Return to the Texas Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
What would you put in this long narrow bed?

Posted by msrose zone8TX (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 14, 10 at 21:21

I just moved into my new house two weeks ago. I plan to redo all the flowerbeds, but I'm stumped on this one. 95% of the houses in my neighborhood have the entrance to their house on the side. I currently have these boring shrubs, so I drove around to see what everyone else has planted. The majority of them have the same boring shrubs. I thought of planting variegated liriope and then I thought about alternating the variegated with the dark green. Is that still too boring? Any other suggestions? If anyone has a similar bed, I'd love to see pictures.

This is standing near the front of the house looking back.
Photobucket

These are standing near the back and looking towards the front
Photobucket

Photobucket

Laurie


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

It really needs something taller than liriope, especially where the utility box is and I would alternate taller plants with the shorter shrubs. Let us know which direction the wall faces and what city so we can make recommendations.


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

It's in Bedford and the walls faces west.

Laurie


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

OOOH, if it gets enough sun, you could do climbing roses or espaliered pears! That would also help with shading the wall and cutting utility bills


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

You could intersperse different kinds of shrubs (leaving some of the ones you have there now since they are doing well) and put in some full size youpon holly trees. I have three planted in different spots along the foundation of my house. They are evergreen, take the heat, have interesting twisted multitrunks, and lean out gracefully.

I have pictures somewhere ...


 o
RE: Here's a picture

Here is a picture of one of the Youpon holly trees:


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

  • Posted by ocgf Z8 (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 14, 10 at 23:21

What kind of look are you looking for?

Your flowerbeds do look boring but they provide a clean and organized look to the house, stay green all year long and require almost zero maintenance. That's the big plus of those boring shrubs. How many hours a week could you dedicate to maintain your garden? What kind of colors do you prefer?

With that said and depending on your preferences and limitations, here's my opinion.I agree with ROD. Liriopes would not provide enough vertical interest. Climbing roses would soon get on the way. Espaliered pears would look glorious in spring and fall but kinda boring in summer and winter, and they required a lot of maintenance.

Since we are talking about the entrance of the house, you would like something that offers interest all year long. How about espaliered hollies and a variety of perennials planted at the base? You could plant a few evergreens (e.g variegated pittosporum, rosemary, variegated carex, creeping phlox, soap aloe, etc) every certain space in order to provide a permanent green "structure" all year long (choose only one, though, otherwise your flowerbed may look unplanned and messy). Depending on your preferences, you could fill up the rest of the space with a mix of small roses, lavender, salvias, Canyon daisy, lantanas, bluebonnet, blackfoot daisy,canna, lamb's ear, Zexmenia, ruellia..). Whatever combination you choose, try to plant in groups so the the flowerbed keeps a structured look in spite of the variety of plants.

Have fun!

Omar


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

I can't really tell how deep that bed is, but I have a similar bed along my garage that is only 18" deep and it's hard to find shrubs that won't eventually grow out into the walkway area without trimming them regularly. I could see doing some gulf stream nandina in groups (3 and a space and another group of 2-3 and a space (irregular groupings), etc. down the row. Nandina provide excellent color in lots of sun, and gulf stream doesn't spread like regular nandina. Then, in the spaces between groupings plant some things that will really pop, like dwarf esperanza, plumbago, summer phlox, monarda, calylophus, larkspur, california poppies.


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

I guess I should have mentioned that I'm looking for something that doesn't have to be trimmed like the current hedges. I'm mainly wanting low maintenance, but I don't mind trimming spent flowers.

debndal - My bed is also about 18". Do you have a picture of yours? I'm familiar with nandinas, but not the different varieties, so I'll have to look those up.

My front yard is also nothing but shrubs and I love color and flowers. I do like a little symmetry though, so I'm worried that just planting alot of flowers will look unorganized. I guess I want people to round that corner and go "wow".

ocgf - I love all colors, but I especially love brights colors like yellow, purple and white. I also love pink and red. I've never had variegated pittosporum, but I love them. I'm guessing they would be too big for this area, but I think they would be great in my front yard. Do they stay fairly low or do you have to trim them? I know I just said I like bright flowers, but now that you mention the lambs ear, I also like the idea of soft pinks with silvery plants mixed in.

Y'all have given me a lot of plant suggestions that I'm not familiar with, so I'm anxious to look them all up. If anyone has pictures of the particular plants, I'd love to see them.

Laurie


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

Can y'all tell me what the small golden yellow flowers are in Richard's 1st picture? Is it an annual or a perennial?

