Desperate for ideas

rocks911June 3, 2011

I have an area in my back yard that is unsightly because I cant seem to get anything to grow there and I'm about to the point of cementing it.

The area is a strip of ammended soil that is sprinklered and has a southern exposure. The afternoon sun is brutal and relentless. The strip is a couple of feet wide and runs the length of a four car garage, with a sidewalk on the other side, so the radiated heat from the garage wall and from the sidewalk is another consideration.

The only thing that did reasonably well were madigascar periwinkles.

I've tride any number of things that my local nurseryman told me would do great, but they just contributed to his bottom line and soon died. I've tried Texas dasies, Lavender, and butterfly irises. The irises are the only thing that kinda made it a year, though they look pretty hagard.

This area is by my pool and while the rest of the back pation is gorgeous this area is the pits.

Did I mention that my pomeranian pees there also.

I will try to get a picture posted soon, but in the mean time is there any plant/flower either perennial or annual that is bulletfroof?

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I have a strip like that and the only things that thrived were nandina and dwarf yaupon. But, my area was only 2 feet wide and the both of them grew to the point that they crowded over the sidewalk, and then I was constantly cutting them back. I pulled the yaupon out because it grew so quickly, and still have the nandina. At least I can cut a few canes down at the ground and it is a year or more before they crowd the sidewalk again.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 7:14PM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

There are several areas in my yard like that. Russian Sage has been a great bloomer in those spots. Other things that work are lantana, Mexican bird of paradise, Texas sage, dwarf yaupon, and Mexican feather grass.

I have attached a link from last year with pics.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 7:19PM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

Salvia greggii would work great there too. It's available in a range of colors from white to red with variations of pink in between. Mine has survived a two year drought without supplemental water and as much as 10 hours of sun during the summer.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 9:49PM
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ExoticRGVNativesTy(10a TX)

Try Texas Lantana (L. urticoides). Mine have bloomed very well so far this year despite extreme drought and minimal irrigation.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 10:47PM
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Datura would work there.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 11:16PM
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rock oak deer,

I like Texas sage, both the shrub and blooms. Do they lose foliage in winter? Isnt their mature size kinda big, like 4 foot tall and around? Can I keep them compact without damaging them? Should I plant now (early June) and expect them to do fine, or wait until the dog days of summer are over?

Thanks for the post and everyone else who took the time also to help such a lost gardening soul

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 12:33PM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

The Texas sage doesn't lose foliage in San Antonio in the winter. I've also seen them growing in colder areas and the leaves were sparser in winter, but still there.

They can get pretty big, more like six feet tall. We keep ours trimmed down and there is a compacta type that stays smaller. You can prune by half in spring and they will grow back by the end of the summer. Best not to trim in early fall because they will not put out new growth and look terrible all winter.

They need rain to bloom so we rarely see them bloom around here the last few years due to drought. The drought has also limited the new growth the last few years too.

Since your spot is very hot, it's best to wait. We do plant even in the heat by watering a lot and shading with a box propped up on a stick, covering with sheets or whatever is available.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 2:00PM
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you could try some native honeysuckles (lonicera). i have goldflame, and mandarin; very pretty. i also have carolina jasmine and japonica. they're all growing on the south side of my north fence in full sun, all day long. they'll need plenty of water the first year, but once they are established, they are fairly heat and drought tolerant. you can grow them as ground cover or build a small trellis on or close to the garage wall.

day lilies seem to do well in full, all day sun as long as they get water.

crepe myrtles seem to grow very well down here in the Houston area, they're everywhere. i'd suggest dwarf varieties as the full sized ones get fairly large.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 3:14AM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

My "inferno strip" along the sidewalk has all the same things yours does including the dog pee.
I have all aggressive native plants there. Primrose, mexican feather grass,wild mimosa(volunteered),zinnia from seed, rock rose, salvia coccenia, linhiemer's guara, bluebonnets, red yucca and about 4" of cedar mulch and lots of limestone rocks next to plant's roots to protect them from the heat.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 10:57AM
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What about mixing in low-growing sedums for groundcover around the taller plants?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 11:36AM
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