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What's in your border?

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

Several years ago I planted cabbage in my border to try and distract the dozens of rabbits in the neighborhood, who had been dining on my echinacea. I figured I'd rather give them the 50 cent cabbage than a $7.50 perennial. Of course, they preferred the echinacea and wouldn't touch the cabbage, so I gave up and got a couple cats.

The cats have done an excellent job of patrolling the garden, keeping the ground squirrels, squirrels and rabbits at bay, so now I can grow just about anything I want without worrying about feeding the rabbits. I still plant the cabbages (and kale), however, because I discovered I like the appearance of the plants in my border.

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KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

I tend to plant just whatever grows. lol

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

'Halcyon' hosta in the border.

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Flint Hills, KS(Zone 5b)

Hi, I'm from the other side of Topeka from you all. I really like your cabbages, Leawood. Design-wise, they have a similar effect to agaves but without the spines! Blue green and boldly shaped. Your hosta has similar effect too but soft. I like the bold shape of cabbages too. The colors of your planting there are subtle but really eye catching. The rocks look kind of rosey colored next to your blue-y greens and yellows! Great texture too! Is that pennyroyal down in front?

I like asparagus in my perennial flower bed. I planted some in with some new tall lilies. That bed needs another year or two before it looks like much. With an old patch I have I don't pick it too much in Spring, so I get a 6-7' tall cloud of green through the summer. Asparagus appeals to me also because it is really long lived and low maintenance.

Can I ask here about a plant I have had trouble with --I've bought one so many times, but they have never lasted out a summer -- Bleeding Hearts-Dicentra Spectabilis (isn't it native around or near here?) Has anyone had good success with these? I know bleeding hearts go dormant in the heat, but then they don't come back. Should they be watered when dormant? I want to ask in this forum because you know the conditions we have to deal with.

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

I like the idea of asparagus in the border - I may give it a try. This August/September I plan to take everything out of this bed to divide, re-arrange and refine the space. It's so overgrown you cannot see what's there.

I'm not very knowledgeable about dicentra. I added one to my shade garden this spring and it seems to still be OK, but I'll be watching it to make sure it doesn't get too dry.

The weather here has been perfect this spring. Today is the first really hot day and I just watered a large bed of sun coleus that was drooping. I can't believe the ground is dry - we had an inch of rain two days ago - so I'll probably be watering the border this afternoon too!

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Flint Hills, KS(Zone 5b)

I just had a look around. We've had rain every 2-4 days lately and I watered most things really well yesterday, but one of my old established roses that's just putting out a second flush had stems really hanging! Awful hot! I gave them a quick drink, and will water more this evening. I'm going to try keeping my dicentra inside this summer. It wilts so easily. I trimmed it down, and brought it inside and fertilized. Wonder what it will do. I think it should be seen close up. I was a flower designer and I still think of design before I think of culture for plants. I will try thinking / planning keep moisture lovers over here, and ok to dry out things over there, etc. It really is a lot harder than arranging cut flowers to look nice for a week!

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

Yes, the heat is very damaging to the garden. I keep watering morning and evening, just to keep stuff alive.

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Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

A view along the border.

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suburban K.C., MO(Zone 6a)

Hi Leawood, if your still out there, can I ask you a question? It's about Kale. Is it cold hardy enuff to plant in the ground or do you have to replant it the next year? It's just so cheap now, Lowes has a 9 pk of it for $8.99.
It sure is pretty though, with the purple center and the rest light blue. I'm thinking it's not cold hardy enuff, but I don't know for sure. I googled it to try to find out but I can't find anything definitive.