Laurie

Here is a link that might be useful: Richard's garden


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

I think those yellow flowers in Richard's picture are pansies. In May, I just removed the indian hawthorne I had in my bed because of the width issue - got tired of trimming all the time. Mine is only about 10' long and right off the patio too and doesn't get much sun, so I am just experimenting with flowers. It's still a work in progress and not ready for viewing. All I have in it is a dwarf japanese maple, variegated flax lily, some Peter's dwarf agapanthus, chi chi ruellia and some louisiana iris, and it is all an experiment to see what will survive and look nice all the time since it's so visible. I would have put some nandina in there, but I already have the gulf stream in 3 other locations around my house and wanted to do something different here. The gulf stream nandinas stay narrow, do fine with the reflected heat on the west side of my house, don't grow very fast and I only have to trim an errant branch every now and then. With a bed as long as yours I think you do need the backbone of something evergreen that gets a little height (my oldest grouping of gulf stream is 5 1/2' tall). You could fill in the pockets with many other flowers, I just mentioned the ones that I know tend to stay upright. The blue larkspur would be my first choice. They are annuals that you would seed in the fall, and will reseed every year after that. If you planted a late perennial like the summer phlox (phlox paniculata) and seeded larkspur you would have larkspur early and as they are dieing back the phlox (several colors to choose from) would be getting ready to bloom.


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

Pittosporums will need pruning twice a year, at least.They could reach the 18" wide in 2-3 years. However you could trim them to grow tall and narrow.You would have to give them a "customized" trimming, though. Otherwise they would look ordinary.

As Roselee suggested, Yaupon hollies could fit the bill too. Trailing yellow lantanas, larkspur, lambs' ears and ruellias could create a nice color combination there for you. I think that if you plant your flowers in groups you'll keep the organized look.

The flowers on RC's pictures are pansies. They look nice but they only last a couple of months and do not reseed.

Omar


 o
long narrow bed, yaupons? althea?

Is this a correct assumption: you will be watering about 12" to 18" from the slab pretty much year-round, all around the house to keep the slab from moving?

Roselee- the yaupon roots don't mess with the slab of your house? Do you often/ever prune the yaupons?

The gulf-stream nandina groups are a nice suggestion.

Althea lived for years next to the slab on the west side of my parents house. I've seen cannas on the west of a house, also.

It has surprised me, but salad burnet has lived happily under the roof overhang on the north side of the house with periodic waterings. The area is totally shaded. The salad burnet stay green pretty much unless there is a real freeze. Salad burnet looks kind of like a fern but tolerates less water. In our area, salad burnet has been a short-lived perennial- one year to four years duration of a single plant.


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

My roses and clematis never look this pretty or this healthy, so I won't be doing this, but this house really has the "wow" that I'd like to have. I can't remember who the photo belongs to.
Photobucket

Is anyone familiar with any of these varieties of barberry? If they do good in our area, I thought I could plant some of them either here or in one of my other beds.

berberis thumbergii_compact crimson pigmy
berberis thumbergii_compact crimson pigmy

golden nugget dwarf barberry
golden-nugget-dwarf-japanese-barberr

Laurie


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

what exposure is the bed?


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

It faces the west.

Laurie


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

I have the crimson pygmy barberry. It gets sun till about 2 then shade till about 6, and then more sun in the evening. I really like it, the color stays nice. Mine are 3 years old and only about 15" tall so far. The thorns will grab at you though, that's one reason I didn't mention it for by your walkway. I've read that you should get a cloned or tissue grown, because they can be very variable if seed germinated. Another one I have is Royal Burgundy, which is smaller with smaller leaves that are darker than the Pygmy. Like it as well.


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

I wouldn't want to try to keep dwarf barberry hemmed up in 18". Perhaps you might relieve the straight lines by letting the tops of your existing shrubs assume a more natural contour. I know this is terribly unimaginative, but a few boxwoods would add some variety. I might think about putting the yaupon on the other side of the walkway, with a few perennials at the base.


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

  • Posted by bobbi_p z8/9 Cypress, TX (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 17, 10 at 19:24

I see you have guttering on that side of the house, and not much of an eave overhanging the area in question. Do you have irrigation, or will you have to hand water the area? If it's full west with no irrigation, it might pay to consider strictly xeriscape type plants...

I think the reason those hedges always look so boring is because they're all of the same shrub clipped to the same height (It's hard for a lawn service to mess those up!). Even if you go with all evergreen shrubs of varying heights and colors of foliage, the wall gets much more interesting!

