Ideas for full-sun planting on border of walkway

tcahalan(z6 TN)October 3, 2005

Hi - I haven't posted in a long time - we had a baby girl 14 months ago, and the garden has taken a back seat since then. I'm now starting to look around and realizing that the garden needs some attention, and I need some help. We live in an old, pale yellow bungalow in an historic district. Unfortunately, thanks to the remnants of hurricane Katrina we had a huge old maple crash into the house and take out the porch and our walkway to the house. The good news is that it jump starts our renovation of the walkway. It's about 40 feet long, 6 ft wide, plain concrete and leads out to the sidewalk with lawn on either side. It's very boring (we're thinking of adding a brick edging) and I'd like to add some cottage garden style plantings on either side to soften the walkway and bring some color to the house. (The foundation plantings are otto lukyen (sp?) laurels.) I need it to be low maintenance (did I mention the baby?) and consistent with the bungalow/cottage look of the house. I'd appreciate anyone's suggestions! Thanks for letting me lurk when the baby is taking a nap!


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amazindirt(7A mid-TN)

Hiya -- glad to see you back!

What part of TN are you in? What kind of dirt do you have? How's the drainage? Do you have a certain height range in mind? What other plants do you already have in the yard, aside from the laurel?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 11:29AM
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tcahalan(z6 TN)

Hi - all great questions. Let's see . . .
What part of TN are you in? I'm in Middle TN - Franklin
What kind of dirt do you have? Pretty compact but not too bad (not heavy clay), but I'm planning to dig in compost, etc to improve it
How's the drainage? Pretty good
Do you have a certain height range in mind? I was thinking a range from ground covers up to 2 ft or so
What other plants do you already have in the yard, aside from the laurel? Let's see . . the walkway heads straight to the house from the street. To the right we have a small October Glory maple (15') that we started before the giant maple crashed down. On the left side of the porch (the side not crunched) we have a large climbing rose (yellow). To the left of the house is a picket fence (parallel to the street) with a cottage-style garden in front (phlox, russian sage, hardy geraniums, herbs, cone flowers, shasta daisies, black-eyed susans). There's also a funky crepe myrtle behind the fence (when we bought it, it was supposed to be white, but when it bloomed it was mostly a purpley mauve color with some white - obviously two plants in one! it's turned more purple than white).

Thanks for your advice!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 10:49PM
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amazindirt(7A mid-TN)

Okay -- good info!

Are you determined to have something different, or would more of the same be okay? Coneflowers, shasta daisies, black-eyed susans, and phlox would probably all do great. I'm also having lots of fun this year with tall salvias, like Salvia guaranitica. You could use Verbena bonariensis as filler in between all of them.

If that doesn't sound just mahvelous, then what colors are especially appealing to you?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 11:40PM
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Hi Tina!
Your post could have been mine two summers ago when we lost a big Maple in front of our pale yellow bungalow in a historic district of Memphis. The loss of our tree was a mixed blessing. On the down side, we lost the shade to the front of our west-facing house. On the up side, where before little would grow under the tree, now the new bed is full of color from spring through frost.

My problem with the new bed was tree roots close to the surface. They will eventually decompose, but the first year they were a problem, so I piled on compost, manure, topsoil, soil conditioner, etc. making a slightly raised bed and improving drainage.

I had existing pink Crepe Myrtles beside our drive, and a bed in front of our picket fence on our property line filled with pink shrub and climbing roses, Lycoris squamigera (Naked Ladies) which flower in mid summer, white phlox 'David', yellow daylilies, Shasta 'Becky', Geranium 'Rozanne', Iris (both Siberian and Bearded), Stokesia, and a purple Butterfly Bush.

In the new bed I planted yellow and pink Daylilies, Iris, yellow Blanket Flower, Thread-leaf Coreopsis, Chrysanthemum 'Sheffield Pink' and 'Clara Curtis', and Verbena 'Homestead Purple'. The verbena grew quickly and completely filled in the bed. The combination was so pretty, we got "Yard of the Month" last August.

Both beds have daffodils that flower in the spring, and last fall I planted about a hundred pink tulips under the Crepe Myrtles, the new center bed, the side bed, and by our front door. I also interplanted annuals - pink, white, and lavender poppies, 'Star white' Zinnia, pale pink Gomphrena, and yellow Melampodium, and along the drive in the new bed - some lavender Heliotrope I grew from seed collected from an "Athens Select" plant last year. Those have flowered since July and make a lovely annual ground cover.

I'm growing three ground covers successfully - Veronica 'Athens Blue', Laurentia "Blue Star Creeper", and purple Mazus reptans between stepping stones and under foundation plantings.

These plantings are really low maintenance. The only things I've needed to do have been to collect seeds from the poppies and other plants and deadhead the blanket flowers and daylilies.

Good luck with your new sun garden. As much as a shock I know losing your tree has been, you'll be happy come next summer.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 11:03AM
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tcahalan(z6 TN)

Thanks for the advice! I don't know why I didn't think of just repeating some of the themes from my other garden, especially since they are working well. WildRose - your garden sounds beautiful! I can't wait for the contractors to finish up so I can get digging!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 10:39PM
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amazindirt(7A mid-TN)

Yeah, I love her ideas too. I'm a collector -- she's obviously a much better designer than I am! :-)

Have fun with the new project! I LOVE starting new beds -- all those possibilities, all that space! Enjoy it!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2005 at 12:29AM
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