The Q&A Archives: 2' X 21" - Semi Shaded - Lots Of Clay Where Do I Begin

Question: The walk to my door is 2'wide x 21' long.. the soil is full of clay. I would like to plant perennials/annuals to keep the area full of flowers. I have bulbs already planted and had planted daylilies but, had to remove them and transplant them to an area that can handle all the foiliage. I am willing to dig up the area, and replant what ever seems to be needed.

Help me, select a garden that will work.It must stay in its beds, It can grow high against the building but, it can't get shaggy into my walk way. I am a novice at gardening and love the look of my neighbors gardens. Except no one is willing to go out on a limb and recommmend to me what to buy and where to plant it.. HELP Burpee....

Thank you,
Francine J.Levine.

Answer: First of all, you need to add lots of organic matter to your soil such as compost, rotted leaves, or aged stable manure and bedding along with a small amount of sand. Improving the soil is the first step toward growing healthy plants. Next, you will probably want to run some basic soil tests to see what other amendments (and how much) you may need to add, such as lime. Your county extension (305-5742) can help you with that.

Part shade can be defined a number of ways. If your planting area is sunny in the morning but shady all afternoon, look for plants that like shade to part sun. If it is sunny all afternoon and shady in the morning, then look for plants that take full sun to part shade. The reson for this is that the afternoon sun is very hot.

Most perennials only bloom for a few weeks, so for continuous color you might be happier with annuals. These plants are also very predictable in terms of their mature size, so check the labels and space them accordingly. For morning sun you might try the bedding begonias, petunias, sweet alyssum, trailing lobelia, ageratum, and snapdragons along with coleus. For afternoon sun you might try flowering vinca rosea, marigolds, zinnias, cleome, cosmos, sunflowers, and dwarf tithonia.

With a little experimentation you will discover which plants do best for you and can then add more types based on that information. Enjoy your flowers!

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