Monday, May 9, 2011

Bed advice, please - and a slight change of focus

I don't have any photos, but when I moved into my house, the below bed (a) did not have that monkey grass border, or any border at all between that bed and the ever-encroaching grass, (b) was home to only a few very sickly and sunscalded azaleas and a crippled boxwood that was beyond repair. We moved the azaleas to the backyard and cut the boxwood remnant to the ground. Someone then suggested I plant lorapetalums because they were pretty cheap and could take the heat and drought. This same someone gave me a TON of monkey grass to use for a border...

I planted perennials in between and around the shrubs, and it worked ok for a few years, but now the monkey grass and the shrubs are totally crowding out the perennials and it looks like a mess. So, we're expanding the bed out to the sidewalk. Then I can have the evergreen (or ever-purple) shrubs for interest in the winter, and perennials in front of them in the summer. Here's my dilemma: we're obviously going to dig up the monkey grass, but I don't really want to reuse it at the new front of the bed. It's just too tall and too thick and vigorous. I'd like something shorter and gentler, something like catmint but evergreen, or creeping thyme but bigger. Any ideas?? The new border plant will need to be able to handle extreme heat and drought.


On an unrelated note... I'm going to be expanding the focus of the blog just a bit to include some craft/diy posts. I probably won't rename it but may change the subtitle...
Here is my childhood desk that I recently refinished for Clara. It was even featured on a modern children's design blog!

Hope you all have a great week! -Ginger


Dirt Princess said...

I'm doing a few other things on my blog besides don't worry :-). Love the desk.

Hmmm a border. Depends on the look you want. Daylilies work well, and multiply pretty fast, and they are hardy. I also like phlox (the old fashion type0. They are low to the ground. Lona at Hocking Hills has them, and they look great. If you get some shade, you could always use ajuga. It is a good color and stays low to the ground

Randy Emmitt said...

Monkey grass sends out rhizomes and is hard to get rid of. Be sure to get them or in a few years they will be back. We don't have a lot of sun here so I'm not sure what to recommend. Looking forward to the crafty stuff.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

I love the desk, it will be used for many years. You will look back on how little she was when you fixed it up and have a hard time believing so many years have passed.
I agree with Randy on the difficulty on removing your grass....good luck. Catmint reseeds, keep that in mind. It is low growing, but what about Delosperma cooperii? Ice plant. The color of the flowers would echo the Loropetalum. Or Dianthus, spring bloomer and then that cool blue/green the fragrance of the bloom. Ajugas can take more sun than you think, especially the Burgundy Glow one.... pink/white/burgundy/green foliage. Blue flower stalks in the spring. Last idea, Portulaca-- there are some double blooms that are pretty, they can grow on concrete (almost) and will reseed in a civilized manner.
good luck!

Darla said...

One ting about can prune them at anytime of the year to get the shape you desire...a pink creeping phlox would look great as a could even add a few rocks for it to cascade over.....:) I look forward to DIY posts! How is baby Clara?

Lisa Blair said...

I like your idea of expanding the bed all the way to the sidewalk. Then, you'll have great space to work with. I really like the loropetalums there. Their color coordinates well with the color of your house. Since the space is so long, I would think about plant groupings to break up the bed a bit.

If you did another lower growing, evergreen shrub in front of the loropetalums (maybe an Indian Hawthorne?) then you could use that grouping as the "anchor" in the bed. You would then have a bit of space in front of the shrubs to do perennials all the way to the sidewalk... and you wouldn't need an evergreen border. Would that leave you enough room to the left of the loropetalums to do a full on, large perennials-only bed?

Oh, and I picture is worth a thousand words! I am really understanding of what you are trying to do here.

Becca's Dirt said...

Love the desk. I will also be looking forward to DIY stuff. All us gardeners are into all kinds of stuff. I like your idea on enlarging the garden to the sidewalk. I don't know if I'd put a border plant since it is coming to the sidewalk. You will be happy to have all that new space to garden in near the front door. CAn't wait to see what you do.

I bet Clara is getting big now.

Shady Gardener said...

Looks like a need for seasonal color in that bed! :-)

Cute desk - isn't it fun to think you Have it?

Dave said...

Hey Ginger! You won the contest over at my blog. Just send me your mailing address to (thehomegarden at and I'll have everything shipped to you.

Also for a plant suggestion look up santolina. It may be an option for you.