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Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

Posted by davidkinter 8b (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 21, 13 at 21:44

In the last 6 months my wife and I purchased our first house. Now, we are in the process of fixing it to our tastes. In the front of the house were 6 feet tall bushes that were around 6 feet deep. They were huge and nearly covered the master bedrooms windows. Since, we have cut them down bit by bit to get them under control but have decided to remove them.

What I need help with is selecting flowers that will look good in front of our home. The flower bed is 21 feet long and 4 feet 10 inches deep. I have mixed the top 10 inches of soil with some Scotts garden soil to enrich it and have removed some sand. The soil was extremely sandy.

Attached is a picture of my home so you can get an idea of what may look good with it. My wife and I want to do something like a formal 3 row style flower garden. We don't want it to be too busy. We also want to use perennials so that we don't have to replant every year. Lastly, we want to select plants that flower throughout the year so that we have something blooming all or most of the year. The one flower we have selected to use is the calla lily. It flowers mid summer through fall. We want to get a blue/violet color for our lilies. I am aware that they will need a healthy covering of mulch to keep them warm enough in winter to survive.

What else will look good with my home and the calla lilies?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

Hi,
Knockout Roses, Mona Lavender, Dwarf Azaleas, Variegated Ginger, Dwarf Tibouchina, Cape Honeysuckle, various varieties of day lily, and Apostles or Louisiana Iris. If you have an area for vines, Jasmine. If you can get ahold of one, Vietnamese Hollyhocks, although they are biennials. Gazanias have done well for me, although for me, they need some shade. Guara is pretty. Mexican Petunia can take over the flower bed! Small varieties of Lantana that are sterile are nice.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

Thank you for the suggestions. I loved the double knock out roses and the lavender.

How would you feel about the double knock out roses up against the house, a row of calla lilies down the center, and lavender up toward the front?

The only thing that concerns me is the size of all the bushes. Is 4'10" wide going to be enough for all three to be next to one another?

Also, I am a guy and my taste is terrible. Will dark red roses, blue calla lilies, and lavender go well together?


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

I'm a guy with lousy taste as well... but from what I understand, those colors should work well together. The idea is to keep the color wheel in mind. With focus on the primary colors. From what I've been learning/reading, you pick either one primary color and its secondary opposite or you can pick two primary colors and work with those and the colors between.

Examples:
Blue and Orange (Blue's secondary opposite) should work well together, as would Yellow and Purple (this can be seen in some formal beds right now with Easter being here). This gives a stark contrast to the bed/arrangement.
Red, Yellow and shades of Orange should also work together. These colors are complementary to each other and give the bed a blended feel.
White is a neutral and will work with anything and add 'pop' to the arrangement.

In your setup, you're talking about red, lavender and blue. Two primaries and a secondary between them. So those colors should work well together.

I'm using a variation on the second example for my daughter's butterfly garden. I picked Red as the primary color and I'm using the secondary colors on either side of Red for variety. So I have Orange, Red and Purple in the bed. I'm waiting for the blooms to kick in (most are being grown from seeds) to see how they are going to end up looking together. If the orange and purple don't work well together, I will end up changing it to a Red, Orange and Yellow bed.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

Hi David,

Welcome to Jacksonville! Unfortunately, calla lilies do not grow in Florida. Not at all. Yes, you see them in all of the garden centers and big box stores (along with hostas, dahlias, tulips, asiatic lilies and a bunch of other northern plants) every spring when there is still a chill in the air. But they are basically stealing your money. Calla lilies will not last even through spring much less grow or come up out of the ground the next year. You won't even see one single plant return. I hate to be a bearer of bad news but hopefully you will appreciate the information before you spend a lot of money.

I also like blues, pinks, reds and whites. A good no-brainer plant for NE Florida is plumbago. You can put it in the ground and not worry about it coming back or blooming from year to year.

The knockout roses are another good idea. Prune them heavily each March - back to canes no smaller than a wooden pencil.

I would draw an imaginary X over your house and plant an anchor tree or plant a good 8-12' from the front corners of your home and build beds that extend out around them. It will look better than straight rows across the front of the house.

