Need Suggestions--Re-working Planter Bed

blheron(7 and 8)June 28, 2010

Looking for some help, hope someone can jump-start my brain!

I have a planting bed in my front yard sandwiched between two sidewalks leading up to my front door. Over the last 40 years I've had several different configurations, and the last has been the best, but it has outgrown the bed---and I don't have the energy I once had to keep it up.

I've posted some photos here:

The bed is on the NW side of the house and gets late afternoon sun. I'm in the process of taking it apart, the boxes have rotted. You can see in the photos I have already removed one. The potted plants on the sidewalk have been removed. The bed is triangular, about 20' along the sidewalk and 12' wide at the driveway, narrowing to a point at the front door. I'd like to replace pretty much everything except the Juniper on the end. The 3 Rhodies have few blooms because they have grown together so tightly and I have to keep topping them. I would like to move them to a different part of the yard. I will have a few boxes, maybe along the sidewalk edge, for some blooming perennials and annuals, but I need low maintenance plants.

If anyone has any suggestions I would *really* appreciate it, this is a lot more work than I expected. I need to know:

1. Is this a bad time to move the Rhodies and any suggestions for moving/replanting them?

2. Suggestions for low maintenance, attractive, evergreen shrubs to replace the Rhodies and fill in the rest of the bed?

3. Suggestions for easy care blooming (color)annuals/perennials for the boxes? I tend to like a red/white/blue color scheme but just about anything but yellow and orange are OK.

I still have to build the boxes, I was waiting to decide size based on what else is in the bed. I also have major problems with weeds---neighbors with 2 foot dandelion lawns :(. I'm also not at home a lot during the summer so not able to constantly deadhead and prune. Sprinkler system keeps everything watered.

I would *so* appreciate some help, I'm really stuck! I want it to be attractive, but I don't have the strength or energy at my age to do this again :(.

Thanks for any help!


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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

If it were mine I'd put in some heaths and heathers with contrasting foliage colors. They do need an annual shearing but that is it for maintenance. A couple dwarf conifers would add height and texture.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 10:56AM
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blheron(7 and 8)

Thanks buyorsell888, I was beginning to think everyone had abandoned their computers for the garden :o)!

Interesting you mention Heathers, I think that's what I started with 40 years ago! It is one of the things I am considering. I've heard the term "Heath" but I have to say I'm not really familiar with them. I'll check them out.

I have a large backyard and the front is fairly large, too. Lots of trees and many evergreens. Any suggestions for a dwarf? I considered planting a regular evergreen conifer and keeping it pruned, but I like a more natural look. If you notice in the photo, across the sidewalk I have a Hemlock that is about 30 ft high! started it from a 1' tree we picked up in the Nation Forest while out Christmas Tree cutting many years ago. We keep the side on the sidewalk sheared up about 7-8 ft and it's like a hedge.

Thanks again for the input, hope more jump in with suggestions. Off to check out Heaths!


    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 11:43AM
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