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Name: Lynn
KC, Missouri (Zone 6a)
Mar 14, 2016 6:58 PM CST
Oops! I was so focused on what I was writing forgot to title the post Smiling Thanks for viewing my "untitled" post.

I have a big problem area. This bed is a mess. We bought the house a couple years ago and haven't done anything with it. By early summer its bad and by middle its completely overgrown. Hoping to tackle this early this year and head off a lot of weed growth. First I want to tell you is that my biggest challenge is physical. I can hardly spend any time weeding, if I do it knocks me down and my husband had a bulging disc last year so is cautious. Perhaps we can get some guys out to do some clean up. I have a box of ajuga someone gave me that needs into the ground soon, 4 large astilbe to move here, there are some existing hydrangeas along the back wall, and day lilies here and there. I would like to fill with a lot hosta I think. Other suggestions welcome.

Knowing our physical limitations and the size of the bed, what would you suggest. I know we need to rake out the existing leaves and dead weeds. I was pulling some but they seem to have a lot of runners and trying to get them all out will be a loosing battle I think. The dirt in there seems very high quality. I think someone had some big plans at one time. It's quite shady with some of the bed getting limited overhead sun for a couple hours. The tree is a redbud. Please be kind. We live in 6A (kansas city area).

In the picture there is a trellis that has trumpet vine and clematis. It has grown up into the tree which looks beautiful from the window above.

So what would you do?

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[Last edited by chili - Mar 15, 2016 12:15 PM (+)]
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Name: Marie
Brigham City, Utah (Zone 5b)
Cottage Gardener Dahlias Hibiscus Region: Utah
Mar 14, 2016 8:05 PM CST
That looks like a wonderful place to work with. If you could, to save your backs, I would get a crew in there to clean out all the dead and weeds. It sounds that you have a good idea of where to start. Definitely hosta and fern, goats beard in the back. Chocolate Joe Pie Weed is a great contrasting color and has late fall white tiny flowers that form little balls that almost looks like foam. Heuchera have so many leaf colors and are not invasive. Helleborus are so beautiful in the early spring and the leaves are beautiful all year.
There is a shade gardening forum that I would go to for questions and suggestions.
Happy Gardening. I want to see the finished project.
One other thing. Mulch is a great weed deterrent and you need less water.

Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Hibiscus Daylilies Xeriscape
Hostas Roses Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Mar 15, 2016 6:30 AM CST
What an inviting starting point you have to work with! I love the beautiful stone walls and terracing. I would suggest adding some shrubs (to add bones for the garden) in addition to the perennials Marie suggested.

I personally love rhododendrons and have had the best success with 'Helsinki University' and 'Scintillation' in my windy, hilltop zone 6b gardens. Both have pink flowers.

The fallen leaves dropped by nearby trees can remain in place under rhododendrons, no cleanup needed, as in a natural woodland setting. The leaves help to cool the roots and maintain moisture in the soil, as might be desirable in your raised (terraced) garden. I think that rhododendrons would make a nice backdrop for the hostas and other plants Marie suggested.

Here is an example from my garden:
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The hostas in the photo are 'Paul's Glory' and the plant on the far right is a Siberian iris, which might be an easy-care choice for you too.
Carol H. Sandt

“...while the self-reflexive ego thinks by means of noting differences and drawing distinctions, spiritual awareness 'thinks' by an innate perception of kinship, of belonging to the whole." -- Cynthia Bourgeault
Name: Amanda
KC metro area, Missouri (Zone 6a)
Roses Zinnias Region: Missouri Cat Lover Dog Lover Bookworm
Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: United States of America Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Mar 17, 2016 7:41 PM CST
Welcome! Lynn!!

All of the suggestions are great so far. Columbine is another great plant that requires little to no care, bleeding hearts also. If you want some more shrubs witch hazel is another good one for some shade.

Have you been to Powell Gardens yet? It's an awesome botanical garden east of KC about 30 minutes. They have a woodland garden that you can get a lot of ideas from.

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