A hearty border grass like Liriope will give you no problems at all. You can use it for edging or as a filler plant. They are another no-brainer.

I would stick to 3-4 colors. In my opinion, using tons of different plants and colors makes it look like a Disney World of plants. Too much going on and a bit chaotic. Repeat plantings of similar groupings has much better impact.

See the link below for more good ideas! The 6th and 7th photos are especially good. And have fun!

Carol in Jacksonville

Here is a link that might be useful: Central Florida Gardener blog

This post was edited by love_the_yard on Fri, Mar 22, 13 at 21:18


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

Carol, I would disagree about the Calla Lillies. My wife bought some two years ago and after the blooms were spent, I put the bulbs into some raised boxes that I had built at the front of the house at the time. They came back the next spring. When I dismantled the boxes last summer, I took the bulbs over to my mother's and they are coming up again now. However, while they came back, they didn't last long. They only lasted through the spring and then it started getting too warm for them and I cut them back down to the ground, where they obediently stayed until the next spring.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

Having said that, those Calla Lillies weren't planted in amended soil. They were planted in boxes (and now pots) with straight-up garden soil. No mixing with native sands.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

Leekle, the calla lilies in the garden centers here in Jacksonville are already looking stressed, and yellow, and laying on their sides, and mostly dead. And it is only March. My hat is off to you for getting such great results! You certainly have a green thumb!  photo woo_hooo.gif

I still would not recommend them to 1) a new Florida gardener to plant 2) as a perennial in a bed that 3) gets direct sun. I just don't see it turning out as intended.

Does anyone here have a bed full of callas? I would love to see photos! Please prove me wrong.

Carol


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

I don't know if I have a green thumb... maybe lime green. At the time that I planted those bulbs, I wasn't even really into gardening yet. I simply had two 3'wx3'lx1.5'h boxes made from pressure treated wood. I had four lantanas per box and quickly learned that was way too small a container for those plants. I just threw the lilly bulbs into the center of these boxes and left them there. The key to my 'success' might have been that 1) They were in boxes of garden soil, 2) the area they resided was pretty covered by the foliage of the lantanas and 3) the boxes were positioned right against the east wall of my house, so they only got morning sun. Once it hit around 1pm, they were in shade, so they didn't get the brunt of the afternoon sun. And being that they were surrounded by huge mounds of lantanas, when they came back the next spring, they were barely noticable. You had to be right on top of the planter boxes to see them.

We have some new calla lilly bulbs right now. My wife loves them and tends to buy them in the Spring. They're still doing okay for us, but they're hiding in the lanai right now. I'm going to try putting them with my knock-out rose in a heavily amended bed that will be kept moist by means of daily watering from its own dedicated rain-barrel. The area I have picked for this little test bed is about 10 ft further away from the same east wall that the boxes were against. So they will be getting a fair bit more sun. I'll let you know next spring if they manage to come back. If I remember that is.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

Drift Roses are a smaller version, which might suit a smaller area. Variegated Ginger helps bring out the colors, I like purple and yellow combos and the variegated ginger complements many color schemes. As a filler I use ornamental sweet potato vine which will add purple as well, it is a good ground cover, you'll also have plenty to share, it roots easily. Have you considered Agapanthus, Lily of the Nile? I have a new favorite in my garden Calibrachoas, great as a border or will trail over rocks. They look like mini Petunias and really add color.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

Get rid of them bushes. They are what I call a security issue and need to go. Open up your front walk and door way. I agree with Carol. Callas will not do good here. In a container for a while maybe but in this sandy ground they will become smaller and compost in no time. Disappearing no reappearing bulb. Do some drive bys in your neighborhood and see what has worked for others. Grasses, roses, agapanthus are good but think of a tree for shade too. Keep adding to the soil. You are living on a sand bar. Welcome to Jax. I am on the Southside. Paula


