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My front flower bed, going across the front of my house has a shady side and a sunny side. I just bought this house and currently the bed is mostly bare. One side is shaded by a large oak tree and the other side is mostly sunny, only shaded by the house it self. The bed is facing the South and i'm in zone 8a.
What i'm wanting is some symmetry on both sides of the bed. I do have two baby dwarf gardenias planted on both sides and i'm hoping they will do well. Does any one have any ideas or suggestions? I don't want anything that i'm going to have to prune, so naturally lower growing shrubs or flowers would be best.
Would some of the shorter growing Astilbe work in both shade and sun?
Whataday, I have the same problem, although my house faces almost due west. I wanted something that would "balance" but plants/flowers/shrubs that would grow in sun to balance (in color and size) the ones that would grow in shade. One side of the house is shaded by huge sweetgum trees, a water oak and a pine tree. The other is in full blazing sun, especially in the afternoon. I planted Knockout roses on the sunny side, with daisies and coneflowers. I am not done yet but will add more in front of the roses, even some annuals, to make it a perennial cottage garden.
On the other side, which is in full shade most of the day, I have camellia sansaquas next to the house (red blooms in the fall), with Hino azaleas (hot pink ... bloom in early spring) in front of those, and hostas in front of those. I also planted Japanese painted ferns but they didn't make it. On the end, I have astilbes, but they aren't doing as well as I'd hoped. I'm going to fill in with impatiens and have purchased a Japanese maple to go under the sweetgum tree. Sweetgums are awfully messy but they give me the shade I need. The balls and leaves blow off fairly easily in the spring with a leaf blower, leaving the pine straw mulch pretty much untouched.
I lost a whole season last year due to health problems and I'm trying hard to catch up and complete what I started two years ago.
The first photo is of the roses blooming on the sunny side this year (mid-April), the second photo is the other side (shady) bed when I first planted it two years ago. it has been so neglected I'm ashamed to take a pic this year. Will send one after I have a chance to work on it. LOL. Some of the hostas are now HUGE.
being in zone 8a, you will want something that is pretty drought tolerant and still pretty. what comes to mind for me is to turn it into a rock garden and use succulents...
portulaca (moss rose)
Of course, you don't want it to look all dry so you would also want to put something in that is not a succulent, but still pretty hearty... variegated vinca vine looks very neat with its long tendrils, as well as creeping flox and even marigolds... just use your imagination and some sweat equity :)
Thanks every one for the ideas. Sorry it has taken me so long to respond back. I just finished moving and getting settled in.
JudyinGA, What a beautiful house you have! Thanks for the pictures. I love the look of your knockout roses. A friend of mine sent me some purple cone flowers not long ago and they sure do awesome in the hot sun huh? Its a lot easier for me to find plants for my sunny side than the shady side.
flowAjen, I been keeping an eye out for some Hardy Geraniums when I go to Lowe's. I understand that some geraniums are annuals and the Hardy Geranium is the only perennial. Its good to know they do well in both sun and shade. I will be putting them higher on my "got to get" list.
Thanks susanI6520, there are several types of sedum that I would like to have. I didn't know it would do well in both sun and shade though. Im excited to here that. I was thinking they were a sun only type plant.
Thanks for the links Regality. Im going to check them out now, while I have some free time.
You might also remember that symmetrical does not have to = same. You can obtain balanced height and visual weight and balanced color without using the same plants on both sides. Informal balance vs formal balance. Symmetry can be obtained with either. Even if plants will grow in either sun or shade, they could grow differently. That is one might grow taller in the sun or the leaf color may be different in the shade. My 2 cents.
steadycam3 wrote:You might also remember that symmetrical does not have to = same. You can obtain balanced height and visual weight and balanced color without using the same plants on both sides. Informal balance vs formal balance. Symmetry can be obtained with either. Even if plants will grow in either sun or shade, they could grow differently. That is one might grow taller in the sun or the leaf color may be different in the shade. My 2 cents.
That's basically what the Fine Gardening article I linked to says.
Though there are some plants that will grow in both sun and shade, it might be easier and more successful to use informal balance as opposed to "identicality".
I did read the article and it will take some thinking to on my part to make plans for this bed.. So far I have a baby dwarf gardenia on both sides. They seems to be growing similarly in the sun and shade this far. I also have a Crimson pygmy barberry. It is green on the shady side and purple on the sunny side. It seems to be keeping about the same size, but this shrub is still a baby to, like the gardenia. Next year it will probably start to show if there will be a size difference between the beds. I don't really mind the big difference in color between the barberrys. I do like the look of the purple better, but it works for balance, just having them them the same shape and size.
Please if anyone thinks of any other plants that might work well on both sides continue to share that info with me. Anything small growing or dwarf.
I was looking in one of my plant order magazines and found these two plants. It reads they do equally well in sun and shade. Has anyone had any experience with either one of these?
Mahonia repens (Creeping Oregon Grape)
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Hardy Plumbago)
Thanks for the idea SusanI61520, but Im a penny pincher and I don't want to add any thing extra to my light bill. I want things that will naturally work on both sides.
I liked them--but at least in the case of the Mahonia I sold the house before I'd had it long enough to see what a mature plant would look like, so I couldn't speak to whether I would have been happy with it in the long run or not.
