkineel(GA 8/7b)

Yes, the knockouts are thorny but awful pretty:)
Sending you an email. Nikki

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 11:15PM
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Pam, I think about Evans garden sometimes. I have some bright red bee balm which has been flowering for nearly six weeks now. It attracts bees and humming birds. If you think you would like some, let me know, and I will get one to you. If you are looking for something larger, then how about a hardy hibiscus. The ones I have have flowers that are about 10 inches in diameter. The humming birds love those too.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 7:38AM
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pam_3(GA 7b)

I will probably wait on the roses until my kids are a little older. My 2 year old went barreling through my neighbor's roses the other day, and scratched up his arms. He's a little explorer, so I need to install nontoxic and pretty friendly plants. :)

Barbara, how big do your hibiscus get? That would probably be pretty happy in that location. I used to have a H. coccineus, but I think a deer ate it!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 9:44AM
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the hibiscus get to be no taller than three feet and are about the same in width. The flowers are just beautiful and the plants flower continually through out the summer. In winter I cut them back to the ground .........and then wait in anticipation for the spring!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 12:33PM
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Firecracker vine is a good one which has small tubular red blooms like small firecrackers. I got my plant from Plant Delight Nursery in NC. It is a well behaved vine, grows in the stems of other plants and plays well with others.

Another one I like which takes sun or shade and keeps spreading, has six-inch tall deep purple/blue flower spikes with either dark or varigated leaves, is ajuga or bugle weed. This is a durable and easy plant to grow beneath your other shrubs. It takes the cold up in MA, and the heat down in south AL, so the fluctuating climate of Texas will be a no-brainer for it.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 4:02PM
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