What to grow in front of and around the white azaleas?

rizzir(z7b TN)June 8, 2005

Here's a couple of pics of my azalea bed. To me it's sparse - pretty much just azaleas (and a few things I stuck in there because I had nowhere else - use them or tell me to move them, I'm fine with either.)

I'd like year-round interest, and I'm open to perennials or annuals. What you see there is soaker hose that I've never gotten around to installing, and my garden hose that I can't wind up because the handle on the hose box snapped off the other day.

What would you recommend I plant in this bed with the azaleas?

-Regina

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jennbenn(z7b)

What about some hellebores, hostas, ferns, maybe a hydrangea??? For some annuals, what about some impatiens or petunias? To me, I think you need some layers! Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 10:25PM
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rizzir(z7b TN)

Layers sounds good! How?

I'm not sure where the hydrangea would go - I've only known them to get very big and wide?

As for hellebores, hostas, and ferns... I guess I should have mentioned this is a full sun location a bit on the dry side due to the wide eaves on my house. I will eventually install the soaker hoses so it will be more moist, but it will always be sunny. Right now there is a large maple that casts shade on this bed for about 1.5 hours but we plan to take it down because it's elderly and sick.

Still, I get the idea about levels. I'm just wondering, do I plant things that will obscure the azaleas once they are done blooming, or do I just plant around them? I have never yet succeeded at doing a multi-level, successive-blooming bed. I don't even know where to begin. I could do one that blooms all at once (go buy multi-level plants that are all in bloom and full size at the same moment) but that's not going to look very good once the blooms are gone... please can someone outline the basics of how this is done? Or is it just too complicated?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 11:31PM
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rizzir(z7b TN)

Also, would it help to see a list of the full-sun plants I have available?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 11:32PM
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DirtDiggingLady

Regina,

The Lantana that a friend gave me about 8 plants of seems to be a low-growing, sun-loving kind of plant. I have my first bloom after planting them a couple of weeks ago. The ones she gave me are yellow, but I have seen many different colors and they seem to bush out.

Petunias are also low-growing, sun-loving plants and really look impressive to me because the bush out like the impatiens, but impatiens like the shade. I think they would jazz it up there.

I have some of that variegated monkey-grass (liriope?) in front of my azaleas which brighten it up there with their light green & white striped leaves.

You can look at my most recent webshots page of my yard. I seem unable to figure out how to post it so it will work so I'll send you an invitation if I can find your email addy.

Katie

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 11:27AM
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amazondoc(mid-TN, z 7)

"As for hellebores, hostas, and ferns... I guess I should have mentioned this is a full sun location a bit on the dry side due to the wide eaves on my house."

That's bad news for the azaleas. They need part shade and moisture.

"I'm just wondering, do I plant things that will obscure the azaleas once they are done blooming, or do I just plant around them?"

Plant around, and at their feet.

"please can someone outline the basics of how this is done? Or is it just too complicated?"

It's not so much that it's complicated, but that there are so many directions you could go -- and we can't tell you really appropriate directions without knowing the site and your preferences better.

Hellebores will stand for a lot, so they could be a good choice. Hostas are common around azaleas, but that's because azaleas are usually planted in more shady areas. That variegated bishop's weed you got will stand nearly anything -- but it WILL spread. Plant something short in front, and maybe something tall behind (I forget how much space there was back there). And have fun. You do NOT have to get it right the first time!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 11:32AM
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DirtDiggingLady

Regina,

I think I finally figured out how to get a correct link. Here is one that shows the variegated liriope in front of my azaleas. You can see it better if you enlarge the photo to full screen size.

Katie

Here is a link that might be useful: Azaleas with variegated monkey grass in front

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 11:59AM
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jennbenn(z7b)

Regina, I am sorry, before I suggested all those plants due to the fact I assumed the bed was in part shade or shade!! Like Amazondoc said, there is no wrong or right. Your options are endless really- there are many plants that will do well in your situation! You just have to find what look you like and go from there! I do like how Katie has the liriope in front of the azaleas.. it looks very nice and fresh and is very low maintenance I am sure! Let us know what you decide. I do think if you want layers put something tall- behind the azaleas if it will fit, then fill in around the azaleas, then in front with something lower!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 2:02PM
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Big_Orange_Vol(MiddleTN)

Regina where did you get those concrete lentils to edge the bed? I need some of those in a bad way. What lengths do they come in?

I'd run some perpendicular back to the house and stair-step the beds so everything doesn't wash down the hill.

We've got several different kinds of Hosta around our Azaleas.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 6:00PM
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rizzir(z7b TN)

See the post about the butterfly bushes for info on the retaining wall material.

