The Q&A Archives: Border on front lawn

Question: I wish to replace grass in front of lawn and add border of creeping phlox or may be some bulbs in the corner. Our house is at the end of culde-sac - it gets all of the snow, salt, and sand. Any ideas, suggestions, hints?

Answer: You have a very challenging garden site! One option, and perhaps the only one along roads, is to plant perennials tolerant of high salt levels. At least the perennials that die back to the ground each winter, you don?t need to be concerned with salt spray to foliage as you might with woody plants and evergreens.

Some of the hardy (generally USDA zone 5 or colder) perennials I?ve found listed as highly salt tolerant include some columbine and pinks (Dianthus), bearberry, common wood aster, daylily species and hybrids, bird?s foot trefoil, seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens), and barren strawberry (Waldsteinia). ?Karl Foerster? reed grass, blue lyme grass, maiden grass (Miscanthus), muhly grass, sand cordgrass, and little bluestem are ornamental grasses reported salt tolerant.

Hardy perennials with at least some salt tolerance include silver mound artemisia, butterfly weed, candytuft, foxglove, sea holly, peony, baby?s breath, tall phlox, creeping phlox, bellflower, Lenten rose, coralbells, bearded iris, evening primrose, ?Autumn Joy? sedum, hens and chicks, Russian sage, Prairie mallow, soapweed, sea thrift (Armeria), yarrow, and yucca. ?Elijah? blue fescue is a low ornamental grass with some salt tolerance, as is ribbon grass (Phalaris), panic grass (Panicum), blue oat grass, and fountain grass (Pennisetum).

With a mixture of salt-tolerant perennials you should be able to enjoy an attractive garden bed. Good luck with your project!

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