I'm down NW of Houston, so I don't know that any of my suggestions would necessarily work the same up that way, but if you like the silvers of lamb's ears I have mine paired near Powis Castle Artemesia. Both of these were ever"green" here for me even this winter, although I ended up severely pruning the artemesia in March to get it compact again... The lamb's ears certainly had some brown on them, but again, after this winter, I was impressed they really didn't suffer any damage. Those with some hot pink azaleas would look good, but again, I'm not sure about the DFW area and full west sun! You could also throw in some Guara which comes in a couple different heights and at least pink and white varieties and gets you yet a different texture.

The artemesia in the center of this picture is actually 3 individual plants. The lamb's ear is to the left of the artemesia:
Photobucket

I would agree with several opinions given here, that vertical height would help get more "wow." There is a yaupon holly mutation/variety 'Will Fleming' that's sold for it's extreme vertical growth habit. It was suggested to me when I was looking for a narrow vertical element similar in form to Italian Cypress. Or there's Japanese Holly 'Sky Pencil.'

I've seen Pyracantha kept trimmed flat and attached to the sides of houses as well:

Photobucket

I would suspect that a climbing rose would do well on the west wall. I don't have much experience with what might be a "mannerly climber."

I'm also using a "no-drill" trellising system for masonry to grow confederate jasmine in a spot on my house. You could make any design you want or just have it fill in a specific area:
Photobucket

Just some ideas. Your responses to the earlier suggestions look like you're great at thinking about the pros and cons of what you ultimately plant! And again, I know DFW area is entirely different than here, so all my suggestions may be bunk!


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

You will need some sort of small trees for interest like maybe a small japanese maple if it can handle the sun and pockets of color here and there. A dissapearing fountain would be nice in there.


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

The full size Youpon hollies have been in place for 20 years and have never messed with the foundation or even the bricks laid for a sidewalk in the front. They don't ever get to be a large tree and they don't need trimming, but I trimmed the ones planted along the foundation in the back yard in a 'pom pom' style to give them that certain kind of interest. They would show off nicely if 'clouded' in that area also. Sometimes I see 'poodle trees' as well as 'pom poms' done with full size youpons.

In such a narrow space you'd certainly want drought tolerant plants, but everything needs a little water now and then so whatever you decide on you might want to run a drip irregation line in that bed and if it doesn't rain give the plants there a little water every couple of weeks.

Personally I'd stick with shrubs in that location for ease of care. The small nandinas are colorful, drought tolerant and don't need trimming. However, I'd big on pots, so to add interest you could put a grouping of pots at each end with small agaves, or even some of the flowers mentioned above, but the flowers would need watering every couple of days.

In a way it's really nice you have a blank canvas to work with. Don't be in too big a hurry to landscape it all. Landscaping for some of us is ALWAYS a work in progress ... LOL. Have fun!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pix of Pom Poms and Clouded Shrubs ...


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

I second the confederate jasmine! In fact, I'm stealing that idea for the west side of my house! Now... how to get hubby to put up that no-drill trellis...


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

Don't know if you're interested, but here's another view of the full size Youpon holly in the front and a picture of one of the two I have in the back. They were wild dug. As you can see one is not trimmed and other is, but neads a little touch-up right now.

They are evergreen and have white blooms in the spring and red berries in the fall. Mockingbirds especially like to eat the berries. All three have mockingbird or cardinal nests in them every year.


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

Love the confederate jasmine no drill trellis! I am saving that pic to copy for the west wall of my duplex in town!

Although, if it was my home where I was going to live, I would still go with espaliered pears and roses, but that's just me - I'm willing to work a little for the wow factor!


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

  • Posted by bobbi_p z8/9 Cypress, TX (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 21, 10 at 9:59

Just a couple of notes on the no-drill trellis:

Lynn Marie, the beauty of it is that it's so easy to install, you don't need your husband! You literally dab a bit of the silicone compound to the anchors, place them, wait 24 hours, then string your wire through them. You just need a measuring tape and a pair of pliers for twisting the wire and cutting it.

Now, that said, mine is on the north side of my house and has been in place right at a year now (I think). I have seen no signs of problems, but wonder if it could take the full heat of south or west sun for extended years, not to mention the full force/weight of certain roses/vines??? The company that makes them is in Arizona, so you'd think they have experience with unbearable sun...

I've been more than pleased with mine and am ready to try mine on the west side of the house as well...

Here is a link that might be useful: Tumax Trellis Website


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

  • Posted by ocgf Z8 (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 21, 10 at 14:48

Bobbi, I don't know the brand you are using but I used a product similar to the one you described and it got toasted and broke into pieces after 3 years. I had a climbing rose growing against a pillar and I ended up cutting it down because the whole 10'long thorny plant collapsed. Not a good experience.

