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Pls help newbie with flower bed plantings

k bask
13 days ago

I'd like to create and plant a new bed that looks like the pic - I live in a same looking place but far away.


I'm new to this so I researched some plants that I thought would go well together and I like:

- hyacinths/spanish bluebells: for early color

- weigela Florida My Monet: like variegated leaves and its compactness

- weigela Florida Variegata: I like the variegated leaves will bring contrast

- white alliums Mont Blanc





- Geranium patricia: like its long blooming season

- Great Masterwort Alba: gorgeous blooms

- Prince of Orange Oriental Poppy

- Chinese Lantern

- Bearded iris germanica Blue - I have a lot of these and need to divide them and will move them to new bed


There's a ton of hostas in the gardens around me so wanting to avoid those.


I'm inexperienced so mocked smth up (poorly) on Gardenplanner with the plants approximately sized, starting from top down:

- hyacinth in front of weigela My Monet

- weigela Variegata

- alliums

- Kansas peonly (in celebration of my mom)

- bearded irises that I am going to dig up from the little bed around the corner from the doorway

- Geranium patricia

- Sarah Bernhardt peony (in remembrance of my Dad)


What do you think of my plant selection?

Which order (foreground/middle/back) to plant them?

- not sure where to plant Great Masterwort Alba, Prince of Orange Oriental Poppy, Chinese Lantern

Any other ideas for plants?

About how long will it take to grow in?

While it grows in, do people plant annuals in the open areas? For instance the peony I bought is 1.5ft wide but it will grow to double the size - what do I do with all the "blank space" while it fills out over the next few years?

Should I be planting annuals to enhance this bed? I don't mind doing so - what plants would you suggest for this.


My objective is a relatively maintenance free perennial garden, in the pink/purple/blue with white accents and a splash of orange for interest. It would be great if some plant or other was in bloom from May to the fall.


Zone 5, and bed will get a solid 7 hours of afternoon sun starting around noon.


Sorry for the tome - any other tips or suggestions much appreciated!


cheers,

:)

Comments (27)

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    10 days ago

    Keep looking. That’s a crazy price unless you're buying something rare. Get them mail order, not in those little packs at the garden centre.

    Best Answer
  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    13 days ago

    z5 is about half the US .. and rather divergent.. big city name ...


    in my z5 MI ... with temps possible into the 90s for the next 2 months ... you can move things.. but it might be a battle.. to keep them looking nice the rest of the season ... its not that they will die.. they just might not look best ...


    soooo.. if it were me... i would move other stuff out .. and do bed development and then plant new stuff in fall ...


    there is no reason you cant collect pots of stuff for fall planting ...


    one other thought.. based on your list that could cover about a half acre.. lol ... go big.. or go home ... well.. i suppose you are already home.. lol ... but since you seem to have the bug.. and the motivation .. just double the size of your entire bed ... so you can have even more ... with the limitation of how much work you want to do annually ...


    ken

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  • k bask
    Original Author
    13 days ago

    Thx for your reply, Ken. Oh sorry - I read other posts that said Zone so I thought that was all that was needed. I'm in Greater Ottawa area - north of the 49 but hope posters will still help out their neighbor!


    Hmmm, too many plants good to know! I will have to trim my list as that's the biggest plot I can go physically.


    Yes, thx - I should have mentioned that I'm planting in the fall but doing bed prep and buying/securing my plants now as some are sold out. I'm asking early to get an idea before I buy.


    cheers,

    :)

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    13 days ago

    IMO, plant selection is a very personal choice......kind of like choosing what clothes to wear :-) If YOU like it, it is fully hardy for your area and grows well under your current conditions, then plant whatever you like!!

    But a couple of additional thoughts. There is no such thing as a "relatively maintenance free perennial garden". On a garden maintenance schedule, perennials rank just below annuals and edibles for requiring the most attention and maintenance. If you want low maintenance, then shrubby, woody based plants, preferably evergreen, are the way to go.

    Second, no matter how appealing those little orange lanterns look to you in fall, I'd strongly caution you NOT to plant Chinese lantern plant, Physalis alkekengi! It is a very aggressive spreader and will rapidly take over your entire garden area. If you must have it, keep it restricted to a container.