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

And idea: If you want the Calla Lillies, you can try what I've been experimenting with ever since my trips to Sea World. While the pots they had were too large for me to have lifted to verify (they were huge 30-50 gal pots), it looked like they had nested terracotta pots so they could fairly easily change the decor without having to constantly dig up plants. Basically, you dig a hole and sink one of the terracotta pots into the ground so that it's rim is level with the ground. You then put your soil and plants in the other terracotta pot and set that one inside the in-ground one. Once you pull the mulch up to the sides of the pot, you don't see the pot underneath. This can allow you to easily change up your bed by the season. Each spring, drop the pots with the Calla Lillies into the nested pots and once their blooms start to fade and wilt, clip them off and put them in a cooler place for storage until next Spring and put something else, maybe Gladioli or some other blooming bulb for the summer season and then again for autumn. Of course, this will mean you will have to store all those extra pots of plants somewhere and you might not want to deal with that. But I think most bulb-type plants can be dug up and put into dry storage until the next year and that might include Calla Lillies.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

Good call on the variegated shell ginger, ornamental sweet potato vine ('Margarita') and agapanthus. Those are more good no-brainers. And like I said, trees at the diagonal from the front corners of your house will make good visual anchors. Just be sure to put them far enough away from the foundation. Small trees look cute (and almost better) close to the house but plan for the long run: put them at least 8' away and 12' away would be better.

When we redid my 80-year old mother's front yard (removed the lawn, converted to beds), we put in:

Crape myrtles (Natchez, white)
Sago palms
Indian Hawthornes
Knockout roses
Agapanthus
Day lilies

The above are close to care-free (but nothing is 100%). :)

Please post photos of your project as it moves along and when it is done!

Carol

This post was edited by love_the_yard on Sat, Mar 23, 13 at 8:38


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

I'm not voting against crape myrtles, but last year my neck of the woods had a heck of a time with aphids on the crapes. Almost all the crapes in our neighborhood ended up with that black soot appearance on them and it took some digging (research-wise) to find out what could be causing it. I finally started spraying ours with neem oil and it had just started to recover when temps started to fall and it dropped its leaves. So this spring I'm keeping an eye on it as it puts out its new growth. The moment I see a singe aphid on it, I'm going to start spraying with neem oil and hopefully suffocate the buggers out.

Carol is right about the anchors bit though. I wish I could do this with my house, but whoever planned the park I live in ran electrical and water lines in the areas where my anchors would go. So I think I'm going to end up having to use trellises and vines to provide my anchors.

This post was edited by Leekle2ManE on Sat, Mar 23, 13 at 8:48


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

Chaste Trees are good small trees for anchors. I am experimenting with Redbuds, I have Lavender Twist. I have a Chocolate Silk Floss tree which is doing well. Do Tabebuia do well in your area, they are nice as well as some of the varieties of magnolias. I have Lilifloria magnolia "Jane," that has large fragrant purple tulip like flowers, it is one of my favorite trees. Good luck, I enjoy my yard projects.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

I'm on North side. I've been in Jacksonville for almost 5 years now and stationed out at Mayport. I grew up in Brandon down south.

A shade tree in the front is definitely going to be a negative. I just installed a sprinkler system in the front and the pipes run right through the area where the tree would be planted. I could re route, but really don't want to dig those trenches again.

So far I like the daylily the most out of all of those. And it comes in a wide variety of colors that will go with the other plants. I was looking at a daylily with a blue center and white fringe. The white would definitely catch the eye amongst the darker colors and draw attention to itself.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

I have good luck with the callas if I lift the bulbs in the fall and replant out in the spring. I am in a 9a zone. I have some other bulbs that I bring in so its not too much of a pain lol. I found an old ACE hardware in Mandarin that sold huge calla tubers and got some neat black ones a few yrs ago. They have a pretty good bulb selection there compared to the newer ACE which has a better plant selection/greenhouse lol.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

If you want flowers all the time I would recommend pentas. They come in white, red, lavender and pink. They will bloom all summer if you can keep the dead pinched off. You can even start cuttings from them to add more to your garden. Also Lantana does really well and is drought tolerant. I would suggest a mix of perennials and annuals for constant color.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

I have plumbagos and unless you want to cut back all the freeze kill each year, I wouldn't have them in Jax. I used to live there and I know how much colder it gets there compared to where I live now. Almost every winter I have to cut mine back from freeze damage. When you are planting, think how much maintenance for each plant. Also, instead of calla lilies, how about canna lilies. Mine come back every year and I don't do anything for them.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

Maintenance is something I am definitely thinking about. I'm in the military and my wife is a working woman so spending weekends in the flower boxes is going to be difficult.

