Front house flower bed
Hello, I have a flower bed in front of my house that is sunny from morning until 2PM. I would like to plant low maintenance limited root invasive bush in the background and then some peri-annual flowers. I was thinking of lavender and rosemary bush as well as rose tree and eventually a climbing rose tree against the bannister. Thank you for your advice, Laure
If you want minimum maintenance, stay away from big shrubs. They will require annual pruning, if not more often. When purchasing your shrubs, read the tag carefully for maximum height and width. Many will give an ultimate size "in 10 years with annual pruning". This is not really helpful. You may want to do a search on the species and variety for a more accurate idea of the growth.
Both rosemary and lavender need pruning to maintain them and are only semi-hardy, which means in colder years they may be killed. They like full sun.
Two shrubs that have long blooming periods are some of the dwarf spireas and abelia. The latter is evergreen in most winters. Both of these are disease resistant. There are also dwarf roses. You have enough sun for roses. If you decide on shrub or climbing roses, be sure to get ones that are rated as HIGHLY disease-resistant.
Notice what is growing well in your area when you're driving around. Whatever you do, avoid invasive species such as barberry.
Thanks a lot for your feedback. My backyard is full shade. Will lily of the valley sustain full shade? Also is hydrangea an option for a shady, swampy area?
My driveway is more sunny and I was thinking of planting forsythia. Do they need full sun? Is it too late?
Lily of the valley will probably take full shade, but it tends to look terrible most of the summer, so you might not want to rely on it too much. It also spreads and can become a nuisance.
A shady swamp area can be wonderfully lush and support plants that are difficult to put in most areas. Hydrangeas need a lot of sun in order to flower, so would not be satisfactory. However, many plants would thrive there. "Rain Gardens" are very popular for wet areas. Here is a good link: http://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/articles/Rain_Gardens_Across_MD.pdf There are lists of suitable plants in the Appendix and garden layouts you can use. Be sure to select plants that like shade.
As for the forsythia, forsythia is a huge plant. Be sure you have the room so you don't have to be battling it all the time. It looks best when it can be allowed to grow in its natural graceful form and not pruned into a meatball.
There are many other shrubs that enjoy full sun. Summersweet is a favorite because it flowers, is fragrant, and attracts butterflies.
You can plant shrubs whenever the soil is not soggy (or frozen!). Be sure the soil is 'workable', i.e. slightly moist. To test it, hold a ball of soil in your hand. Press gently. If it does not break apart easily, it is too wet to work with.