    Finally, almost all the plants you list are of spring or early summer interest. Once past the end of June, pretty much the only color you will have is the variegated foliage and the geranium. I'd look to something else to provide some mid to late season color.


  • dbarron
    13 days ago
    last modified: 13 days ago

    Select plants with interest periods for the times you're out in the garden. Here midsummer is stay in the AC time, and I'd prefer plants of interest in spring and fall or winter, when I'm more likely to be outside to enjoy them.
    Even with watering the heat and humidity here is hard on the plants too, the blossoms in mid summer don't last long or look fresh long. So...I may have midsummer color (I do), but I like earlier color or later primarily.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    13 days ago

    I’d also recommend not planting Spanish bluebells. The foliage is coarse and floppy smothering everything as it dies down and they become persistent weeds. The masterwort has pretty flowers but I wouldn’t call them gorgeous. They’re understated and rather small.

  • k bask
    Original Author
    12 days ago

    Thx all for your replies, info, and comments - much appreciated!


    @gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9) - thx for saving me from the Lantern - no idea. I do think they're pretty cute and do baskets so will plant them there. I had Loosestrife on my list for a while until I found out they were "aggressive" too. Do you have any suggestions for mid-late season color?


    @dbarron good point, never considered that. I spend about an hour every morning in the garden (unless raining). I like heat so it and humidity don't bother me. Our winters are long so I soak up as much warmth as I can...LOL! Do you have any plants that have fall color suitable for zone 5?


    @floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK Good point on the Spanish bluebells. Do you think hyacinth would be better?


    cheers,

    :)

  • dbarron
    12 days ago

    I'm zone 7, so do your research. But things I like for fall are lycoris, asters, oakleaf hydrangea, witch hazel, colchicum, fall crocus, lobelia silphitica, lobelia cardinalis (midsummer for me, I understand fall for people farther north), japanese anemone. I intentionally left off things I know you can't grow that far north.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    12 days ago

    Hyacinths give a short show and are usually replanted every year to obtain the large flowers. They will perennialise but the flowers become more loose and less dense. They will be long gone by the time the Weigelas leaf out and would not combine with them. If I used them they would be in amongst the Weigela and be regarded as a brief moment of interest in early spring.


    For a long season of flower from early summer until frost Penstemons work in my climate but I don’t know when they’d flower for you.

  • k bask
    Original Author
    11 days ago

    @dbarron & @floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK thx so much to you both for the detailed replies. I may wait a couple of years on the hyacinths then and see how things settle in as I focus on not having to plant every year at first. Of course I will see if the plants suggested are suitable for my area - great to have a list to start from as the choices are quite overwhelming for a newbie!


    cheers,

    :)

  • sherrygirl zone5 N il
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    K bask, I see you have allium on your list. I suggest you choose An allium with sterile seeds, otherwise you will have allium everywhere in your gardens, they are reseeders if not sterile. Also, some alliums the foliage browns quickly, so keep that in mind also.

    How about a daylily that blooms a little later in the summer, I suggest Orchid Corsage, should be easy to find on line.

    Sherry

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    11 days ago

    There’s no point in waiting to plant hyacinths. That’s like saying you won’t have a coffee today, you’ll wait and have one next month instead to save the effort. Like that cup of coffee Hyacinths aren’t a big deal. They’re just a brief pick me up, when not much else is around, and you have nothing to lose. Just plant some this autumn, enjoy them next spring and decide if you want to repeat the experiment. If your bed is really 8 feet long planting them will take a matter of minutes. In fact this applies to any planting in such a small space. You can change it anytime you like. You’re not stuck with your first attempt forever.

  • k bask
    Original Author
    10 days ago

    @sherrygirl zone5 N il Thx for the suggestions. Ah, thx for the sterile tip - I had to look up into the varieties my local nurseries have in stock on general sites (some nurseries just have listing without photos so there's no indication of even the colour) and I noticed verbiage about reseeding and put it in my notes with some ??? to look into later what that was all about - now I know...yay! I've since found with gardening, one can go down lot of rabbit holes...LOL!