I think i'm going to give them a try if I can get them at a reasonable price. Im glad to know you had them already and didn't hate them.
They would give me some verity and help me fill in both sides a bit more.
Whataday - The below link is for Bluestone Perennials "Plant Finder". I use it all the time to give me ideas. There is no requirement to order anything from them. It's just a really handy way to see plants you may not be aware of. You can access it on your own from the DG Garden Watchdog. I left it blank so you could fill in your own choice of info if you want to.
Bluestone has been a garden watchdog top nursery and very popular for many years. Recently, they made some changes in their packaging that didn't work out too well at first, but now that they've gotten most of the kinks out, their feedback is starting to improve again.
If you're interested in ordering from them, the best time is Spring as they start to have sales. In May they do a sitewide clearance and most of the plants are half-price.
If you see plants that are of interest, you can probably find similar varieties of many of them in your local nursery.
Thank you so much for the link you gave me! It has been sooo helpful. I went from knowing of three or four perennials that would work equally well in both sun and shade, to knowing of 163! Also 36 of those are evergreens! I must of spent a couple hours looking through all my new choices that could work for my front beds, and it was a lot of fun to.
Im so glad you took the time to share this link with me. It really answered the posted question.
Whataday - You are VERY WELCOME and I'm glad it was helpful!!
I, also can spend hours looking through Bluestone's Plant Finder. I know of quite a few other DG members that use it as well. Another cool thing about it is you can go to a local nursery, if you want, and find other varieties of the same types of plants.
If you wait until Bluestones 1/2 price clearance, it's much easier if you have a list of some of the plants you'd like or it can be overwhelming. And if you check their weekly sales in Spring, you can tell them not to ship right away and pay one shipping price.
Good luck with all your new ideas. Hope we get to see some pictures when you get some of it growing!
I'm in Zone 8 and don't get much sun due to my large red oak trees. But I am growing two types of mahonias. Maybe it's due to the benign neglect that I give them, but I find that they are slow growers. I do know that they can grow to a decent size b/c I first encountered them in my bro's garden and they were huge. I especially like that they are evergreen and that they produce very unusual flowers. They also produce blue berries that the birds love. I also know that no one in their right mind would attempt to break into one of my windows, outside of which I have the mahonias, because they have sharp prickly leaves. :D
Another type of mahonia (also evergreen) is called a Chinese Mahonia. I have no idea if that's the real name. They have willow-like leaves. I haven't seen them bloom, but as I mentioned earlier, mine get benign neglect. A third type of mahonia is showing up in the Dallas area nurseries. I can't tell you anything about it other than it's also evergreen.
I only glanced at the previous part of this thread, but I didn't see any mention of hollies. There are a gazillion types from trees to shrubs. I used to have some beautiful ones that came with my house. I preferred not to trim them but rather to let them flow. Unfortunately a house painter did them in. Sigh. That's what prompted me to plant the mahonias.
Another side of my house has untrimmed and unruly boxwood, spared by the painter. Yea!
And speaking of hollies, you might consider Japanese holly ferns. They like shade but also need some sun. They are evergreen and can grow quite large. Same with August ferns. My neighbors have about a third of their front yard covered with beautiful Wood ferns. The Wood ferns are perennial but die back in the winter.
I forgot to mention that all of the nurseries in Dallas sell the hardy blue plumbago. It's really beautiful with delicate light blue flowers. I finally got tired of buying them b/c they always died in the heat of the Tx summer. And the more I think about it, I've never seen them in anyone's yard. Just at all the garden centers.
Down south with our heat, Plumbagos do better with a little shade during the hottest part of the day. Even though the plant info said full sun, after a couple plants died in the middle of summer, I did a lot of reading...I have discovered that you almost have to read between the lines. Here is a link to info on heat zones for you.
I know your right moonhowl, It gets down right steamy in our zone. Thank you for the link.
I bought a pot of Grace Ward Lithodora this last spring. It grew into a nice little green mat untill the heat of the summer killed it. If I ever get another pot of it, i'm going to try it in a shadier spot.
Haven't looked at this post for awhile. In answer to Whataday's question about the height of the Chinese Mahonias, mine are at least 3 ft. tall, except for a baby one that seems to still be in diapers. They should grow taller, possibly to 6 ft. (and spread out wider than mine) and would probably do so a little faster if I was better about feeding them. They do love all of the organic stuff like HastaGrow, Liquid Molasses, Liquid Seaweed, etc etc.
BTW, I was at one of my fave garden centers recently and saw the 3rd type of Mahonia. I have, however, conveniently forgotten its name. But the nursery folks did say that it doesn't grow any faster than the other two that I already have.
I wanted to give everyone an update. I have decided to put dwarf gardenias all the way across the front of my house. They fit the bill of what I was looking for.
Here in my zone 8a, they do well in both sun and shade, they are dwarf so I want have to do much pruning and they have beautiful flowers that smell great. I wanted something evergreen and they are that to!
I already tried them on both sides of the house, sun and shade and they have done fine.
Thanks to everyone who made suggestions, I appreciate the help.
When the gardenias get tall enough to be seen well in a picture, I will try to post some pictures for everyone to see.