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What to plant in western-exposure foundation bed?

Posted by nativemainah ME- Zone 5 (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 16, 13 at 13:09

I have a new raised bed along our foundation, on a west-facing wall. The inside of the bed is 18' long, 16" front to back, and about 18" deep. (The truck in the photo is full of soil, waiting to be unloaded!)
I'm looking for suggests on what will do well there. It is in shade all morning, then gets full sun most of the afternoon. It could get hot, but I'm in Maine, so that is not a huge issue. It will get watered regularly, but I'd prefer to go with more drought-resistant plants since similar beds around the foundation have tended to be on the dry side.
I picked up a bunch of end-of-season sale perennials in hopes that most would be suitable here, including Russian sage (Longin type), Bressingham mix and Melting Fire heuchera, and platycodon. Am I likely to regret putting any of these in? Any suggestions welcome!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What to plant in western-exposure foundation bed?

The biggest challenge with that bed is going to find things that are small enough to fit. Given that most of us keep the back foot or so clear of plants, and plant in front of that, this is going to be a challenge.


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RE: What to plant in western-exposure foundation bed?

Seeing that nice blank wall to me begs for a trellis and some vines. Since they climb, the 16" width shouldn't be a problem. Annual or perennial vines, there are some that should appeal to you. Clematis comes to mind and there are others. Just a thought.

Photobucket


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RE: What to plant in western-exposure foundation bed?

Thanks, Mad-gallica. Yes, I am a little concerned about the narrowness of the bed. I think I will have to plant "single file" and a little closer to the front. There's a 6 x 6 along the back, so they're set off from the wall some anyway. The beds on the front of the house (to the right in the photo) are the same distance out and I've planted them pretty fully....got away with it this year, but I guess time will tell. ;-)

Bill, we have definitely been thinking about a trellis on this wall. Someone in an older thread suggested clematis might work on a west-facing wall, and that's been on my possibility list. Are there other good perennial climbers that can handle part shade? I'm not sure we would get a lot of height with an annual- our growing season here is not long. We've had some luck with morning glories, but I don't think they'd work in this spot unless they want to be afternoon glories. ;-)


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RE: What to plant in western-exposure foundation bed?

I've planted scarlet runner beans on a west facing wall. They're an annual edible bean with bright red-orange clusters of blossoms that the hummingbirds like. I also have clematis on a west facing stone wall that are doing well, but they are only in their second season. Both of these will need adequate moisture and aren't tolerant of dry conditions.

I think that the Russian sage will look lovely there, but it may be borderline hardy for you since it's borderline here. I grow Platycodon in morning shade and afternoon sun and it does fine. I don't know how the Heuchera will do there as they can sometimes be fussy about their conditions, depending on their genetic background.

Some other plants to consider that I've grown successfully here and will tolerate (or even require) dry conditions include:
- Agastache rupestris has silvery foliage and purple/orange flowers and requires dry winter conditions.
- Penstemon pinifolius has red or yellow flowers.
- Caryopteris, either the herbaceous kind ('Snow fairy has variegated foliage) or the shrubby kind which either has gold or gray-green foliage. Both have late summer blue flowers. 'Sunshine Blue' is one form of the shrubby Caryopteris that has been hardy for me.
- Nepeta would look nice spilling over the wall.

This photo has a Nepeta (lavender at front right side), yellow Penstemon pinifolia on the right side between the drive and the Nepeta, two other Penstemons at the front and Caryopteris 'Sunshine Blue' (chartreuse-gold foliage at back.)

From June 22, 2013


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RE: What to plant in western-exposure foundation bed?

I have a really nice perennial and EVERGREEN (!) vine that I would highly recommend, but some nurseries online list is as zone 5, while others say zone 6. I have had it here (zone 6b) for over 10 years now and it's been rock hardy. It's Gelsemium sempervirens "Margarita". If it's hardy for you, it would be great. It's a strong enough grower, but never overpowering the way Wisteria or Trumpet vines might be, and in that small planter bed it would be perfect. So, depending on which source you search, it may be something to try. If it succeeds, it might be great. Covered with yellow blooms in spring, and green shiny leaves all year. Here's what it looks like:

 photo 2012-04-26123353.jpg

 photo 2012-04-26123502.jpg

Photobucket


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RE: What to plant in western-exposure foundation bed?

Big fan of Bill's suggestion about a trellis and vines. Given the color of your house, I would vote for a deep blue or purple Clematis or something that blooms an intense red like some varieties of Honeysuckle.


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RE: What to plant in western-exposure foundation bed?

One last thought, if you were to build a trellis, you could also do an espalier of almost anything, from fruit trees, flowering trees, climbing roses, etc. Unless the location is in really heavy shade most of the day, these would all do OK. I've seen espaliers in all sorts of beautiful designs, such as criss-cross, vertical, horizontal, random, or any combination. Just another thought.

Photobucket


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RE: What to plant in western-exposure foundation bed?

Thanks for all the great suggestions!
Bill, that "Margarita" is gorgeous. :-)
At the suggestion of a friend at a local garden center, we ended up putting in a "Goldflame" honeysuckle vine. My husband is now working on the world's most elaborate trellis. ;-) Will post a pic when it is done!


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RE: What to plant in western-exposure foundation bed?

Annnnnd here's the finished trellis! That honeysuckle better get busy. ;-)


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RE: What to plant in western-exposure foundation bed?

I really like the design of that trellis. I don't think you'll have to wait long for that honeysuckle to make a statement, probably by this time next year it will look great!

Photobucket


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RE: What to plant in western-exposure foundation bed?

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 1, 13 at 13:11

Beautiful job, husband of nativemainah! It'll still look good in the winter when the honeysuckle sleeps.

Claire


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RE: What to plant in western-exposure foundation bed?

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 1, 13 at 15:15

Now that's a trellis! I like it very much. Almost a shame to cover it. Well done - and good luck with the honeysuckle.

Jane


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RE: What to plant in western-exposure foundation bed?

Love that Gelsemium, Bill.

I had one, but someone who shall remain nameless objected to it growing on the house, and it magically disappeared one spring. Always enjoy seeing photos of yours, anyway.


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RE: What to plant in western-exposure foundation bed?

DTD,
Too bad about the "mysterious" disappearance of your Gelsemium. I haven't found it to be destructive to surfaces though. It supports itself pretty well. It twines, but there aren't any of the suckers like ivy has. Those you need to pry off with a crowbar or use dynamite! What I really like about the Gelsemium, besides the gorgeous display in spring, is that it's one of a very few EVERGREEN flowering vines for our area. In a warmer climate there would be plenty to choose from, like Bougainvillea, jasmine, passiflora, plumbago and so many more.

Photobucket

This post was edited by bill_ri_z6b on Thu, Sep 5, 13 at 7:52


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