Archive for the ‘Landscapes’ Category

Filed Under (Landscapes) by admin on 16-11-2013

I am planting a meditation garden, that has moderate to deep shade. I already have Kentucky Bluegrass and Hostas installed, but am looking for some other ideas for color. Suggestions, anybody?

Here are just a few suggestions:

Coleus-has lots of different foliage colors…
Fuchsia-lots of choices…
Vinca minor (periwinkle)-a few options…
Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ (creeping Jenny, moneywort)-to trail with gold leaves…
Bacopa/Sutera-ground cover, available with white, pink, lavender or blue flowers…
Lobelia-provides an abundance of flowers, annual and perennial varieties; ground cover or upright plants…
Impatiens-lots to choose from…
Dicentra (bleeding heart);_ylt=A0S0201EIkRI3ZYAOPGJzbkF?p=dicentra&fr=yfp-t-501&ei=utf-8&js=1&x=wrt
Polemonium (Jacob’s ladder)-get the variegated kinds, so pretty!;_ylt=A0S0207LIkRIkOoA5ZiJzbkF?p=polemonium&fr=yfp-t-501&ei=utf-8&js=1&x=wrt;_ylt=A0S020rYIkRIzhcAh1qJzbkF?p=polemonium+brise&fr=yfp-t-501&ei=utf-8&js=1&x=wrt
Corydalis-so pretty ususally you find the blue and yellow kinds;_ylt=A0S020nzIkRItWQBYhmJzbkF?p=corydalis&fr=yfp-t-501&ei=utf-8&js=1&x=wrt
Heuchera (coral bells)-lots of foliage colors to choose from…
Tiarella (foam flower)-a few choices
Heucherella (foamy bells)-a cross of Heuchera and Tiarella;_ylt=A0S020mdIERI92IBGBOJzbkF?p=heucherella&fr=yfp-t-501&ei=utf-8&js=1&x=wrt
Lamium maculatum (dead nettle)-to allow to trail…
Torenia (wishbone flower)-pretty…
Begonia-lots of choices…
Hedera (ivy)-good for filler, be sure to get non-invasive kind!
Campanula (bell flower)-lots to choose from….
some Ornamental grasses will do well
Erodium (heron’s bill)…
Geranium (crane’s bill) – true geraniums…
Pelargonium peltatum (ivy geranium)…
Pelargonium x hortorum – fancy leaf types…
Viola and pansy
Pulmonaria (lungwort)…
Digitalis (foxglove)…
Helleborus (lenten rose)…
Trollius (globeflower)…
Abutilon (flowering maple)-lots of options;_ylt=A0S020q.IERIJBkAQguJzbkF?p=abutilon&fr=yfp-t-501&ei=utf-8&js=1&x=wrt
Ceratostigma (leadwort)-great blue flowers!
Sambucus-nice lacy foliage, look for purple leaf varieties or gold ones!;_ylt=A0S020qoIURIoBcAdaKJzbkF?p=sambucus&fr=yfp-t-501&ei=utf-8&js=1&x=wrt
Viburnum (snowball bush)-can’t beat them in full bloom;_ylt=A0S0204AIkRIzuYA_aqJzbkF?p=viburnum&fr=yfp-t-501&ei=utf-8&js=1&x=wrt
Thalictrum (meadow rue)-nice dainty flowers;_ylt=A0S02079IkRItOgA2zqJzbkF?p=thalictrum&fr=yfp-t-501&ei=utf-8&js=1&x=wrt
Acer (Japanese maples)-many to choose from!

You will want to double check with a good local nursery to see if these are good in your area. You can also add a few mixed containers on different height levels to add instant color and pop. I change mine up about every 3 months so that they are fresh and providing the bulk of "color" in the shady areas. These can be assorted shade annuals if you want. You can also add some specimen plants in pots and if they are elevated will create a nice focal point.

Good luck!

Filed Under (Landscapes) by admin on 30-10-2013

We just moved into our new house in October. The previous owners didn’t like the grass in the back yard, so they cut the lawn out and reseeded. There are two large locust trees in the backyard that provide a great deal of shade, which explains the thin grass growth. I am hoping to plant some hostas and various perrenials along the foundation of our house. There is one thing that worries me though. The ground bordering the back of the house is bare, and grass is present about 1 1/2 feet from the house. It’s like a grassless border. Since grass isn’t growing there, does that mean nothing else will?

