Northeast Gardening forum→Easiest max-color flowers each New York season for backyard?

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TreeSong
Sep 2, 2018 3:08 PM CST
I'm trying to help a family member with backyard landscaping issues. I grew up in the Northeast but live in N California and do most of my gardening there where conditions are milder, so really appreciate your advice.

There are planter boxes in the rear of the yard and planting space on the right side of the yard. See the attached landscape map for planter boxes Left corner, Right corner and middle Bed A and Bed B. Bed A, Bed B and Right Corner and Right side of the yard get the most sunlight. We're looking for the easiest care best-color-bang-for-the-square-inch flowers and shrubs for each area.

Up to now Bed B has been used for early, mid and late tulips planted in November and blooming April, May and June and for Wave Petunias planted in June and blooming June, July and August.

Questions:
1) Would Giant Pansies planted early September in Bed A bloom until at least mid-October?
2) What would be the best date this fall for planting new tulips?
3) Any other flowering plants you'd suggest for these beds?
4) Any colorful shrub you recommend for Be A in the rear in front of the ivy fence?
5) Would you recommend Purple Cabbage plants for winter in Bed B and when would you planted them? How long would they offer color?

Location & weather: New York City with cold freezing winters, plenty rainfall and humidity.
Sun: backyard gets AM Eastern sun and late AM and midday Southeast sun, and rear and right rear of the backyard get Western sun end of day.

Sincerely appreciate your advice!

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[Last edited by TreeSong - Sep 2, 2018 3:11 PM (+)]
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Name: Marilyn
CT (Zone 5b)
Birds Daylilies Dog Lover Garden Art Heucheras
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RobinD
Sep 2, 2018 5:20 PM CST
Pansies should do fine in NYC until late Oct-early Nov. Does your family member want to plant perennials or only annuals? Million Bells are great bloomers all summer with lots of color. I also like angelonia for long season of bloom & nice height...marigolds never stop blooming, & come in a lot of different sizes......dahlias are nice for late summer & fall......Bulbs can be planted for the next 2 months in NYC.....As for shrubs, there are butterfly bushes that have a long bloom season, or wintergreen holly that has nice red berries in the winter......

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TreeSong
Sep 6, 2018 8:26 AM CST
Thank you very much RobinD for the very helpful suggestions, much appreciated. They are open to both annuals and perennials. Million Bells, Giant Wave Petunias and various Salvia are among my favorites in N California. Good to know Pansies will last that long into the fall in NY.

1) Which on the list are perennials and which other perennials might you suggest?

2) Does it make any difference when you plant bulbs between now and 2 months from now (end of first week of November)?

3) Bed A in the back as well as some areas on the Right side of the concrete patio could be used for shrubs. Given that there's dark green ivy on the rear fence already, which shrubs do you think would accent nicest against it and in back of the flowers that will be in Bed B? I think a bright-green low evergreen shrub 2-3 ft will contrast best against the dark green ivy.

4) What would you suggest planting in the large L and R planter boxes (about 4' x 4')? The L one is in shade and the R one gets good sun. I'm thinking a nice big Hydrangea in the R box, which will give foliage early spring to late fall and flowers in spring or summer, and for the L box a smaller but very colorful Hydrangea to bring some color into that corner by the Japanese Maple.

5) Bed B could be used for changing flowers:
April-June: Tulips
June-September: Giant Wave Petunias, Million Bells, Salvia, etc.
September-early November: Giant Pansies and which others do you think best?
Nov: Purple Cabbage???
[Last edited by TreeSong - Sep 6, 2018 9:54 AM (+)]
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Name: Marilyn
CT (Zone 5b)
Birds Daylilies Dog Lover Garden Art Heucheras
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RobinD
Sep 6, 2018 1:03 PM CST
All the flowers I mentioned are annuals, except dahlias may be perennial in NYC. Some of my favorite perennials are phlox, Culver's Root, daylilies, iris, and OT lilies...actually I like all lilies!
I don't think it makes any difference when the spring bulbs are planted, but perhaps middle of Oct. would be my choice.
I would plant low growing little leaved rhododendrons against the ivy.....they come in shades of pink....& hydrangea is always nice!

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TreeSong
Sep 15, 2018 8:45 AM CST
RobinD Thank you very much for the excellent suggestions. I think small-leaved rhododendrons would offer nice color in front of the ivy fence.

Is it possible to find small-leaved rhododendrons which will bloom at different times so that they could alternate early and late-blooming plants for color over a larger period of time? Would it be easier to find early- and late-blooming Hydrangea for this area in front of the ivy, or early- and late-blooming Azaleas? This is the strategy I like to follow with tulips or other bulbs - a mix of early- to mid- to late-blooming so that there's colors for months.