Omar


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

Yikes, thanks for the heads up Omar, in that case, I think I'll modify it a bit and make a drill trellis but only drill in the mortar, how hard could that be?

bobbi, what is that beautiful silvery plant to the right and behind the artemesia?

Roselee, I absolutely love the fountain or birdbath in your first pic, that's exactly the look I was going for with my hypertufa project. (I failed miserably and ended up with something very amateurish but thankfully at least the birds don't seem to care). Where did you get that?

Nikki


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

Nikki, that's actually a full size birdbath with only the top showing. My mother-in-law gave it to me years and years ago and it was already old then. It weighs a ton!

At least you tried to work with hypertufa, and as you say, the birds don't care :-) I intended to try making flower pots or troughs some day, but never have.

Here's the birdbath:


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

Nikki,

I haven't drilled in the mortar, but I'd say that would be the best way to go. I'd go to Home Depot and ask for instructions there. I imagine it's all about using appropriate anchorage. What I have been doing so far is hammering stainless steel nails in the mortar. The downfall of that is that some nails get loose after some time.

Omar


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

Thanks for the full birdbath pic Roselee, it's fabulous! I have saved it in my garden wish-list folder! How lucky for you that your MIL has such good taste!

I made a large hypertufa plant pot too and it was kind of fun to try but I doubt I'll ever do it again. After all is said and done, I have to say I think the clay pots you can buy are worth every penny!

You are right Omar, they sell special anchors just for mortar, I have a drill bit just for mortar too...One of these days it's going to happen!

Still wondering what the silver plant in Bobbi's first pic is, could it be eucalyptus?


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

That plant does look like Silver Dollar Eucalyptus. You'd have to winter it over in a greenhouse up there.


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

bobbi - You just reminded me that I saw this small, fluffy artemesia one time that I loved. It seems like part of the name was angel or cloud something. I also love your silver dollar eucalyptus. I've never seen that before. My flowerbed has a sprinkler system, so I won't have to water it by hand.


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

msrose, just a thought...I don't know how much of the land on the other side of the walk is yours, or if the building setbacks would allow this, but if you were really ambitious, you could build a free standing trellis/arbor over the walk and let roses, clematis or whatever climb all over it, that would really up the WOW factor (and price!)


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

  • Posted by bobbi_p z8/9 Cypress, TX (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 23, 10 at 8:47

Everyone, is correct, behind the artemesia is silver dollar eucalyptus. I was surprised it didn't suffer through our freezes (again, NW of Houston) and has really taken off this year, This one, I think, I got up at the ARE in Independence.

I have another one that was supposed to be a dwarf or miniature I purchased at Mercer March Mart, but I don't like it's color or form nearly as well in the landscape. You can see it just poking in from the left in the same picture. It's smaller leaves make it more versatile in flower arranging though...

As far as the trellis system is concerned: any system you use will require vigilence/maintenence once you have several hundred pounds of pressure pulling on the anchors and whatever connects them. I'm still bully on the Tumax product, because, if they come loose, I can always reapply more of the caulk/silicone/compound and stick it back up... I'll certainly report when I start having problems...


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

grandbury - There isn't a house on that side of me, so the property is all mine, but I'm not sure I'm up for that much maintenance. I know it would be gorgeous though.

I remembered the artemesia I was thinking about. It's called silver mound or angel's hair. Has anyone tried to grow it? It's kind of fragile looking, so I don't know how it would do in the heat.

Laurie


 o
plant question

I have another plant question. I just went for a walk around my neighborhood and someone had a plant that reminded me of liriope, but was taller and more silver. Any ideas what that would be? I've been known to knock on doors to find out plant names, but if they're not the original owner, they might not know.

Laurie


 o
agapanthus

I'm trying to look up all the plants everyone mentioned. I'm really loving the agapanthus. Do the varieties other than the dwarf peter do good in the DFW area? Any other ones you'd recommend. The dwarf is good for this bed, but I could handle some bigger ones in my other beds. I particulary love the blue flowers since we don't have that many true blue flowers. How long do they typically bloom?

Laurie


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

The plant you saw might be a varigated lirope. The link shows them blooming. Like all liropes they bloom occasionally.

Here is a link that might be useful: Varigated lirope images


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

roselee - I think it was even bigger than the variegated liriope that I've seen unless there are different kinds.

Laurie


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

The lirope-like plant could have been variegated flax lily (dianella tasmanica 'Variegata'). At the site which we can't name, a poster in Zone 8a (but SC) reported that it survived the winter.


 o
RE: What would you put in this long narrow bed?

juneroses - It could have been flax lily. Now that I've seen pictures, I'll have to go back by the house and see if that's what it is. Thanks.

Laurie


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Texas Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here