I was at Lowes and Home Depot tonite and they really have some half price deals for the box store gardener like myself.
Will

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

I have kale in my border that lasted through the winter and through the following summer. It's about as cold hardy as it gets. The price sure sounds right - I saw some gorgeous varieties (including a deep purple with a lacy leaf) at Nuts and Bolts today, but the plants were $3.99 each!

suburban K.C., MO(Zone 6a)

I think I'll get it, it'll have the 1 year guarantee anyway, if it succumbs I'll get something else or maybe buy it again.
Thanks

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

Leawood The cabbages look very nice in your yard. It brings a very solid bluegray into the mix that is nice to look at.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

HI Leawood, I have been lurking around the internet making plans for this coming spring/summer etc. I love the idea of the cabbages. The blue-green defines the border from the grass nicely. Did you direct sow the seeds? How long did this border last? Spring to Fall? (wouldn't that be nice.) Did you have to water it a lot over the summer? Tell me more!!
I have been trying to come up with a border for my gardens. I have some varigated sedum started in one area. It is still colorful, even now, in January. Of course, we have had a wonderful fall and winter thus far.

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

Border roses would work too. I've been seeing those in catalogs for awhile now. I'm even thinking about trying them if my geraniums don't take off.

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

I bought the seedling cabbages at a hardware store in March in 6-packs for about $2.99. They looked great all summer, but I pulled them up in November when I re-worked the border. I also had a couple in a shade garden and they are still there, though I should get rid of them.
They are very prone to insects, so I sprayed them every couple of weeks with a vegetable insecticide.

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Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Cabbage does not sound like a low maintenance plant. Have you looked at Dianthus deltoides? It's a perennial and you may want to stick with annuals. It's red, six inches.

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

I have a dianthus in the border, but I'm not sure it's Dianthus deltoides. I like the cabbage for the size and beauty of the leaves.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

The cabbage looks very nice and also the color combines well with the surrounding plants.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

PrairieFolly: Did you find the answer to your question about Dicentra? I have a Dicentra in dry shade here. It has multipied--I guess from seed. It has produced three plants. I haven't done anything to them. They get watered occasionally--go dormant in the summer around late July and then sometimes show back up in the late fall.

Yes, the cabbages do look striking as a border plant. I am not willing to spray every two weeks for insects. They would have to be used as a trap crop and then, they would probably look really holey!

I have been looking for border plants through the winter days. High Country Gardens has several prostrate plants, but I am not sure which ones would work for a border. I have Heuchera 'Palace Purple' in a border along the edges in some dry shade next to the "forest" surrounding some dogwood trees. I noticed the deer had eaten them clear to the ground. I just put them in last fall, and I am not sure they will return. They are suppose to be deer resistant.

I am also looking at Achillea ageratifolia (Greek Yarrow). I have been thinking about getting this plant. I don't want something that's going to re-seed all over the place. Yarrow has a history of doing so. Has anyone had any experience with this plat?

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

I don't know anything about that particular yarrow. There is a posting on it in DG plantfiles. Have you looked there yet? http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/53431/

Our dog also tries to eat the coral bells leaves. You might move those to locations that are not normally in your dog's reach.
I don't know anything about that particular yarrow. There is a posting on it in DG plant files. Have you looked there yet? http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/53431/

Our dog also tries to eat the coral bells leaves. You might move those to locations that are not normally in your dog's reach.

You might look at Tracy DiSabato's books for some ideas on borders. I find that what I plant really depends on the look (height, color, texture, seasonal look, etc.) that I want and also what plants will grow well in the bed's soil, water, and light conditions.

For Kansas and Missouri other resources are the Missouri Botanical Gardenís Plants of Merit list and the Kansas Extension office Prairie Star Flowers and Prairie Bloom Flowers lists. Kansas at one time had a plant of the year list that included Trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. I'm not sure if they still have that or not.

Here is an amazon link for Tracy's books. http://www.amazon.com/Tracy-DiSabato-Aust/e/B001JS412K/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Susan, thanks for the information. Yes, I have read the information on Dave's Garden. There wasn't much history on DG about this plant. A few people have this plant, but they didn't say how prolific it is. Achilleas have a tendency to be over zealous with re-seeding.

Just a side note: It was deer that ate my Heucheras! I am thinking about moving them to the front year where the deer are not quite as brazen.