    @floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK You're right it won't take long to plant some - especially since squirrels are averse to them. I'm sorry I wasn't clear - the front middle portion is 8', the whole bed will be about 24' but I'm only going to plant some hyacinth near the front walk. Because of the long winters here, early blooms really cheer me up and I enjoy seeing them so much so I will plant some.


    I have a 3ft diameter planter in the front lawn (not shown in the design plan) where every year I do a traditional layout (tall spike, flowers, groundcover) and this fall I'm filling it with bright daffodils for an early shot of spring colour.


    Things will change and my preferences over time may too so I'll be mindful of possible future modifications. While I know it won't be "perfect", I'm hoping my first attempt will be pretty good given the costs I am seeing that will be involved: I've read drifts of 10-15 alliums is an attractive planting and here 1 bulb is $15-$20 so that's $150-$300...yikes!


    cheers,

    :)

  • k bask
    Original Author
    6 days ago

    Thanks for the tip, @floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK - not rare, they were all listed at that price at the local nursery. Will def check out mail order now!


    cheers,

    :)

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    6 days ago
    last modified: 6 days ago

    Which alliums were you looking for?

    I got mine from these people https://www.greengardenflowerbulbs.nl/en/spring-flowering-bulbs/allium

    Not sure if they ship to the USA.

    eta ooops! Forgot you were in Canada. What a faux pas 😉

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
    6 days ago

    Purple loosestrife is more than aggressive, it's considered highly invasive throughout Canada.

    For alliums, there are some good reasonably priced sources in Canada. I'm not sure about nurseries in Ontario, but I've ordered from Vesey's in PEI and Botanus in BC with very good, reasonably priced results; there's also Breck's Bulbs online.

    I'd recommend reading Marjorie Harris gardening books and articles. She's in her eighties now and I believe spent most of her life gardening in and around Toronto. Her writing includes lots of good tips and ideas for what grows well in your area.

  • k bask
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    @floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK Thx for that tip - I was looking for Mont Blanc and GGFB was the only place that actually has them! Their pre-shipping 250E min is too much and their smaller biz doesn't ship to Cda - good thing I'd given up and gone for Mount Everest...LOL! If that's a pic of your alliums - wowee...they look fab!


    @beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally Recs are much appreciated - thx! Good to know about Botanus - colchicums are hard to find but they carry a variety that I could settle for but was wondering about shipping so far - good to hear they're sound. I found Breck's but Vessey has some reasonable options that I think I'll go for instead. I'll look into Ms. Harris' writings - I have so much to learn...every time I look up smth, I realize how much more I still do not know!


    Off to bed now and I anticipate tmrw will be my review and get 'er done day - exciting!


    cheers,

    :)

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    5 days ago

    There’s a sad story attached to those alliums. I grew them for the flower arrangements for my daughter’s wedding scheduled for May. It had to be cancelled due to Covid. So I had 250 alliums and 150 odd pots of violas to enjoy in splendid isolation. And DD remains weddingless.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    5 days ago

    A further thought. Your wiggly bed edges might prove annoying to mow. The acute one will be nigh on impossible. When you map out the bed on the ground do a test run with the mower.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
    5 days ago

    Good to know about Botanus - colchicums are hard to find but they carry a variety that I could settle for but was wondering about shipping so far - good to hear they're sound. I found Breck's but Vesey has some reasonable options that I think I'll go for instead. I'll look into Ms. Harris' writings - I have so much to learn...every time I look up smth, I realize how much more I still do not know!

    If you sign up for Vesey's catalogues and their online newsletter, you'll get discount codes for free shipping.

    I live in rural Alberta where mail order is pretty a much a necessity for a lot of plant items. I don't begrudge any small independent Canadian company the need to charge shipping, especially when Canada Post rates are constantly increasing. And particularly now during a pandemic when maintaining a business is so fraught. We have so few mail order nurseries and garden supply outfits in Canada compared to the US, it's always a tragedy when one closes or goes out of business or the owner retires.

    The best thing you can do to keep costs down and increase your success rate, especially with mail order bulbs, live plants, and seeds, is to do lots and lots of reading and research into varieties for your area.

