Future projects

January is a good time to observe the garden and plan for future projects.  Since the garden is basically hibernating at the moment, the dreaming stage is about all I can do right now.  Here are a couple of projects I hope to get to this spring. 

future-projects-001

The front foundation bed originally had a curvy outline to it a few years ago.  For some unknown reason, I decided to square it off and have regretted this blunder ever since.   In the process maybe I can find some type of edging that will help keep the grass from creeping into this area like it does now.  The trellises will be remounted with spacers to make it easier for growing vines on them.   When I rework the shape I will probably be bringing it out another two feet  so I think another layer of ornamental shrubs is needed.  But what should I plant to compliment the natural shape of the three existing  Euonymus ‘Emerald & Gold’ ?  I would prefer for this bed to be low maintenance since  I spend more time in the backyard during the summer months.future-projects-002

  Another project I’ve been considering for some time now is this area alongside the driveway and sidewalk.  The strange angle at the curb and where the driveway meets the sidewalk makes mowing it awkward.  That’s why  I’m planning to make a bed here that I can fill with low maintenance perennials that can endure Full Sun-Part Sun conditions as well as be drought tolerant.  I’m thinking maybe some of  that pink Mulhly Grass that I admired in the  Fairegarden  is a possibility.  This would make a nice divider between the sidewalk & the grass.  I’m also considering what other plants can withstand the conditions of being next to a driveway in an area where being stepped on might happen occasionally .  They would need to be tough and drought tolerant since this area is not close to a water supply.   Any ideas or suggestions that anyone might have are welcome.  🙂

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24 responses to this post.

  1. Your first photo would look great a little larger and curved lines. I have found that soft curves are more forgiving than straight lines. That corner by the driveway would be wonderful with a flower garden there. Rosemary is tough, if you bumped it you will be rewarded with a wonderful scent! Can’t think past that right now, have a 14 year old in the bed with walking pneumonia, finally got her to the doctor this morning. Antibiotics, and inhaler and some rest should do the trick. I thought she was coughing up a lung at 12:30 this morning, I think it hurts us more to see/hear them sick than it actually does them!!

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  2. Shrubs are the easiest to maintain maybe with some perennials for accents. Whatever you choose, you will have a lot of room for a big display of spring bulbs. After you get your shrubs or perennials planted, you might fill in every available place with bulbs.
    Marnie

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  3. I have no suggestions Racquel. I’m feeling a bit “brain dead” today?!! Sorry. I know whatever you decide, you’ll get it done. You accomplish so much in your garden, it always amazes me. I do agree the front bed would look good with some curves again. I prefer them to the straight look too. Good luck and I hope you get some good ideas.

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  4. Wasn’t that a grand post by Frances. She has showed that before and made me drool for it too. I know you’ll do something perfect for these areas…you have done awesome so far.

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  5. Hi Racquel, wow, thanks for the link love. The muhly grass here on the hill is planted with Knockout roses, firewitch and Bath’s Pink dianthus, and Husket red penstemon. I think all of those would look good by your driveway and are also evergreen, somewhat. For the foundation, Maybe some blue star junipers, they are my all time favorite plant for foundations. I do think moving everything out from under the overhang is a good idea and just mulch or gravel near the house. Sedums would liven it up and meet your criteria. I can’t wait to see what you end up doing!
    Frances

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  6. For the foundation bed, maybe some Itea virginica ‘Little Henry’? They are deciduous but have year round interest. If they are too small, the variety ‘Henry’s Garnet’ gets to about 4 feet. They have a lovely, loose arching habit. Good luck!

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  7. Racquel,

    My salvia greggii ‘Dark Dancer’ looks great with the pink muhly grass. Same conditions and they both put on the best display at the same time in the fall. The grass highlights the deep magenta blooms of the dark dancer.

    I have only 1 pink muhly with 3 salvia. I plan to divide and increase the muhly.

    Another plant for that same condition is my crepe myrtle ‘white chocolate’ to provide a deep burgundy foliage. You could use burgundy loropetalum or other drought tolerant burgundy plants, too.

    Cameron

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  8. Maybe you took out the curves to make mowing the grass easier? It sounds like quite a project list. Good luck! I’ve got several things I want to get done this spring as well.

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  9. Racquel,
    I love foundation shrubs that offer more than just green foilage. For the front I have a couple of suggestions. You didn’t say, it the front sunny or shady? For sun— First- a gardenia- “August Beauty” does well here. Nice evergreen glossy green with fragrance to boot when in bloom. Loropetalums come in various sizes…there is a variety that is about 1′- 2′ feet max. high and about 4′- 5′ wide, called “Purple Pixie”. If you want a low grower there is a nice Cotoneaster that is a repends….good groundcover. If it is shady, Ligustrum new variety “Jack Frost” nice variegated leaves. If shady, a Daphne odora would be fine. Groundcover — golden foliage….Hypericum “Brigadoon”. If it is a mix of sun and shade– there are some nice Nandinas…”Sienna Sunrise” is 3′- 4′ tall and has year round color. If you don’t mind a deciduous some of the newer Abelias are nice…like “Kaleidoscope” or a Weigelia “My Monet”.
    Will give more thought to the side garden area…..truly a blank slate.
    Janet

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  10. For the area beside the house wall, I would consider contrasting foliage shapes. The euonymus has quite small, rounded leaves, so how about looking at things that have long strappy leaves, such as a smaller variety of phormium, or libertia, then something with big round leaves, such as bergenia (which would also give you early flowers). (I assume you want something fairly low-growing, because of the windows.) These would give you an evergreen, low-maintenance framework, and in between you could have perennials, grasses, and bulbs, depending on the time of year. Would hardy fuchsias work where you are? I love your idea of the Muhly grass. The Muhly at Fairegarden is spectacular.

