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Topic: Flowerbeds for lazy people....

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Subject: Flowerbeds for lazy people....
Date Posted: 2/19/2008 9:51 AM ET
Member Since: 10/24/2007
Posts: 1,313
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Like me!  I hate hate hate the flowerbeds in front of our house.  They are filled with ugly bushes that just have to go.  I hate trimming them and they're out of control ugly.  Does anyone have any ideas for an easy, low maintenance look?  I am seriously considering ripping out the bushes, covering the entire area with mulch and then using those planter hooks all along there to put hanging baskets on.  Would that look stupid?  I like container gardening (hence the baskets) but I stink at planting anything in the ground.  It never looks right and let's face it, the weeds take over.  Sigh.  I need help.  Any ideas?

Date Posted: 2/19/2008 10:06 AM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,707
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How about mulching, then putting some larger containers full of plants like pansies on the ground, and then putting the hanging baskets above them? You could also put some statuary in the mulched area.

There is a great magazine out there called Container Gardening - you could try looking at that for some ideas.

I personally like a hedge of something like boxwood or yew, or some hosta directly in front of a house. They're just tall enough to hide that often unattractive area at the base of a house where it settles into the ground.

Date Posted: 2/19/2008 11:01 AM ET
Member Since: 10/24/2007
Posts: 1,313
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Thanks Bren - that could work.  I'll have to check out that magazine! 

Here's a pic of the house if that helps with any more ideas:

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v412/smiley124/?action=view&current=exterior_2.jpg

It looked pretty good when the pic was taken, but those bushes are now huge, bushy, growing into each other, etc.  I could just KICK myself for not keeping up with them.

 

Date Posted: 2/19/2008 11:37 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 1,837
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Rose bushes are fairly easy to take care of, and fill in very quickly when you trim them back.  I removed a ton of crappy old bushes and put in tons of roses.  Peonies are also great - you just need to remember that ants love 'em, too.

Date Posted: 2/19/2008 11:40 AM ET
Member Since: 10/24/2007
Posts: 1,313
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Hmmmm....rose bushes could work.  I love flowers and would definitely prefer them over non-flowering bushes.  But, how would they look in the winter?  Peonies are nice, but I don't want to mess with the ants.

Date Posted: 2/19/2008 11:43 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 1,837
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Rose bushes are dormant in the winter, so they do get rather dull in color, but mine have filled in so nicely that my yard doesn't look bare, either.  I LOVE roses, and they grow really well in full sun or partial shade, so it's hard to go wrong with them.  Oh yeah, and the best part is that they flower for SOOOOOO long.  I LOVE that!  ETA:  I wish my fingers could keep up with my mind, LOL.



Last Edited on: 2/19/08 11:44 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/19/2008 11:46 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 1,837
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And a tip to getting your rose bushes to fill out really quickly is after a flower starts to die back, cut the rose bush back at a point where it has five leaves on a stem.  It will put out a new branch there.

Date Posted: 2/19/2008 11:47 AM ET
Member Since: 10/24/2007
Posts: 1,313
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Do you recommend any specific type of rose bush?  There are so many choices!

Date Posted: 2/19/2008 11:49 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
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Let me look at your link for where you want to plant them, and I'll get back to you!

Date Posted: 2/19/2008 11:51 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
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Oh, my - your space is PERFECT for rose bushes!!!  Do you have a nursery close by?

Date Posted: 2/19/2008 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 1,837
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Ok, Amy - here are a couple of ideas.  You could even train climbing roses up your brick, but if you don't like that idea I'd use hybrid tea roses for closest to the house.  They are usually fairly large and have large, gorgeous roses.  I'd put a row of floribundas or antique rose bushes in front of the hybrids - they tend to be much shorter and have smaller rose buds.   And in a row in front of the floribundas or antiques, I'd plant tulip bulbs.   The truth is - I LOVE color, and tend to go for drama with my flowers, so the more colors, the better! 

You'll have to post another pic to show us what you do with your flowerbeds, whatever you decide.  You've got a lot of room there and I'm sure it'll be gorgeous!

Date Posted: 2/19/2008 2:08 PM ET
Member Since: 10/24/2007
Posts: 1,313
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LOL - now I'm getting nervous.  I thought I could throw in some rose bushes and be done.  But doing several rows of things is getting a bit out of my league.  They will all grow together and take over and create a big mess (only because I am a lazy gardner - your idea is lovely!).  I'm really looking to simplify.

