'front border' plant for partial sun location, mid-Atlantic

lrobins(z5 CO)September 10, 2006

I am looking for a "front border" plant for the front 2 to 3 feet of a 22 ft wide x 10 ft deep bed on the side of a townhouse, filled with a variety of native shrubs and perennials. The front part of the bed was starting to look messy and poorly maintained, because of too many different plants crowded together. I decided that the best solution was to clear out the front and replant with (possibly) only one plant, aiming for a more uniform appearance. Actually, I did leave one thing in the "front border" area, a group of Zizia aptera (heart-leaved golden alexander).

Requirements are:

# 2 feet tall or less

# tolerant of partial sun / light shade (there is clear sky directly overhead, but the hours of sun are limited by townhouses and trees surrounded the bed, so it is almost like a small interior courtyard)

# preferably spring flowering (for variety, because the taller perennials in the middle and back are summer flowering)

# average, silt loam soil, medium moisture (doesn't have to be drought-tolerant because bed has a drip irrigation system), almost neutral pH (6.8)

# some spreading is good, to fill in the area, but doesn't need to be a very fast spreader

# native to mid-Atlantic region (PA - MD - VA)

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Judy_B_ON(Ontario 5B)

With 22 feet to play with, I would suggest using 3 to 4 varieties but repeat the plants, say plant A in the centre, flanked on either side by plant B, then plant C on the other side of B, and either D or A again on the other side of C. This will be more interesting than all the same. Plant in two staggered rows using three of each plant.

Suggestions: Low growing potentilla shrubs (bloom June to frost with yellow blooms), waterleaf (leaf texture, small flowers), Virginia blue bell (great early colour, dies back after flowering so over plant with something else), cammsia -- (spikes of flowers early, interesting leaves after), Geum triflorum (early pink flowers followed by feathery seedheads and attractive leaves), Heuchera(coloured spikes followed by interesting foliage), dicentra exima (fern like foliage, pink heart shaped flowers), Missouri sundrops, dwarf coreopisis, columbine, Geranium maculatum, the shorter Penstemons (like hairy), grey goldenod, heartleaved aster, liatrus cylindrica.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 4:57PM
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waplummer(Z5 NY)

Tiarella cordifolia, Mitella diphylla, Chrysgonum virginianum, Fragaria virginina, Waldsteinia (barren strawberry), Viloa labradorica, Iris cristata

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 7:33PM
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Some ferns: ebony spleenwort, broad beech (can be a spreader), lady fern. Also mouse eared coreopsis (Coreopsis auriculata), which can also be a spreader, but the database does not show it occurring in Maryland (Virginia, yes).

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 10:18PM
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