Suggestions for low maintainence, full-sun, partly medicinal area

withakApril 20, 2009

I've made myself a list of way too many plants I'd love to grow in two beds that flank our back patio. I'd like some suggestions/favorites to help narrow down my plans. Here are my "requirements:"

-low maintainence - I don't want to spend hours and hours keeping up the bed - that's what my vegetable garden is for.

-tolerates full-sun - the beds face due south, 'nuf said.

-useful in ways other than "eye candy"- I'd like the plants to be useful for medicine/tea/flavor, butterflies, attracting beneficial insects, etc. Not necessarily all the plants, but probably at least half of them.

-look okay to nice most of the time - I'd like a lot of perennials/biennials... I don't want to start the bed from scratch each year...

If you've bothered to read this far, THANKS! and let me know if you have a (some) favorite(s)!

-Erika

P.S. The only 100%, for sure, must-plant plant in this space are nasturtiums... yeah, yeah, they're not perennial and they like shade, but in the summer, they're so darned cute and nummy!

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I was going to suggest sage, rosemary and thyme until you said nasturtiums, which don't seem likely to combine well with those.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 11:04PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Lavender is also a great blooming medicinal, though I have trouble keeping them looking like a neat mound. The Spanish lavender in particular has nice flowers. California poppy will reseed here and come back year after year. Fennel, anise, and dill are annuals but liked by butterflies. Lovage is a perennial or biennial.

If you have room for vines you can plant the runner bean, which has red flowers that attract hummingbirds, and beans that can be eaten as snaps when young or as shellies when mature. Some perennial medicinal vines include Schizandra chinese, Polygonum multiflorum (Fo Ti or Ho Shu Wu), and Hops, Humulus.

Tough perennials- Lady's Mantle, Alchemilla, will reseed freely, very freely, and can be used as a tea, as can Achillea millefolium (yarrow).

The PNW has lots of "weed" medicinals too, like Self-heal, Prunella, which has been developed into named varieties; Cleavers; Ribwort Plantain; Stinging Nettle; Red Clover; even the lowly dandelion. Of course they grow and multiply like weeds.:-)

Here is a link I googled, in Seattle.

Here is a link that might be useful: Butterfly herb garden

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 5:03PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Speaking of weeds...

Here is a link that might be useful: Common Fennel

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 1:35AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Good site, bboy. The fennel on sale at local seed racks, like Ed Hume and Lily Miller, are the bulbing kind of fennel that is a reccommended alternative.

Penstemon, hardy Fuchsias like David, and Phygelius have red flowers that appeal to hummingbirds, but I think none of my Phygelius survived this last winter.:-(

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 4:54PM
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PRO
George Three LLC

here are a couple plants i have been loving lately.

if you are watering:

helianthus tuberosus. edible tuber, great flowers.

sanguisorba minor. cucumber tasting herb. fruit salads. try it in chilled red wine!

anthriscus sylvestris 'ravenswing'. sharp flavored edible leaves. amazing foliage.

perilla frutescens 'Akashiso'. also great foliage. try it in stir fries.

if you are not watering much:

clinopodium douglasii. tea. sprawling.

prostanthera rotundifolia. tea. upright flowering.

billardiera longiflora. twisting climber. edible fruits. flowers.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 5:32PM
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