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Thread: Planting suggestions

  1. #1
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    Planting suggestions

    I need some advice about what to plant in a small bed that's maybe 10 ft x 2-4 ft in some spots. There are two ugly shrubs that can't be removed, two small hostas and a small coneflower. I don't know what to plant that will be reasonably attractive and prevent it from needing to be weeded all the time.

    Any suggestions? Zone is 7a, the plot is south-facing and the budget is small. Is there anything I can still plant this late in the season that will flourish in the spring or summer, or do I need to wait until spring? How well does mulch prevent weeds? Should I leave the weeds there over the fall and winter, or remove them and leave the soil bare, or do something else? The weeds are mostly clover and crabgrass.

  2. #2
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    I would put in perennial herbs.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Gardenarian's Avatar
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    Yes, rosemary and lavender would probably do well there. I don't get a sense if it's sunny (coneflower) or shady (hosta). If there is fairly deep shade, I would consider hellebore. Maybe some perennial violas.

    Mum's overwinter well where I live (also zone 7a.) They die back but start blooming again in early summer.

    If the weeds are mixed together, pull them out. If the clover is in separate clumps, I would leave it. I think it's attractive and it is also fixes nitrogen. Take out the crabgrass.

    Mulch works best if you lay down some cardboard first, a couple overlapping layers is best.

  4. #4
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I wouldnt keep clover in a flower bed. I dont mind it in a grassy area. It will take over at some point. Agreed, remove the crabgrass, I dont know whether it is annual or perennial, but get it out now.

    OP, there is nothing that will keep you from weeding. The best bet is to plant things close together and mulch the bed. Sunlight encourages weeds, so if your plants cover the ground there are fewer weeds.

    I dont know what to plant, there are thoisands of plants out there. My advice for those who dont want to take care of a bed around here is “monkey grass, monkey grass.” But this year the weather did a number on previously indesdructible monkey grass, so that advice isnt even valid any more!

    I also agree with Gardenarian that it is difficult to know how sunny it is with both hosta (shade plant) and coneflower (sun plant) in the same spot. Which one looks healthier? Does the bed get at least 6 hours of sun? If so, herbs and flowering plants will do fine. Few herbs like shade.

  5. #5
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    Thanks. I like the idea of herbs, hadn't heard of monkey grass, but I like the look of it -- not sure I can find it here, though. I took over this bed from someone else. It's very sunny. The hostas definitely aren't happy. Sorry for the basic questions, but if I mulch smaller areas between plants, should I still put down cardboard? Does the mulch go directly on top of the cardboard, or does more soil go on top of the cardboard first (and if so, how deep should the soil layer be)? Have you had success with newspaper?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Gardenarian's Avatar
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    If it's a really small area you can skip the cardboard and just catch the weeds early. Newspaper just gets messy, in my experience.

    Sounds like the hostas are getting too much sun. I'd move them to a shadier spot.

    Perennial herbs like rosemary and lavender are super easy and low maintenance. Get smaller (cheaper) plants, they grow fairly quickly.

    It you want more color, take a look at your local nursery to see what's on offer (probably lots of pansies and mums. I like both.) I used to dislike mums, but I have some that are crimson with a bright yellow center, just love them. And, I can't seem to kill them

  7. #7
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    Do you have available grass clippings? If yes, start piling them on as mulch. 2-3 inches thick. Leave 1-2 inches around bases of plants and that's it.

    Do you know anyone with garden plants? This is the time of year to divide perennials. Offer to help dig up and divide. I am at the point I have to throw away divisions as i'm out of people to divide to. My garden perennials are suffering because I wouldn't do that this spring. They NEED to be divided.

    In general, if you find it for sale at your local stores, it should do well where you live. Plants should be discounted now so bargains should be available. Our local nurseries are doing 50% off right now as fall is chilling. Makes for good prices and staff are helpful.]

    Have fun in your garden bed!

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