Hot location perennial - Knowledgebase Question

Bellevue, NE
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Question by roseview
June 27, 2006
I want to build a bed 18 inches wide about 60 feet long next to a tan colored brick wall with south exposure so it is very hot from late May to early September. The location of this bed would be in zone 4b and the bed will recieve little rain as it is under the eaves of the wall/building it is next to. The soil there now is clay but I want to put in a raised bed when the Lord provides the resources. What would you recommend planting there?

Answer from NGA
June 27, 2006
Most plants don't like growing in clay soil because the drainage is poor. You can help things along by incorporating some compost or aged-manure prior to planting. Simply spread a 4=5" layer over the soil surface and dig it in to a depth of 6-8". This will help loosen the soil and help it drain better. It will need to be watered regularly in order for the plants to thrive. As for plants, you have lots of choices.

Ornamental Onions or Alliums are one of the easiest full sun perennials to grow and even though they are technically a bulb, they deserve a place in the early summer perennial border.

Monkshood or Aconitum is a wonderful plant for full sun or light shade and I particularly like the old-fashioned bicolor form. The fall blooming varieties bring fantastic blue shades to the fall garden.

One of the easiest of hardy perennials is the Coneflower or Echinacea. A sun loving beauty! Peonies are one of the superb classic perennial flowers.

Hollyhocks are one of the stateliest and easiest of self-sowing perennials. And one of the longest blooming plants in the perennial border is the Coreopsis or Butter Daisy. One of my all time favourite border perennials is the Beebalm or Monarda.

Lavatera is a tall, shrubby perennial that produces scads of pink flowers and is a good plant for the back of the border. It will take a bit of shade too so that makes it even more versatile. Poppie sare a visually exciting garden perennial. Their bright colors scream across the garden.

Fall in the garden would not be the same without the showy Black Eyed Susan or Rudbeckia family of plants. These are North American natives and fill our fall gardens with those wonderful yellows we associate with fall.

I am not sure there is a plant that is considered an essential perennial for every garden, but if there was - Baby's Breath would come very close to being that plant. This dainty flowering plant is considered a mixed blessing. In cold climates, it flowers as a biennial giving us scads of spring daisies. In warmer climates, it can escape from the garden into lawns and other areas. However you grow it, Bellis or English Daisy is a charmer.

If you have to have a massive late summer or fall bloomer, you won't go wrong with the sun or part-shade growing perennial Hibiscus It is a show-stopping plant.

Hope these suggestions give you some great ideas for your garden. Enjoy!

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