I also love lilies. For the flower bed B where bulbs would be planted in fall and wave petunias in early summer and pansies in late summer, do you think lilies would work better than tulips for a long early-mid-late blooming period?

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TreeSong
Sep 15, 2018 8:50 AM CST
Also appreciate your advice for what to plant around the front tree (see photo). This area gets plenty of sun especially in the afternoon. Would the tree roots allow anything to grow there? Would be great to add easy-care shrubs with color from either leaves and/or flowers to fill in the area around the tree.

1) Which shrubs would you recommend?
2) Do you recommend adding soil to raise the soft soil level a bit and if so, would it be necessary to place a plastic 6-8 in. barrier ring around the base of the tree trunk to prevent rot there from raised soil?


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Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Spiders! Plant and/or Seed Trader Winter Sowing Hybridizer Peonies
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bxncbx
Sep 15, 2018 9:01 AM CST
TreeSong is that a city-planted tree? If so, be advised that they can come at any time to dig up the tree or remove your plantings. But throwing some marigolds or petunias in there to add some color would be nice.

If it's your tree I'd be sure to check that raising them soil won't kill the tree. I'd try planting drought tolerant annuals there first since they won't develop deep root systems. You can also plant spring bulbs but I'd stick to low growing ones like crocus so people aren't tempted to pick the flowers.

Once the tree is well-established you could try planting perennials like daylilies that will provide color but aren't very deep rooted. But if it's a city tree try not to plant anything you really care about there. The city can & will destroy your plantings (and even the tree) if they need/want to.
Name: Marilyn
CT (Zone 5b)
Birds Daylilies Dog Lover Garden Art Heucheras
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RobinD
Sep 15, 2018 9:07 AM CST
Whoa? Is that the DOT that does that? My nephew's wife is the COO of the DOT for NYC., & I will tell her that's not acceptable....my nephew is into gardening, so she should know folks love their plants!
Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Spiders! Plant and/or Seed Trader Winter Sowing Hybridizer Peonies
Garden Procrastinator Container Gardener Composter Organic Gardener Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
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bxncbx
Sep 15, 2018 9:16 AM CST
Forgot to add that your relative's yard has the same exposures as mine! In my backyard I grow daylilies, roses, iris, campanula, dianthus, columbine, lilies and peonies.

My roses are drift roses I won in the NARR raffle a couple of years ago. They are in a space similar to your L box but my apple tree is further away. That space mostly gets early morning sun and then maybe an hour in the afternoon in the summer. They are doing great & are reblooming nicely now after a great showing in Spring.
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Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Spiders! Plant and/or Seed Trader Winter Sowing Hybridizer Peonies
Garden Procrastinator Container Gardener Composter Organic Gardener Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
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bxncbx
Sep 15, 2018 9:21 AM CST
RobinD I don't think it's the DOT that does that. I'm not sure which city agency it is. But we had/have a million tree project and they have planted trees where they shouldn't & trees that aren't good for the space. So they will come back and dig up trees without notice. They are also adding their own plantings in some places to try and decrease storm water runoff in areas that flood.

It's like tree-trimming to prevent downed wires. They don't care how the tree looks or even if it is fatally damaged by their cuts. They just do their job. Shrug!
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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Newyorkrita
Sep 15, 2018 11:09 AM CST
I feel that the tree you want to plant in the very corner of your backyard which you were asking about in another post will turn you nicely sunny backyard into a very shady area were you will be limited in what will grow there.

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TreeSong
Oct 4, 2018 12:07 PM CST
Newyorkrita said:I feel that the tree you want to plant in the very corner of your backyard which you were asking about in another post will turn you nicely sunny backyard into a very shady area were you will be limited in what will grow there.


Thank you Newyorkrita for the concern - not to worry, we decided not to plant in the very corner but instead to plant a colorful shrub in the corner. The hedge trees will be planted along the side of the yard and won't shade the flower beds.

Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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Newyorkrita
Oct 4, 2018 5:36 PM CST
TreeSong said:

Thank you Newyorkrita for the concern - not to worry, we decided not to plant in the very corner but instead to plant a colorful shrub in the corner. The hedge trees will be planted along the side of the yard and won't shade the flower beds.



Excellent idea.