Tracy D. has three different books on the website. Which one do you have? Does she specifically address borders? Thanks for the suggestion.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

I have a number of kinds of yarrow in the yard and reseeding has not been an issue. One of the varieties spreads rapidly so once a season I have to cut the clump back to the size I want it. On the other hand it works well in areas where most plants tend to die.

If you are good at cutting back the flower heads before they go to seed then a prolific seeder might not be an issue for you. Iím not very diligent in cutting back flowers before they go to seed so it would not work well in my garden.

That specific yarrow looked like it might used in rock gardening. You might post on the rock and alpine gardening forum as see if anyone has used it in their yard. http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/f/alpine/all/

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Hi Susan,
I am not good at remembering to deadhead plants either. I used to have good intentions--now I just know I won't get to it!! :)
Thanks for referring me to the rock and alpine gardening forum. I hadn't thought of that.
I like this little Greek Yarrow. I just need to find out more about it.

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

The warm weather has caused my bulbs to sprout. Last fall I took the yellow tulips (Mrs. John Scheepers) that were in the bed by the columns and used them to create a broad row of tulips along the border garden.

Today they are up and looking good!

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KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

My tulips and other bulbs are barely peeking. They know it's too soon. They will start coming up pretty good here next month.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

Crocus and snowdrops started blooming last week. Helborus bloomed a couple of weeks ago. The rest are coming up out of the ground.

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

Yesterday I noticed my crocus are also blooming.

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Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

Nice. We have light purple in bloom. Love the color every spring.

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

They are a delight to see, but seem insignificant in the vast brown bed! I planted a couple hundred new crocus along my stone path, but they have not yet surfaced.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

That will change over time. Ours have been in for a number of years so we get a mass in one spot when they bloom. Snowdrops have smaller blooms but they also come up early.

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

Well, I have lost the one shade bed I had going thanks to a tree that has been dying. My dad and brother cut it down today so this spring I will have to transplant hostas and hellebores down to the old chicken coop til I get another tree planted to provide shade. The coop is being developed into a flower bed but I want more natives in there if I can do it. I might try to get Empress Wu hosta though and stick her down there!! Just for kicks. lol.

Now I will be shopping tonight online for a small tree that I can use as shade. Maybe if I can get a decent sized Japanese Maple at a good price. Or a weeping tree of some kind. Gotta be small for final size though!! Will take ideas!! I'll take a pic of the spot tomorrow too. That will help.

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

I meant to post thatin our other thread on here. lol. Oh well.

My tulips are coming up on the south side of the house but everything on the north side is still taking it's sweet time. I need to walk the yard tomorrow and go check on them again.

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

It was cool but sunny on Friday and Saturday - today it's supposed to reach 64 degrees - IN FEBRUARY! The tulips in the border are springing up like crazy!

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Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

Warm weather and a little rain has caused the tulips in the border to leap!

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Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

I came across this old thread and realized I didn't ever post the picture of the yellow tulips blooming in the border. They are long gone now, of course.
Pic 1 was taken 3/20/12
Pic 2 was 3/24/12
Pic 3 was 3/25/12
Pic 4 was 3/26

Everything developed so quickly because the weather was so warm.

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KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

I like the color combos!!

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

The border is maturing and the hostas have taken over as the iris, peoneys and spring bulbs fade. Spiderwort blooms greet me in the morning and fade in the afternoon sun. Next to come - daylilies, oriental lilies and the annuals that fill in the spaces.

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KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

My orientals are blooming now and so are some of my daylilies. Annuals are just starting to pop out of the ground so luckily I will still have some blooms this summer. lol

Love your gardens!!

suburban K.C., MO(Zone 6a)

Yes me too, I love Leawood's design, the hardscaping is just right and the plants and flowers/colors look just right. I know that if I was a neighbor there, I'd be envious! : )
My borders mostly consist of rocks!

Leawood, KS(Zone 5b)

Thanks for the kind words. The new bed in the center of the lawn will all be sun varieties.

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