Landscape Design forum: Raised Flowerbed is Done, Help me Fill it!

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Name: Chihaya Vedha
Owego, NY (Zone 5b)
Call Me Chi
Feb 16, 2017 9:26 AM CST
Hello everyone!

The name is Chihaya, most call me Chi, and my husband and I are new to gardening. We purchased our first home in winter of 2015 and during the summer of 2016 we decided to do something about the 'garden' in front of the house. It was set up by the previous owner and was basically in the drainage ditch. It was mostly chives (which we successfully transplanted out back where we grew a bunch of herbs and some pumpkin for the first time). We wanted to do something to make the drainage ditch more useful and opted to create a large raised flowerbed. We did research, bought stone, gravel, dirt, a circular saw, shovels, gardening fabric (to go between the wall and dirt), the whole nine yards. We ended up with 120ft total at around 3ft 8 inches (it's a bit shorter at the front because our property slopes downward so we made it wrap a bit and installed the drainage so everything will go downhill. It came out really well considering we have no masonry skills. But now we have a new challenge, what do we put in it?

For Halloween we made it a cemetery, but we really want colorful flowers and some sort of arrangement. With zero gardening experience (we are still shocked we grew huge pumpkins and a bunch of veggies and herbs), I'm reaching out to you more experienced gardeners. What would you recommend? We live in New York, today (2/16/17) it is a wonderful 24 degrees out and snowing. The weather will be clearing up soon, but I've read online I can start growing from seeds indoors and then transplant everything once the fear of frost has passed. I need all the advice I can get. What flowers would people recommend? Patterns and layouts? Help me create a beautiful raised garden bed :D

Oh, we did make a video showing the creation of the garden (since our family/friends couldn't understand what we were doing).I'm really hoping everyone can give us advice/recommendations. Since I'm a new member, I can't seem to link the youtube video. I did attach a few images though.

Thumb of 2017-02-16/chihaya/4e4773

Thumb of 2017-02-16/chihaya/1a54fe

Thumb of 2017-02-16/chihaya/b18244

Thumb of 2017-02-16/chihaya/edfaf5

Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam
Name: Sean B
Riverhead, NY (Zone 7a)
Plays in the sandbox Xeriscape Herbs The WITWIT Badge Composter Garden Photography
Feb 16, 2017 4:29 PM CST
Hi Chi. Welcome! I love your neck of the woods. Corning is one of my favorite places in NY.

Congrats on the beautiful new planter. Before you get to spending too much money on new plants, there are a few things you'll want to check out: drainage, soil quality, and sun. As for drainage, once spring arrives you'll be able to see if you have any puddling. You probably won't, but it's good to make sure. What soil did you use? If it has a good mix of garden soil, then no worries. Yet you might want to get it tested to make sure it's not to acidic or alkaline (aka sweet). Again if the soil was purchased and of good quality, no worries. As for the sun, consider how many hours of direct sun it get a day, and take into consideration if it's south-facing (stronger sun) or north-facing.

For your design, I'm one who would council that you map it out; although here you will find that some are planners and some are plunkers. Take into consideration your personal taste. For a more formal look, symmetry is the way to go. For a more relaxed or cottage style, asymmetrical design is better. As it's the front of your house, you'll likely want year-round interest, which means that you'll need a good bit of it (at least 50-60%) to be evergreen or at least to boast some "winter interest" on the tag, such as red-twig dogwood (a beauty). Consider mature size when planting, or be prepared to regularly move things around, which is fine as it's accessibly and you folk are young. You'll likely be buying small plants, so for the first years, you have holes to fill, which you can easily do with bulbs or annuals.

Don't expect your garden to look instantly fabulous. The general rule is a three-year start: the first is the sleeper year, as roots develop, then comes the creeper year, and then the leaper. The best place to start your considerations is with what you can find in your local nurseries and what your neighbors have growing that you like. If you don't know what it is but like the look of a plant, take a picture, and you can post it on this site and someone will identify it. There are some masters at that here. When you do get to planting, it's often a good idea to plant in odd-numbered groups. Also consider if you want complementary colors (consider the colors next to each other on the rainbow), or strikingly diverse ones.

I hope this helps. You have a wonderful canvas, and a wide swath of possibilities. Have fun, and don't be afraid to lose by trial and error. So goes gardening. Smiling
Name: Alice
Camano Island, WA (Zone 8b)
Feb 24, 2017 8:00 AM CST
That's a beautiful planter! Wow! I am with Whitebeard on all of their advice. Remember to put some plants in that look good in winter. Then put what you want. It looks like you could plant any color for blooms since you aren't right up against a house. Often, flowers that are strong colors look good together, or colors that are pastel look good together. Or, a bunch of related colors. Annuals can be fun to add blooms over a long period but they need replacing each year...not a problem if you enjoy that. And you can change them every year.

There are so many options, so what I suggest is to go to the library and take out a bunch of books on garden design that have garden plans and pictures (or at least drawings) of what the gardens look like. Just flip through the designs. You will find that you are very drawn to certain ones and others leave you cold. You can take one you like and modify it, or you can figure out what it is that you like about the designs that you find attractive, and you can use those concepts to plan your planter. Just make sure the plants are good for your zone. All good garden design books will tell you which plants are good in your zone. Then go to the local nursery, which will carry appropriate plants, and see what you can find that works for your design.

It'll be great fun, and if you take a picture every year, you might be surprised at how much it changes over time. Plus, I want to see the pics as it develops. Smiling

Name: Connie
Edmonton, Alberta area (Canada (Zone 3a)
Cat Lover Butterflies Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Daylilies Plays in the sandbox
Dragonflies Ferns Region: Canadian Peonies Bookworm Clematis
Mar 8, 2017 5:53 PM CST
Wow, that's a huge planter; and beautifully done. Congrats! Now, to fill it. What a challenge. I would have to repeat Alice's suggestion. Do lots of research. Look at a whole lot of design catalogue and Google it looking for similar large planters. It will be very important to pay attention to balance in size (large planter, large plants!). And Sean's comment on winter interest is also right on the mark. Careful consideration for whatever you put in there; make sure it will also look good in the winter.

Please post pictures after you have planted!
Name: aud/odd
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
Mar 12, 2017 8:23 PM CST
Do you have deer?

Finding out what kind of critters you have is going to also dictate what you plant.

As has been suggested definitely start with evergreen something that impressive will be a waste to look at empty. six months of the year. I like hardscape too. At the point is where. I would put in a hardscape or Lantern, a beautiful statue, bird bath and some accent lights. Easy these days with good solar light. Something that wows.

I would start buying a as many Spring bulbs that l
could get my hands on. That will be your big Spring flower show.

Asiatic Lily Bulbs
Oriental Lily Bulbs

Good color evergreens ......
_Azalea & Rhododendron... Plus. Beautiful flowers late Spring
_Blue Star Juniper
-Grey Owl Juniper
I am a symmetry so I would try to repeat the same shrub on either end and another repeat in the center.

I have also found I can do a mix if I do a strong ground cover of the same plant i.e. Lamium , Vinca, Creeping Phlox, golden jenny, .

Those. are my suggestions. Most are. deer.resistance but if you have deer they will eat anything and everything if they are hungry and when you get up the next morning. your planter will be empty.

[Last edited by Cinta - Mar 12, 2017 8:26 PM (+)]
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