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Ok friends, put on your thinking caps!

Posted by nannerbelle 8A (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 15, 13 at 15:04

Well all, once again I'm starting from a clean canvas on a yard and garden. The new house is under construction and I should be moving sometime in June. The yard is going to be a mix of sun, part shade and shade. I have some areas that are heavy shade. Now where I'm looking for some ideas. I've got the sun part covered. I'm currently heavy sun and will be taking all the plants I currently have with me. So I'm pretty well covered for sun. At least for the first year until I get all these re-planted and going well. The partial shade, and shade, I need ideas. I haven't done any shade gardening in quite a few years and the area I had before was pretty small. I did great with hostas and impatiens in that yard. So who has some good suggestions for my shade areas?? Also I'm looking for a suggestion on what grass will do well for the lawn with this huge variation of conditions as well. Thanks for any ideas and help!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Ok friends, put on your thinking caps!

I love my ferns in the shade, hellebores, astilbe, lilly of the valley, solomon's seal (sorry if spelled incorrectly) just to name a few. In my part shade just about any sun plant will do fine but tends to grow a little taller for me. I have roses, clematis, black eyed susan's, sedum, lambs ear all doing well with just a couple of hours of sun a day. As far as grass goes, I can testify to the fact that bermuda will not do well in shady areas. Our front lawn full sun is lush, the shaded areas are slowly becoming bare.


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RE: Ok friends, put on your thinking caps!

Hi nannerbelle ! Are deer going to be an issue?
I'm discovering lots of shade shrubs. Elaeagnus is so fragrant now preceeding the wild honeysuckle. I hear it's a nitrogen fixer so I'm going to try planting under/near it and see if plantings thrive for the nitrogen.

Sweetshrub. Kind of a nondescript with aromatic foliage of no particular beauty but the dark mahogany red flowers are just starting to open. Surprised that even the two foot tall seedlings nearby (hint..it seeds easily) are putting up blooms. Once the blooms are open, they are quite fragrant.
The structure is airy/leggy so front with something evergreen and dense.

Older varieties of the tall blueberry shrubs..they give nice background under tall canopy/forest edge and they turn the most wonderful salmon color foliage in fall. Lowes had the taller version on their racks. (just sayin'..I buy from independents)

This yard is , some would say..infested with Rose of Sharon. All different colors. Bright light is all they ask for and they are thriving in the mostly acid soil.

I think first do the skeleton background of shrubs and pay attention to prevailing breezes and sun path as you site your shrubs.
Damp feet area in bright forest edge? Florida anise,ilex

Then, drag out your old "Southern Gardener Book of Lists"
by Lois Trigg Chaplin.
I'm a fan of the loropetalums and having had the biggest ones, the tallest thinnest ones I'm now excited about the smaller dwarf variety with deep purple leaves to be a background for a lime green w/ crimson splash leaved Heuchera.(s) (many many)
Astilbe is a reliable spring bloomer in bright shade.(oops..babelsrus mentioned that already). lemon verbena does fine in bright shade moist but well drained (elevated bed).
Another favorite early bloomer perennial is siserinchium (sp). The cultivated one is Lucerne and a truer blue than the native ones which are more blue violet.
Tricky part is siting them so you remember they aren't grass to be pulled up,sprayed or weeded out. So site them where later flowers will cover the grassy foliage.
In between bursts of flowering when some gardens look monochromatic green..coleus here and there bring reliable color foliage.
For that patchy sun spot or good morning sun til noon or so..I had the cottage look of mixed blackeyed susans with tall perennial ageratum. The blueviolet fuzz against the hard yellow orange petals around a fountain or birdbath was so pretty and easy care if you get the early weeds and grasses out.of the beds.


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RE: Ok friends, put on your thinking caps!

N..I'm having good luck with 'centipede' although expect a fair amount of easy to treat (kill) weeds until it's established.
Unlike Bermuda it doesn't sink it's running roots deeply or thickly so it's easy to trim or skive off the surface. It does as Bermuda does..turn wheat color in the late fall and is now greening up (or is that the weeds greening up?).(LOL)

Looks great in dappled and medium shade/full sun/part time sun, very drought tolerant once established (never watered it but for rain) and this is my third summer liking it.

Miss the year round green of fescue sod but don't miss the lawn care bills. The centipede is here in mostly dappled shade/part time sun til 3PM and it gets mowed every other week. I'd say you might want a mix of this and a clump growing variety for the harder shade areas (or limb up the trees).
That's all it needs.


