Need help with plant ideas for this space, please

sandnat(9b/10)June 2, 2013

Finally recovered from carefully removing the grass from this area under a maple tree, phew! The space is east facing so it's shaded in the morning. The maple tree is only 11' from the house and the planting area is 16' from the house. A Dwarf Firebush is by the entry wall as well as two Jatropha's.I took out two plants under the window which weren't doing well. There is a natural worn pathway in between the house and the maple tree that connects the front sidewalk to the side facing garage where we're thinking of making stepping stones so we can try and at least level where we walk somewhat. We are open to suggestions. I can spend hours looking at pics of other peoples gardens but still pick the wrong plants!

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sandnat(9b/10)

Has a gradual slope away from the house.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 1:33PM
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sandnat(9b/10)

Another angle.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 1:51PM
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KaraLynn(z9 FL, Inverness, Citrus)

I think your biggest problem is going to be getting plants to thrive amongst the maples root system. How much sun does it get during the afternoon?

Some bromelliads that can handle both sun and shade could look really good. You might want to put some flowerpots around the base of the tree with things like caladiums or coleus to add color. Just make sure that you put pavers under the pots so that the trees roote don't travel up into them.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 2:01PM
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sandnat(9b/10)

It gets some pretty intense late afternoon sun except under the house eaves, for how many hours I'm not sure? I looked at pictures of Bromeliads and they didn't really excite me. Regarding the maple tree roots, do you think they'll be a problem because of competing for water because we do have a sprinkler system or that the maple roots will simply choke the life out of a plant?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 2:54PM
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KaraLynn(z9 FL, Inverness, Citrus)

The water could be a problem but I was really thinking of trying to get the plants in amongst the tree roots without damaging them. Some trees handle their roots being disturbed just fine but some really don't like it. Others just have really thick surface roots that will choke other plants out. I really don't know how maples handle having their roots disturbed.

I have a flower bed planted around the base of a tree sized crape myrtle which has a very dense root system right at the surface and it makes it very hard to plant anything under it. Most of the time if I nick the roots when trying to plant something the tree will send up suckers from the damaged roots. Most of the bed gets full sun until about 1-2 o'clock and then is shaded by the crape and house. I have several pots placed around the base of the tree filled with caladiums and an amazon lily. A little farther from the tree I have a pot with a bleeding heart vine planted in it. Around the vine's pot I have a banana tree, yellow walking iris, more caladiums, plumbago, variegated crinum, white soldier succulents, andnative false rosemary. Directly under the tree are some rain lilies, a large clump of ferns (no idea what variety,) more caladiums, a few small daylilies, native false garlic, and lots of native wild petunia which is what is doing the best since it spreads by seed. I'll try to take some pictures so you can see what it looks like.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 3:50PM
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natives_and_veggies(10b)

What about something like native lantana (someone recently posted a great photo of theirs - it's not the invasive kind they sell at HD.) If you've never had lantana, you might test first to see if you're allergic to it. It gives me hives, not bad, but annoying enough that I make my husband take out the clippings when I trim it.
I have some in full sun, with no irrigation and it's lovely, but it has to be pruned because it can get kind of sprawling.
Or maybe plumbago? I also have plumbago in full sun and in another area that only gets sun until about 2 p.m. and both bloom prolifically. A neighbor has it under an oak where it only gets afternoon sun. But... I think plumbago is very sensitive to overwatering so you might have to adjust your sprinkling some. And I know that if you're not careful and plant it even just a little bit too deep it will up and die. But it spreads and fills in a bed nicely.
Or a bed of amaryllis? There's an amaryllis thread right now and they talk about sunlight needs. That might be enough. Because they're bulbs, they wouldn't need the same root space regular plants do. I see them a lot under trees.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 3:50PM
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natives_and_veggies(10b)

Also, up under the eaves, you might consider a buffer zone of rocks and no plants. I've read you should do this for two reasons: it makes home repairs and painting easier and mulch up against the house can encourage termites which will force you to tent and kill all your plants anyway. I read that after I put a mulched bed right against the house and then got termites, had to tent, and move some cherished plants ahead of the termite poison.
But everyone in our neighborhood had to tent that year, so the mulch may have had nothing to do with it.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 3:53PM
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morningloree(9b)

Hi,
In a similar space I have Cordyline, a nice red color, Giant Apostles Iris, Epidendrum a ground orchid, hydrangeas and dwarf gardenias. Variegated Ginger can handle some sun and Persian Shield. A nice variegated split leaf philodendrum might climb the tree. Good luck, I am sure whatever you do will turn out great.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 7:51PM
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sandnat(9b/10)

Would YOU remove the maple tree, if it were your yard? If so, how far out from the house would you put the pathway? Would you redesign that area and remove the grass along side the existing concrete walkway and add plantings there to soften the look of the concrete?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 9:23AM
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sandnat(9b/10)

Remove grass on the sides of this walkway? How to tie it in with the grass I've already removed? Would you put shrubs on either side of the walkway, so remove 3' on either side? I'm anxious to get something done since the next couple days are cloudy and rainy, a blessing when working outside lol. Two things I'm working on 1. projects that snowball (to late) 2. right plant WRONG place Thank you!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 10:00AM
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