When I get home(I'm out to sea right now) I will be pulling those bushes and getting ready to start planting. I'll be ordering a delivery of mulch soon so it is there when I get back.

So far I'm looking at these three:
Double knockout roses
Daylila/Canna lily
Lavender

In that order from back to front. Judy, because of my profession, annuals just wouldn't be an option for me. I don't have time to replant every year. I'd rather do a little maintenance every few weeks to keep what I have going. Although, there are a lot of beautiful annuals out there.

Thank you all for your suggestions. I'll post pictures of the progress in a few weeks when I am able to get in there and start doing something.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

Are you getting dwarf cannas? Many of the full-sized varieties will get 5-6ft tall.

They are carefree and constant bloomers, though, regardless of size.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

That sounds like a pretty good choice of plants especially if your house faces east for am sun. I personally didn't have any luck with the knock out roses because I rarely water anything but my veggies. My favorite rose is Old Blush. It is an extremely hardy shrub rose that you can grow like a hedge. My property is too big to water so the plants have to be tough. When I lived in Mandarin, the front of my house was like yours in reverse. I planted a hedge of Indian Hawthorne along the front. No maintenance. Between working full time, kids, baseball, basketball etc., we were lucky enough to have time to mow. Now I live in paradise. I can mow if I feel like it or not. No edging or weed eating. No complaints from neighbors since I don't really have any.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

My house does in fact face East. The front is fairly sunny until later in the day. Unfortunately the soil is very sandy. I'll dig down a big and replace the soil with garden soil and fertilize regularly. I can also tie in soaker hoses to my sprinkler system to have my plants automatically watered so I don't have to worry about them. I'll just have to get out there every so often and trim them down once a year.

And yes L_in_FL, if I do get some cannas they will be dwarf cannas. They'd go next to the daylilies.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

You used to be able to get free compost from the county/city. All you wanted, you haul. I can't remember where it was accept on the south side, maybe off Southside Blvd. You might want to check it out, because of course, this is Florida, and we don't lack for sand and we need all the soil amendments we can get. Good luck.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

Beds are cleared, soil is amended, and plants are in. It's too dark outside for a picture. I'll post tomorrow.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

Before mulch.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

Before mulch 2.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

After mulch 1


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

After mulch 2


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

I'm quite late to this thread, and I didn't even finish reading it entirely, I got stuck on the callas.

I bought a set of three callas last year, supposed to be calla amethyst (purple). They were planted as follows: 1) in ground in an area that gets a couple hours of direct sun and is otherwise shaded by the house and a dogwood tree; 2) in a 10" pot in an area that got hardly any direct sun - between the house and a crepe myrtle/dogwood/and shade from a tall oak; 3) in a 14" pot in full sun from about noon-1pm. (can you tell I had no idea where to put them?)

#2 & #3 bloomed early, but white. #3 grew biggest - but #2 had a ton of torenia volunteers basically cover it (I did say recently that I am bad about feeling guilt when pulling seedlings). #1 grew fairly weakly.

All were white - disappointing!

~
I didn't do anything at all to them over the winter. I left them right where they were, in the ground or in the empty pots.

This year I transplanted them all - #3 ended up being three large plants; #1 was one large plant and about 9 babies; #2 was three medium plants.
#3 is still in a pot, but better soil, #1 (less babies, who are in small pots and some given away) & #2 are all planted in the ground basically where #3 lived in the pot last year.

I also contacted the bulb company again to remind them they hadn't followed through on figuring out why they bloomed white... and they sent me another batch* of three amethyst. The three are now in pots in front of the bed where #1 & #2 are planted, and two were sprouting yesterday.

*just what I needed! As if I don't have too many plants right now, lol.

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and now I will read the rest of the thread.

This post was edited by aharriedmom on Thu, Jun 13, 13 at 8:20


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

David was that little stone wall there under the bushes? Looks great! Really opened up the front door area.


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RE: Jacksonville Flower Bed Help

I love what you did! Great job!


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