As for the Azaleas' location, that was the TV show people. I don't have a better spot for them at present, and they don't seem to HATE it there, so I guess they can stay. I have a rhodie in the front bed, too, and it doesn't complain. I just am sure to feed them and water them regularly. So far so good. The azaleas lived a year in my driveway with exposed rootballs, and the rhodie lived several days barerooted in the street before I found it and brought it home, so they are tough. I tell them so all the time.

I pretty much like anything, plant-wise, so I'm open to suggestions. I have liriope, though not variegated. It is coming up all over in those beds now - I think last year's berries are sprouting. What do you do about that?

I can't tell you why I'm having such a hard time with this. I just am. I suppose I should just risk killing something and throw it in there...

    Bookmark   June 11, 2005 at 7:49PM
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jennbenn(z7b)

Regina,
What is on the other side of your steps? Its hard to get a good feel for the whole house and beds and the size of it all.. Is your house a ranch style..ie: low to the ground? Can you post one more picture showing the whole house? Do you have a style you are attracted to? Do you like symmetry, foliage, flowers, or both? Do you like order? Or do you like a jumbley cottage feel? Just wondering.... it might help you get an idea!!!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2005 at 11:31PM
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rizzir(z7b TN)

I have been taking "time of day" shots all around the property - you can look at that set of pages to see what my grounds look like. See the link below. Thanks for putting your brain power to this!

And yes, you will see some tall things planted in front of short things... I had many things that I was not sure how big they were going to be when I planted them... so now I know, and I will be moving things around once they are finished flowering! Please feel free to suggest where they all could be moved to!

I must confess, this property is exceptionally challenging. In reality, it is much more than my azalea bed that I need help designing. It's pretty much the whole property. There is a serious slope behind the house that I have not attempted to work in the 8 years I've been in the house. I feel I am just now gaining the skills to face that hill, and the rest of the property. The East side, where my tour starts, is where the veg garden used to be until the boundary dispute with the neighbor. I'm thinking of making that the tropical garden since it's such full sun. But how to lay it out? Not sure! I have other needs, too. Not that I have children yet, but at some point I think I will, so I need a children's play area, or the whole property needs to be designed to be a great place for kids to play (while not damaging my flowers!) I'd love to create an "outdoor room" where I could feel secluded and not feel as if all can see me if I choose to sunbathe. I'd love to create a shade garden in the eastern half of the hill (where it is quite shady) and eventually I will build a running stream water feature with all the river rock I have collected in the past eight years. I'd like to have a "master plan" so I know what needs to be done next, if you know what I mean, but hiring a designer isn't in the cards for us. I'm open to suggestions on how to go about transforming my property into a fully functional one!

And yes, I think the pics will show, it is a low ranch. And I laid that marble on the front step and stoop myself!

-Regina

Here is a link that might be useful: Time of Day webpages for Regina's house

    Bookmark   June 12, 2005 at 12:24PM
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jennbenn(z7b)

Regina,
Your property is challenging! I live in a major flatland! So its hard to relate to hills, etc. I really don't know what to do with that, but its great! There seems to be a ton of space to work with! Its good you have an idea of what you want, and one area at a time, it will all fall into place! Its overwhelming at times, I know it was for me and still is, but I am quickly running out of space! Anyhoo! I think what could work for you is this-- I like how the bed across the steps is so "loose" and cottagey! I say continue with this feel and I can't tell what the drapey stuff is thats drapped over the bed liner its kind of a yellowy low grower, do some more of that or a plant that is similiar to continue to disguise your edges of the beds, do on both sides. You seem to have lots of yellows and organges that other bed as well, can you divide some and place over to the other side? What you have on one, should work in the other. The azaelas will just be an evergreen backdrop for your summer bloomers! I am still not sure about something behind the azaela's- its just too hard for me to tell if you have room or not. For now maybe just try to keep whats there, and mimic some of whats next door. This is an inexpensive way to finish your cottagey look, plus you can always go find more things to tuck in! (more money for that if you use some of what you have!). Lastly, since you have like a stair step flower bed, don't forget the one next to the azaelas, fill that one up to! First just try to work with what you have, you have some "bones" and see how you like it! What do you think?

Here is a link that might be useful: your front!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2005 at 3:32PM
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rizzir(z7b TN)

Thanks for the suggestions, Jenn. That low yellowy stuff is Sedum sarmentosum and it grows like crazy! All you need is one little string of it and you'll have it forever...

I like the cottage feel, too, but I like a little more order. I didn't realize how tall certain things would be at maturity, so some need moving around, and some will probably not stay in those beds at all. I'm not sure I'm crazy about the yellow combinations I have at present, but overall I'd like to continue the cottage feel. You're right that I could try to continue it across the sidewalk in the azalea bed.

There is about 3 sq ft behind each of the rear bushes, and about 12 sq ft in front of each. There's probably 4 sq ft. in front of the bush that sits more forward.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2005 at 5:05PM
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