    Phoenix Perennials in BC is also a very good mail order source I can recommend, and I believe they've had Mont Blanc alliums in the past. Again, sign up for the online newsletters so you find out what they have available when. Rare and/or popular varieties go fast.

    A list like this -- perennials by bloom time through the season -- is helpful. You want plants blooming throughout the season; it's also helpful to choose plants that have interesting/attractive foliage,

    https://landscapeontario.com/perennials-in-bloom-month-by-month

    Annuals are a good way to have interest throughout the growing season, and also good to fill in blank spaces. You could plant California poppies (Eschscholzia) in orange, for the cost of a package of seeds : ) .

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
    5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    Just found this at the Ottawa Horticultural Society website -- a YouTube presentation on design basics and plant selection for the Ottawa area, which might be helpful for you, k:

    As the March meeting of the OHS was cancelled due to COVID-19, our presenter Mary Ann Van Berlo kindly recorded her presentation and has made it available on You Tube.

    You can check it out here.

    Mary Ann guides us through the elements and principles of design and discusses how plants fit into the design principles and share some advice on plant selection. There are tips and pointers that we can use in our own gardens.

    http://ottawahort.org/design-basics-and-plant-selection

    Also, a list of local nurseries, and worth noting if you don't already know that staff at local nurseries who are familiar with the plant material and local conditions (compared to, say, staff at your local Canadian Tire or Home Depot) are a wealth of information,

    http://ottawahort.org/gardening/local-nurseries/

    And, the Ottawa Hort's book recommendations,

    http://ottawahort.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Gardening-101-Lesson-12.-Armchair-Gardening.pdf

  • k bask
    Original Author
    3 days ago

    @floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK Wow - both for your daughter's postponed wedding and the glory of all those blooms! Guess you got the flower rehearsal. Hope her wedding will be all the more special when loved ones can safely gather to celebrate!


    Thx for the mowing tip...a contractor takes care of it (ride on mower, hand mower, then weedwacker). I plan to plant a bit back from the edge and put smth like this down:

    https://www.rona.ca/en/lawn-edging-13195074


    cheers,

    :)

  • k bask
    Original Author
    3 days ago

    @beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally So many thanks for taking the time to provide the links and so much super helpful info - much appreciated!


    I came across Phoenix in my roamings - no Mont Blanc alliums this year but they were 1 of 2 places I could find that had the Wild Swan anemone - I like that they ship the actual potted plant too, not just the bare root and shipping is very reasonable too!


    If you're looking to add to your nursery list, Fraser's Thimble on Salt Spring Island, BC was the other place that had the Wild Swan. They do a lot of rare plants too and their pricing is very reasonable but they do add a handling fee and flat rate shipping. In the end both places are comparably priced. I placed an order and will see how it goes.


    I will try my hand with poppy seeds! Should be easy enough and I'll start them inside in cardboard egg cartons so as not to disturb their roots with a transplant outdoors.


    Being a newbie, I hadn't even come across any of the OHS stuff! And my search only showed up a quarter of those nurseries! Fab to have such great resources - so excite to learn - thx again!


    cheers,

    :)


  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
    3 days ago

    I will try my hand with poppy seeds! Should be easy enough and I'll start them inside in cardboard egg cartons so as not to disturb their roots with a transplant outdoors.

    Unlike a lot of other plants, poppies do NOT like to be transplanted, so sow the seed directly where you want them!

  • k bask
    Original Author
    3 days ago

    I thought if I planted them in a biodegradable "pot" that would melt into the soil, I could get an early start on them indoors and avoid the drama of having the squirrels digging up the garden where the seeds are put down - I will try 50/50 and see how it goes...LOL!


    cheers,

    :)

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
    3 days ago

    It's worth a try! They're generally too sensitive even for that kind of transplanting.

    If squirrels are a problem, you're going to have problems with them nibbling on poppy leaves, buds, and pods...

  • k bask
    Original Author
    2 days ago

    Oh good to know - stuff I read said that was an option but I will always go with first-hand info so I'll just plant outdoors...thx thx! Ugh! Those squirrels are my bane...they feast on so much of my garden hopefully they'll be too full for the poppies...guess I'll risk the 3 bucks worth of seed...LOL!

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