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RE: Ok friends, put on your thinking caps!

Wow! Great ideas Dottie and Bablerus! I think we are all thinking along the same path. Dottie, I don't know if the deer will be a problem or not. I have a ton of them both here and at the new farm. But they have never bothered my landscaping here at all. I may have been lucky but never even a nibble. Let's talk grass and lawn first. I miss the green in the cooler weather too of the fescue. I've also never had a lawn I hated to maintain more than a fescue lawn. To me having a fescue lawn is like having a high maintenance boy friend. They constantly require babying and end up costing you a lot of money with little return on investment. LOL Getting my Bermuda estabilished here has been a bit of a battle but yes, the yard is looking pretty good right now for me to move out. The new yard is rich loam and I think I'm going to be more shade than sun here. This land is a tree farm, heavy forest and we had a road cut in and a nice yard cut and our area for gardening, dog yard and a pool. The yard will only go out from the house about 50 Ft. The house will also shade in addition to the forest. It's a 2 story farmhouse design. Does your centipede do well in the shady area of your yard? The other I' was thinking of looking at is Kentucky Bluegrass. May be off base there but I seem to remember it likes forest and shade. I'll have to upload a pic of the front and back as it sits now. so you can see what I'm looking at from a shade perspective. With the plants I leaning toward an area of lush elephant ears in a damp area I have. I think it would be prime for them. The front will be more shaded and the back more sun. I have a couple of nice Gardenia's I was going to use in the beds on each side of the front porch. They should be in about the same type of environment they are here with sun and such. I have a few hostas and one small azalea here in a microscopic area of shade that I am also going to try to move to a comparable spot in the new yard, most likely in the front. I pretty much have the area in the back identified for my bananas, hibiscus and my other sun lovers. The first items I need to decide is the lawn, and pick out some nice base shrubs.


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RE: Ok friends, put on your thinking caps!

Getting a bit confused between what you have where you are and what you want and conditions where you are moving.

The centipede here is partly in midday sun, mostly dappled shade in other spots. Shaded by hardwoods limbed up.
It seems to be healthier growing in the dappled shade here.
Lawns are always a continuous re-do over the years. Trial and error as shade trees grow and shade trees die or storm fall.
As a long time gardener you know it's all a work in progress and growing conditions change and are different in so many spots of a yard.
I have a big gardenia in my present yard. The original owner (in the 1970's) thoughtfully planted it in a corner of the back yard knowing it would grow and the aroma of blooms would be overwhelming if it was planted near a house entry.
Also, viewed from a distance, the fading/browning flowers are less noticeable.

For your EEs..is that damp area getting good sun? Damp shade is a rotter of EE bulbs in my experience.
Trees can be limbed up, cut down or trimmed back to adjust the sunlight reaching the yard. Instant shade is harder to achieve so you're a step ahead solving the light issues.

You said the new yard is part of a tree farm .
Commercial production of pine trees or a farm of all different landscape trees and deciduous?

As mentioned, the Southern Gardener's Book of Lists is tremendously helpful since each growing condition has its
list of best choices.


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RE: Ok friends, put on your thinking caps!

Thanks for all the good info!! Dottie, it's partial Commercial Pine production and the rest of the property is mixed hardwood and pine. I have about 20 acres that are in Pine farm, 5 to 10 in Corn Production and the rest is a mix of hardwood and pine. This is where the house site is, in the mix area. I ordered the book you recommended, and it's great!! I can't believe I missed that one in my reference library. I think I have most everything else. I think I can get a good basis from that as the conditions all over the house site are varied and I have a specific idea for certain areas such as the pool area. It sure is a work in progress, I had barely scratched the surface of what I wanted to do here. Thanks again, and I'm sure we will all be talking for a long time on this topic with all the questions I'm sure to have. You all are the greatest!! :-)


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RE: Ok friends, put on your thinking caps!

nannerbelle, you're most welcome !
I just wanted to add that in my experience a blend of pine and deciduous is not optimum for the pine in the long run and their tap roots draw from water sources below the deciduous roots thus lowering the table and forcing the hardwoods to raise their laterals for rainwater making them more unstable.
Were it me , I'd be removing as many of the pines as possible from the blended forest this fall after the deciduous drop their leaves. At the very earliest, take away the pines closest to the house site and your well head.


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