starting a simple garden - Knowledgebase Question

Carver, Ma
Question by mjdmarois
June 21, 2010
I have a 20 by 20 area in my front yard starting right at the base board of my front house. There is a large Japanese Maple tree in the center of the mulched area and one rose plant. I am overwhelmed my all the perennials and shrubs there are to choose from so I end up with nothing every time I go to home depot. I just want a simple garden -

Answer from NGA
June 21, 2010


It's easy to get overwhelmed with the vast variety of summer blooming annuals and perennials. I find the easiest approach is to concentrate on one part of the garden at a time. Since your maple tree is probably the focal point of the garden bed, why not choose a few plants to set near the base of the tree? Once you've lived with them for a while, you might want to plant something to highlight your rose bush. As you become more familiar with plants and how they grow, you may want to add a few more plants to the garden. There's probably shade beneath your maple. If so, you can plant some shade loving annuals and/or perennials. Brunnera 'Jack Frost' (Siberian Bugloss) is a stunning perennial for shady areas with blue forget-me-not like flowers. It does best in rich, moist soil and will grow to be 12-15? tall. Epimedium 'Orange Queen' (Bishop's Cap) is excellent for deep shade
under trees where few others will perform. With its warm copper-orange
flowers it is a spectacular groundcover! Impatiens, bedding begonias, lobelia, campanula and hostas are all good companions to maple trees.

If the area is sunny, try planting Baptisia australis (Blue False Indigo). This is an easy-to-grow native plant that provides four seasons of interest. In the Spring it will produce long indigo-blue spiking blooms then in the Summer its blue-green foliage provides a beautiful backdrop to other plants in the garden. After the blooms have gone by they are replaced with 2-3? puffy seed pods, which start out green but gradually turn black in late summer and fall and then stay on the plant in to the winter. Or, Iris Germanica 'Best Bet', a beautiful two-toned blue rebloom ing iris that's hardy in dry conditions. It prefers full sun and will grow 16-18? wide with stems reaching 30-40? tall.

A final suggestion is Kniphofia 'Alcazar' (Torch Lily) It has tangerine-red flowers and an exceptional bloom time. This plant needs full sun and will grow 36-40?.

I hope these suggestions are helpful.

You must be signed in before you can post questions or answers. Click here to join!

« Return to the Garden Knowledgebase Homepage

Member Login:



[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by wildflowers and is called "Japanese Spirea"