Date Posted: 2/19/2008 2:28 PM ET
Member Since: 11/16/2007
Posts: 745
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Bamboo. Seriously. I live in Michigan and I found a type that survives the winters. Very cool looking. And no one else within 10 miles will have bamboo, it's quite rare in northern climates. And when the wind blows the leaves rustling sound just like rain.

Get a "clumping" kind, not the "spreading" kind or you will have go nuts trying to contain it.

Plus, when a branch dies you can use it for crafts or something.

 

Date Posted: 2/19/2008 8:24 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
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Amy, you really don't have to put in so many if you don't want.  Just buy several hybrid tea roses, stagger them a little, and plant one every three feet or so.   I just like lots and lots of variety and love roses.  They practically take care of themselves, honestly!

Date Posted: 2/19/2008 10:19 PM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2006
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Ornamental grasses don't ask for water, food or trimming.

They come in blue and pink and just about any size. In desperation we took out scraggly boxwoods one year and transplanted a pampas grass from a group in the back yard that someone else planted years ago. We moved one clump to the front, centerered it in front of the ranch style house and planted azaleas around it. An odd combination, but it worked that year. None of it needs pruning. The pampas will grow to be six feet around eventually, so I want to tear it out and put in a less vigorous grass. The landscapers are using a lot of the pink grasses in new projects here at  the beach and it seems to adapt well. I just don't know how it looks in six years.  We've been in a drought for years now and don't have a well-based irrigation system so I'm really starting to look into grasses.

Date Posted: 2/20/2008 10:58 AM ET
Member Since: 10/24/2007
Posts: 1,313
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Thanks for these suggestions - they are great!!!!  I am excited!  I'll let you all know what I decide......  :)

Date Posted: 2/23/2008 2:57 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 2,433
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Ornamental grasses are an excellent choice. You can hack them back right as you see new growth, so you've got the movement and texture there all winter. I love muhlenbergia -- it's the pink, fuzzy fellow. :)

You could also do some low maintenance shrubs. Where we are, some of the dwarf hawthorne are really popular. Nice little flowers and they're evergreen. Some of the dwarf nandina are also cute, but you have to be careful and get one of the sterile or nonfruiting ones or you could have them everywhere!

I may look into some of these ideas myself!

Date Posted: 3/8/2008 1:26 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2007
Posts: 215
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you asked about what type of roses to get: look on line at roses: or you can order catalogs free: I love all kinds of roses but am not crazy at all about the teas; floribundas meaning is abundance of flowers: instead of individual roses you get a bunch of them: also I absolutely adore the English roses: you can get David Austin's catalog free. Super simple to take care of: if you plant garlic chives by them you are not supposed to get aphids; the English roses are awesome; like great big cabbage roses not dainty small things at all; they come in great colors & are awesome! also they have the knockout roses which are super easy care & almost maitenance free; they are smaller generally & are known as groundcover roses; you can actually have both: you can easily get climbing roses for the back & then plant others in front; you can also get rose trees which are fantastic; either regular or weeping; you don't have to spend  great deal of $ on them; Jackson & Perkins have super buys or did have at almost the end of planting season & last year I got 6 English roses from them for $42 with S&H far far cheaper than I could have gotten at any nursery; Perhaps your bushes out front just need to be trimmed tho; don't be afraid to whack on them; most out of control bushes etc all love having it done! another great plant that I adore is the butterfly bushes; once established take little water & just whack them back good; they are like lilacs that bloom far longer than lilacs do; once i had 12 butterflys on them at 1 time; hummingbirds love to make nests in them; you can also get clematis (which I also adore) it is usually a climbing vine; get the kind that blooms from June thru Sept & let them "climb" over the roses, or the bushes you already have. They only require having their feet in shade & tops in the sun. So simple & incredible beauty for long periods of time without much maitenance at all!

Date Posted: 3/8/2008 1:31 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2007
Posts: 215
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hey I just looked at your link; the plants (bushes) you have are awesome; just get out there with pruners & clip them way down; promise you will not kill them at all. Butterfly bushes get to be very tall & I whacked them down to 3 inches in the winter; they came back more beautiful than b/4; of course I adore roses but the bushs you have can easily be trimmed & save you a great deal of $; the option is yours but those are beautiful plants!

Date Posted: 3/8/2008 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2006
Posts: 6,362
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They may not be a good choice for your area, but I've been doing well with some of the the sedums in addition to other things.  If they are an option, they are easy. 

There is a whole book on landscaping with succulents (I think that's what it's called) but it seems geared toward somewhere like CA and not PA :)  Easy in the yard are daylilies, hostas, bleeding hearts, perennial sages, yarrows, thymes, and I try to add some things that are't perennial.