FrankMosher
Oct 5, 2018 1:31 PM CST
Need help with un-ripened tomatoes??
While a little while ago, I was kinda bragging about being late in planting my toms, and kinda laughing that everyone is pulling theirs! Well, it appears the joke may be on me, in that we have a frost coming tonight, and I am forced to pick everything, can't cover. So any suggestions?? I just brought these in and placed them in a garden tray, and there is another basket to be dealt with, and as many more, yet to be picked. There are only three types, and almost all are almost full size, but still green. They are: Vine ripening plum tomato, grape tomato, both from saved supermarket seeds, and a few "big" something, which I bought two plants for.
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Been a while since I have had a fair tomato crop, and this one far exceeded my expectations. I can do the brown paper bag thing, (not my favorite), the window sill thing, and perhaps I can leave them under basement lights, or even leave some down in my unheated greenhouse. I know there is a lot of tomato expertise on this site, can you help?? Thank you.

Name: Marilyn
CT (Zone 5b)
Birds Daylilies Dog Lover Garden Art Heucheras
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RobinD
Oct 5, 2018 3:44 PM CST
I like pickled green tomatoes....should keep 6 weeks in the fridge.

FrankMosher
Oct 5, 2018 4:09 PM CST
TreeSong: Let me offer a suggestion for your kin in NY. First off, in the Spring when Costco starts advertising plants, delivered to your kin's door bareroot, let me respectfully submit the following suggestions: Tell her to buy all the "Carpet Roses" she can afford! Roughly, 6 for $50. delivered to her door. Red, Pink, Coral, Apple Blossom, Yellow, etc., They will bloom in only half-day or less sun, and bloom constantly from late June through to freezing! Put some down by that boxed tree! No sprays, no disease, nothing but beautiful blooms! Also, Costco offers re-blooming Azaleas and Rhodos. Walymart usually has some "Manderine Orange" Azaleas for around $10. ea., You can fill in annuals to match whatever your kin likes, but if your kin starts with my suggestions-great continuous blooming start!!
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Oct 8, 2018 12:53 PM CST
All good ideas.
Tulips can be planted any time from late september till the ground freezes- you just want to get them in the ground when the buls are shipped/before they send up shoots. Make sure you bury them deep- 6" min.
Cabages can also go in the ground late september through Halloween and will provide color through December. They will tolerate some light frost w/o any trouble. They won't get through a week in the teens, but otherwise they're pretty hard core when it comes to cold. I have had plants that make it all the way through till the next spring, but by then they're pretty ugly- stringy stems pointing in wonky directions or laid over sideways- but they are tough as nails.
The plural of anecdote is not data.

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TreeSong
Oct 15, 2018 3:41 PM CST
@FrankMosher and @Turbosaurus, thank you for the great suggestions.

@FrankMosher:
1) Around when does Costco have those Carpet Roses? I'll set a reminder right for the date right now.
2) Do the Carpet Roses come back year after year, or must they be re-planted every spring?
3) About how many plants do you think would take to fill in the raised brick box around the front tree? (you are referring to the brick box around the front tree here, right: The thread "What to plant around the base of this tree to add color?" in Northeast Gardening forum - not one of the wooden bed boxes in the backyard, right?).
4) About how far apart do you plant the Carpet Roses?

@Turbosaurus, first time I planted tulips in NYC many years ago I did a thorough job with proper depth, bone meal and a layer of mulch on top. I mixed early, mid and late blooming tulips so the bloom lasted almost 2 months. Tulips came up for well over 10 years. I just can't remember how far apart to plant them - about how many inches apart would you say? Can you really cram the in there - like 2-3 in. apart?
[Last edited by TreeSong - Oct 15, 2018 3:43 PM (+)]
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TreeSong
Oct 15, 2018 3:58 PM CST
Have a bit of a dilemma with the low fence area on the Right side of the photo and drawing because we're getting conflicting advice from different garden centers.

Two garden centers are saying you can plant Emerald Green Arbor Vitae OR Green Giant Arbor Vitae in that area, with Emerald Green growing slower and thus providing cover more slowly, but being easier to handle long term with less trimming; and Green Giant growing much faster, but growing much taller and requiring more trimming long term.

The 3rd garden center is saying that the Green Giant will require too much room for roots - even more than 4 ft wide at the surface - and the Emerald Green might not have enough light (even though that area gets at over 5 hours sunlight in winter and more like 7-8 hours in summer. They are saying this based on photos not on in-person inspection.

Who is right?
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Oct 15, 2018 8:39 PM CST
there isn't a lot of space. Have you thought about going vertical?
clematis (bloom late may through end of june) and trumpet vine? the fence is there already... you'll get little privacy, and blooms from may till August.
The plural of anecdote is not data.

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