Small Garden planning

jszone6bnjMarch 7, 2006

I could use some suggestions. I have a 15 by 9 area that I can plant along my house. It has townhouse type restrictions on all other areas.

Next to the house nearest the sun in the southeast I want to put a dwarf maple in a 30 inch pot. I know I would have to trim the roots in future seasons since the pot cant get any bigger as it grows. I assume I will have to trim it if it gets more that 5 feet high including the pot. Is this reasonable? Is there any other spreading little tree or bush that would be limited to 3 ft 6 inches. The pot will be 18 inches.

Next to it I want to plant Pampas Grass for privacy. 6 ft for the tree and 3 for two grass plants. Pampas grass is not supposed to be for zone 6 but I have seen it around here in central NJ and I love the plumes. I know it can grow 10 foot high. Can/Does it survive central NJ winters?

15 ft along the foundation I will put in a 18" planting border with hostas and ferns since the maple will get most of the sun.

I want it to be secluded even though only one 15 ft side is the house and an adjoining 9 ft i is the deck.

Along the 15ft outside exposure I am thinking about those plant shelves in target that are 3 ft long and have three shelves stacked. I can put pennywort in the bottom to spill out but what would anyone recommened for the other tiers.

I do not want to attract big bees.

What are your favorite non-bee plants for a small space. I will put some containers around.

The center will be a small patio for two chairs and a chest that is table, foot rest and storage.

I had a pond so I want to put a 100 gal bin pond in the corner by the deck and house. I know water plants from my previous pond.

What else can I cram in here?


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wolfe15136(z6 PA)

wow. Too many choices for me! I'm a big heurchera fan. I love the colors of foliage, and its not a big bee attractant.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 11:49AM
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janetr(Ottawa USDA 4a)

Non-bee plants. Impatiens would certainly qualify. They're not overly fond of geraniums either or wax begonias... My problem is, I'm always thrilled to see the bees, so I'm having trouble thinking of any. Why do you want to keep them out?

Will your plant shelves be in the sun? What do you mean, "in target"?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 10:59AM
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I think bees can be a problem for people who are allergic or simply don't like little flying things. I'll confess I love bees and love flowering plants and shrubs -- which is probably not what your looking for!

JS -- is your garden sunny or shady? Dry, or decent water? If you want to minimize bees, you probably want to concentrate on foliage plants. If you do a search for "foliage garden -- " and whatever qualifier you want to add, you'll probably come up with a good number of options. (Whenever I find a plant that sounds good, I always run a google search for images, so I can see if it's really that good!)

Off the top of my head, I'm trying to think of things that would give you that nice, cozy feel.
How about Lady's Mantle, Alchemilla mollis?

Or maybe Lamium? (Dead nettles is not such a pretty name, but they are pretty plants.)

Lirope makes a nice edging, and pachysandra or vinca minor for a ground cover.

If you can narrow down what your criteria are, the Missouri Botanical Gardens have a really nice plant finder search engine. You just plug in height, spread, maintainence requirements, zone, etc., and they give you some options. Sometimes you have to do a little tinkering, but it's a nice way to get started sorting thru the bazillion plants that are available!

Here is a link that might be useful: MBG Plant Finder

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 1:16PM
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plantfiend(z7 VanBC)

Is the Pampas grass going to be next to where anyone needs to walk? They have very sharp blades and are not a plant I would choose if anyone will need to brush up against it.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 2:56PM
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Thanks for the replies.

The garden will get afternoon sun. The maple and the ornamental grass will get most to the first sun. If I stand on the 10 by 15 foot patio the maple and grass are South-east. to my right is open 15 foot facing south southwest. This is where I want to put a wall of containers (they sell this in the Target store) to create a more shady private patio area. I want to use at least two 3 tier shelves for containers to partly enclose the patio. To my left is the house and to my back is the deck. I am looking at posts and checking the images like Heurchera. I am retired so I can water everything every day.

These forums are great. I found a great article on potting and repotting needs of maples and Al's general theory of water control in containers. I love to learn these details.

This will be a small space when I add a water feature, two chairs a foot rest and maybe one of those chiminy Chimera? to extend my season for sitting out. The bees make me and my wife nervous.

On reflection, I have never been stung by a bee that I didn't step on so I am softening on this topic. If you slow when you make them nervous - buzzy they just settle down and go back to bee business. We may be confusing them with yellow jackets and wasps. There number will not be affected by the preence of flowers. I guess I can not resist some Canna that I like. I will try for a smaller variery.

We used to have a lot of impatiens and boginias so they will fit for the border and some containers. I also want to try several coleus. They are so colorful.

Thanks for the reminder about pampus grass. I had it by the pond where I used to live and had a lot of room. I will try to find another fountain grass that will grow to four or five foot that I can get cozier with.

I want bigger ground cover for a border 18 inches wide so this can be Hostas. The Lamium looks good for this too.

I am finding plant search engines.

Thanks to all of you this forum is great.

Jim S in NJ

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 8:22PM
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janetr(Ottawa USDA 4a)

Jim, here is a great source for checking up on various perennials. I am assuming that for the plant shelves, annuals would be a better idea, and cascading ones would be really great. I also get the impression that they'd get a lot of sun so you'd probably want to think of the kind of things that often sell in hanging baskets, verbenas, petunias, and so on.

As for bees, I also have never been stung by one that I hadn't stepped on, and my garden is usually humming with them. Even though wasps are more aggressive, I've never been stung by them either, but we've had to have nests removed on more than one occasion. Which is a long way of saying, I really don't think there's anything to worry about. If you leave them alone, they'll return the favour. I can watch them working over my anise hyssop for hours.

Good luck with your project and post pictures if you can!

Here is a link that might be useful: Perennial database

    Bookmark   March 18, 2006 at 3:37PM
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jweaver28(z7 VA)

If you have any relatives or friends who are allergic, I strongly advise against pampas grass. The pollen can be something else. Also, its self seeding abilities make it a plant non grata in many states (it might even be illegal now in CA). Last spring I removed pampas grass planted by a previous owner. Quite a task--ended up using leather gloves, a machete, a sawsall and mattock--and several days' labor for a 2x2 foot base clump (more like 4x4 with leaves). I didn't want to use toxics like roundup and contaminate the soil for the next year plus, so the daylilies and rudbeckia planted in its place are doing fine. All in all, removal is easier than bamboo, which isn't saying much. Pampas grass is really quite pretty from a distance, but the leaves are razor sharp. Plus, to look its best, the old leaves and plumes need to be cut nearly to the ground every spring, which is time-consuming (and allergy aggravating).

    Bookmark   March 18, 2006 at 10:25PM
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