Beginner in need of advice!

kitchen_mamanApril 30, 2013

Hello everyone! I am not new to garden web as I participate on the house forums, but I am new to the garden forums and I hope you all can help me.

I live just outside of Washington, D.C. In Maryland--inside the beltway. We just finished a large renovation on our little rambler. We live in a mature close in community, sidewalk and nice trees (lots of dogwoods and mature weeping cherries).

I have a lot of ideas, but I am going to take it slowly. I love the idea of stepables. I thought I might use them to boarder our new porch-pictured below. Is it a good idea? I would also like to use them mixed with Lilly's, tulips and daffodils lining my walkway.

The two that I love, and am thinking of using as a boarder are Saponaria x oliviana Cushion Soapwort and Arabis Old Gold Rockcress. One of them says it is good for zone 5, but I cannot find out if a zone 5 plant is okay to plant in zone 7.

To give you an idea of some of the things we want to do: We are asking the county to plant either a white flowering dogwood or a kousa dogwood. We also want a dwarf wearing cherry in the front replacing the poor overgrown shrubs ( neglected first by the elderly original owner and then by us because we knew we were going to take them out).

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Our exterior

Saponaria x oliviana Cushion Soapwort

Arabis Old Gold Rockcress

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I think the border you plan to install would be quite attractive. I'm not really a landscape person so can't add anything more. It's nice the county will install a tree for you.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 4:34PM
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amanda_m(z7 MD)

Why not consider one of the local native dogwoods instead of the kousa, which is an Asian import.

Either Cornus florida or Cornus alternifolia will help sustain local insects and birds!

Not sure about the steppables. Wonder if the one that is for zone 5 could handle the heat/humidity of a mid-atlantic summer? If you aren't sure, ask at your local nursery (not a big box store). They can usually give you lots of help.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 2:19PM
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Hi there
You might consider that old saw " evergreens are the basis of foundation plantings" because it really is true. They give you something to look at when summer has done in your tulips or the neighborhood kids have snitched your lilies. They will also provide shelter and food for birds and butterflies. Native species are great because they provide what our native fauna need to thrive, a garden full of imported species doesn't do much to help the locals.
Other recommendations would be to make your beds half ( or more!) again as wide as you think you should. Stuff grows pretty quickly, you can save yourself some labor later on. Use mulches but don't overdo it, and don't volcano your trees! Their 'lungs' are at the level of the soil, don't suffocate them!
Have fun!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 1:10PM
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White flowering dogwoods are beautiful!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 8:37AM
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Thank you everyone! I have heard the advice about evergreens. Wait, is that the same as a conifer? Sorry for the silly question. I am looking at getting two dwarf conifers with beautiful color. I will also try to make the bed deeper.

I am also going to go with a local dogwood! Good advice. We have fabulous birds and wildlife and I would love to help them.

A neighbor gave me the name of a nursery and I plan to use them to ask!

I am actually going to try to use a beautiful clover to line the walkway. Good for our zone and I shouldn't have to worry about anyone walking on them. :)

Yay! I am so excited to start gardening! I might even try to take a class about gardening this summer.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 9:12PM
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