Locust will tolerate soils that are to poor, compact or dry and hot for any other tree. The roots of the tree are probably taking all the moisture, out competing any other plants. Your soil should be tested.

You can do a visual survey by digging a small hole. First look at the hole and take some soil in hand. Check your soil’s texture by picking up a handful and squeeze gently: If it feels sticky and stays in a tight mass, your soil is likely too high in clay. If it feels harsh or gritty and won’t hold any shape or crumbles it is likely too high in sand. If it feels smooth or floury and won’t hold any shape, it’s likely too high in silt. If it molds into your hand yet crumbles apart when squeezed, it has the perfect texture. It is loam.
If it formed a sticky ball try to squeeze it upward to form a ribbon. Measure the length of the ribbon. Now wet the soil in your palm til muddy. Rub the soil against your palm with your other fingertips. Is it smooth, gritty or both?

1 inch gritty ribbon is sandy loam
1 inch smooth ribbon is silty loam
1 inch both is loam

1-2 inch gritty ribbon is sandy clay loam
1-2 inch smooth ribbon is silty clay loam
1-2 inch both is clay loam

GT 2 inch gritty ribbon is sandy clay
GT 2 inch smooth ribbon is silty clay
GT 2 inch both is clay

Black color indicates high organic matter; gray indicates medium organic matter. Red, tan or blue color indicates little organic matter and high clay. Blue color indicates that there is no oxygen in the clay. Therefore, no roots will grow in blue clay. Normally, the organic matter is mainly in the topsoil. Forest soils have a one to four inch thick layer of dark organic matter on top of mineral soil.

Amendments will depend on the soil type and organic content.
Because of the large trees you may need to water more than 1 inch per week to maintain a healthy grass under the trees.

Black locust (Robinea pseudoacacia) has a shallow, aggressive root system spreading by producing root suckers. The tree leafs out late and is early to shed its foliage again. This makes it a great companion to all bulbs like scilla, tulips, narcissus, iris, and anemonies.
Locust can be glorious in spring when the sweet scent of the flowers drifts out accompanying the heavy buzz of bees high in the tree. My trees attract four species of woodpecker including a family of pileated woodpeckers. The locust are a great backdrop for my rose garden. I grow hostas, pulmonaria, azalea, peonies, lilies, fuschia, dahlias, and roses amidst hundreds of spring bulbs. The crocus just finished and the anemonies are up with the pulmonaria and narcissus. Nothing I have tried had trouble due to allopathy from the trees only competition for the available water.

I live in Massachusetts. I’m also interested in vines or small bushes with bright leaves. Also when should I plant them?

I love these ‘what are your favorite’ type questions, because you’ll get so many answers. You were also good enough to give us your location… so you should get some good responses. As I always include, however, take the list to your local independent garden center for a final going over. Some of your plants might not be hardy where you are, or otherwise difficult if not impossible to get locally.

Many people read the shade part, but not the SMALL in small shrubs… just FYI, becareful of some of the choices.

As for shady perennials, what can I say, Hosta, Astilbe, Lamium, lungwart (Pulmonaria), Ligularia, Bruneria (there are some dazzling variegated forms!), ferns of all kind, foxglove (Digitalis), monkshood (Aconitum), columbine (Aquilegia) and Japanese toad lily (Tricyrtis). I’m sure there are more perennials, but this will get you started.

As for shrubs… how small? But boxwood (Buxus), Japanese rose (Kerria) (There are some nice variegated forms), Dwarf Rhododendrons (Like Rampo or Purple Gem), Deutzia.
These may get you going in the right direction.

I’m in USDA hardiness zone 5, which is similar to where you live, so I’m thinking that everything here should be hardy there.

Good luck-
I hope that this helps

I really dont want to just put random flowers in the front, I want it to look good.

You didn’t mention your light requirements so I can’t help you with species. But as for color, I’d go with pale yellow, sky blue and pastel peach.
Depending on your light requirements, this may include achillea (yarrow), hardy geranium, helianthemum, pulmonaria (lungwort), oenethra, coreopsis and many many others. You may want to include a few annuals with your perennials for summer-long bloom. Try browsing a plant and seed catalogue for ideas.
Always plant in clumps rather than many different individual plants. At home, I like to use what I call "anchor" plants; repeat these plantings at the ends and in the center, and fill in with different varieties. It will give your garden a pulled-together appearance. You may want to "anchor" with some lovely flowering shrubs, like viburnum, itea, hydrangea, spirea and weigela. All come in a varity of colors; again what you plant will depend on your light requirements.