Ask a Question forum: New Memorial Garden for volunteer fire department, suggestions on what to plant.

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Central Illinois, Zone 5b/6a
vollychief
Jul 17, 2017 12:14 PM CST
We are planning to make some exterior improvements at my volunteer fire department. One project is the landscaping and we need to ask for help.

Plans are to start on the grass plot first. It measures roughly 20' x 20' and it gets full sun. On the north, west and south sides it is bordered by parking lot or street. The east side is a sidewalk between the project area and the firehouse. Most if it is flat except for the north side, where it drops down to the street level.

Currently in the plot is a flag pole (unfortunately not centered) a grey granite memorial bench 2' x 4' and a light red, not really pink (the color is from memory, it might be a sandstone color too) memorial boulder, maybe 3' tall and 2' wide. I will be talking to the local monument company next week about moving the boulder and putting a base under it and moving the bench. The boulder is in memory of a town resident that was on the fire dept. at one time, but it was well before my time. His son was on the fire dept. (passed away 4 years ago, a cause not related to being on the fire dept) and if possible, his name will be added to the boulder.

The boulder will be moved to the southwest corner. The bench is on the north side, but will be moved to the west some to make it more symmetrical. Maybe even to the northwest corner and set at an angle.

Long term plans are to move the flagpole where it is centered in the plot, or replace it with a new one centered it in the plot; add a bench on the sidewalk, maybe do additional plantings. We have also kicked around the idea of installing pavers. There is a stone, 3' wide, 3' tall, with the department name and Maltese cross engraved on it. It is at the corner of the sidewalk, northeast corner of the plot. It will probably stay where it is for the time being. We hope to add additional landscaping, plantings, as time and funds allow. Both in the plot and along the north side of the firehouse.

We are looking for plant suggestions around the boulder and maybe for the bench. We don't want to over grow the boulder, but it needs something around it. We are thinking of perennials, some maintenance is expected, but not something that will take a lot of time, drought tolerant (or can put up with not being watered on a regular basis after it is established), and a mix that will bloom most of the year. We aren't particular on the color. For height, I'm guessing no more than a 1' to 1.5' tall?

At least that is what we are thinking. We are definitely open to suggestions and appreciate all of the help!
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Jul 17, 2017 12:26 PM CST
Welcome to NGA, @vollychief .

That sounds like a wonderful project -- the township where I live has a volunteer fire dept and now I'm thinking it would be really nice to do something like that for them!

My first thought is that day lilies might be a good choice, but since I mostly grow vegetables I think I'll defer any further suggestions to others here. Best wishes for your memory garden, and I hope you'll show us some photos of your results Smiling
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Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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crawgarden
Jul 17, 2017 2:44 PM CST
This would be a nice choice, fairly mx free and does not require much water.

Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue')

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Faassen's Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii 'Six Hills Giant')

There are lots of sedums that will meet your requirements
Stonecrop (Hylotelephium spectabile 'Neon')

Mix early/mid and late Daffodils in and you should have interest spring through fall

Check with your county extension service, they will have a master gardener group that you could contact, perhaps they would take it on as a project.
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[Last edited by crawgarden - Jul 17, 2017 2:57 PM (+)]
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Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Jul 18, 2017 5:49 AM CST
What a wonderful project. But are there deer in the area? They can ruin any landscaping. But some plants are nice and deer don't like much.

So regardless of deer, I would suggest :

1. A small specimen tree slightly sunward. A Korean dogwood would be good and on I have is 25 years old and only 15' high.

2. Under that, Bishops Weed and ferns. The Bishop's Weed will spread but not past restraints, and Japanese Painted ferns will also spread slowly.
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They would love the shade under a small tree.

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