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  11. You sure have a lot of work lined up! I hope to see you for Bloomin’ Tuesday! Have I got something to show you! I know you’ll love it! Jean

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  12. I just read an article on creeping Thyme, beautiful pink flowers, releasing a nice fragrance when stepped on……………Maybe?

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  13. When in doubt I usually go with herbs, as they are so hardy! But then again succulents would be good with gravel if there’s enough sun (as I have what I refer to as a “rock” garden, and it does well.) My rock garden is an area about five feet by five feet. It has alyssum and sedums and thymes growing amidst the stones.
    Brenda

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  14. I’m into curves myself Racquel. I think they are more attractive than straight but a little more harder to mow. Recently I bought some edging(for my project I am currently working on but haven’t completed) at Lowes that has worked out good. It’s dark green and you hammer it into the ground. My ground is very, very wet right now so it went in so easy. Maybe you should check it out.

    Lorepetalum is a favorite shrub of mine, especially the purple color. The problem with it tho it would be too large for your bed. There are so many different type shrubs out there. I know you will come up with the perfect one.

    Good luck with that side bed. That will be a huge undertaking but fun I’m sure. You have such a blank canvas there. It would be fun to experiment with.

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  15. Geez, you have so many GOOD suggestions for the front bed. I like the idea of bigger leaves and maybe a contrasting color like everyone has suggested. Lorepetulum would look great there. Also, Firepower nandinas; which give year round interest and have bigger leaves, Little Richard Abelia for blooms, and maybe even an azalea. It will be fun seeing how it progresses. I know when I did my foundation bed out front I spent so much time planning it. It has worked out except the plants grew to big (maybe I planted them too close?:) Foundations are ever so important. Good luck!!

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  16. I agree the front bed would look more pleasing with a curved edge. I can’t give you any advice on plants, but I think Frances’ driveway border would be a great one to copy. I envy your being able to plant the Muhly grass; I don’t think it will grow here in zone 5. I’m eager to see what you do in the area next to the driveway.

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  17. Racquel, Lots of great suggestions here even though I have no idea about gardening in your area I do recognize some of the plants mentioned. The ideas I can follow. I am all for curving that front bed and don’t be shy about how deep you take it. My thinking is the more is better when it comes to layers. Big impact for lasting appeal. I do think Frances has a good thought… moving everything out from under the overhang. I’d add to consider a border plant as your edging. We edge (with an edger)every planting bed each time we mow to keep the grass from creeping in to the beds. Do ya’ll do that up there?
    You’ve got big plans and lots of space to work with… can’t wait to see how it ends up.
    Meems @ Hoe&Shovel

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  18. Posted by Racquel on January 5, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Wow, I stepped away from the computer to run some errands & cook dinner for the family…You guys are the best. Thanks for all the great advice & suggestions. I am taking notes on all of these plants & I just know my future projects are going to turn out great. Thanks to all of you for helping me out. I was really stuck for ideas this time around. 🙂 I didn’t realized how close those shrubs were to the foundation until now. When I planted them several years ago they were tiny little things, a common mistake on my part. 🙂

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  19. Racquel,

    Hi…you have great ideas from everyone…I haven’t anything to add but moral support! Garden bloggers are the best! happy planting and digging! Gail

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  20. Racquel, the ony thing I would add to the suggestions is to check out native plants. Not sure what they are in your area. But I would think they would be low maintainece as well as drought resistant. Good luck and will be waiting to see what you plant.

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  21. Posted by greenwalks on January 6, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Saw this book while on vacation – “The Xeriscape Handbook” by Gayle Weinstein. Did a post on a garden on Whidbey Island that was designed partly with it as a guide. I know this is not your climate but maybe some ideas would work there too? http://greenwalks.wordpress.com/2008/08/20/whidbey-island-garden-ii/ Good luck, fun to have some blank-ish canvases to work with!

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  22. Posted by Gene on January 6, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    Racquel, I agree a serpentine curve to the front garden is a good idea. I like to trench my flower bed (about 3″ deep and sloped). The trench keeps the grass out of the bed and you can put the lawnmower wheel in the trench when mowing and edge with a weedeater only about once a month. I’d also consider grouping the three Euonymus since they look lonely by themselves. At the corner of the house I would bring the bed out in a large circle around the corner and plant a dogwood or weeping ornamental (cherry, crabapple, etc.)to anchor the corner. On the trellis I would think about using a clemantis or climbing rose or use the trellis as a backdrop to a camellia such as yuletide. The winter months in this part of virginia are an excellent time to make new beds and move plants around. For the side yard you might want to consider iris, red hot poker, galliardia, day lilies, gardenia radicans, with a few good sized rocks and lots of daffodills. Good projects that you can improve on every year. Good Luck

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  23. Whatever you do Racquel will be beautiful. You have so many gardening oppoutunities–and all your beds turn out so perfect! Guess you know my favorite by now though! 🙂

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  24. Posted by Racquel on January 7, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Wow more great ideas, you guys are the best! Gene you have given me alot to think about. I love the idea of the serpentine bed and the camellia in front of the trellis! Thanks for the link Karen and the book suggestion. I was considering the xeriscape idea for that side of the house. You guys inspire me! 🙂

    Reply

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