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Help me plan my front flower beds

gtpeach

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#1
I spent Saturday morning doing the "heavy" weeding of the front flower bed that was completely overgrown with all kinds of fun weeds. All that's planted there at the moment is a couple of pushes and a tree. I like the bushes and think they'd work out well to plant more around. Only problem is that there's a paradise tree growing in the middle of at least one of them, and some other weedy tree thing in the other one. The only luck I've had getting rid of paradise trees has involved copious amounts of consistently applied round-up to cut portions of the tree. But I'm thinking that would probably also likely kill the bush. Any ideas for going about killing the tree that saves the bush? Or will the bush need to be sacrificed for the better good of getting that tree gone for good?

Also, what are your favorite perennials? I'm hoping to do some planting in the fall and want to make a list of what I need to keep an eye out for.
 

kms

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#2
Cut off the bottom of a 2-liter pop bottle and use it as a funnel to spray herbicide onto the cut end of the tree.

I don’t know how your zone compares to mine, but I like bleeding hearts in the springtime and hollyhocks in the summer.
 

gtpeach

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#3
Cut off the bottom of a 2-liter pop bottle and use it as a funnel to spray herbicide onto the cut end of the tree.

I don’t know how your zone compares to mine, but I like bleeding hearts in the springtime and hollyhocks in the summer.
Bleeding hearts on my mom's favorite. They'd probably do okay. She has a few at her house.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
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#4
As a general rule, you'll probably want to plant shorter plants in front and taller ones in back. But you already knew that. Have perennials strategically placed at regular intervals but reserve areas particularly in the front for annual plantings that can change each year.
 
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#5
Depending on the type of bush you have there that the tree is growing in the middle of, it might be best to get somebody in there and just cut down and grind the stump/roots of that paradise tree. IIRC, they spread easily and can be quite the pain to get rid of. Unless the bush is particularly beautiful or old or significant, most bushes and shrubs can be replaced pretty easily.

You are in Virginia, correct? I'd go for some azaleas and rhododendron. Both should do pretty good down there and the rhododendron in particular can get pretty large with some nice flowers on them throughout most of the summer. Plus they are an evergreen so even in the winter they should look nice.

I like the bleeding hearts suggestion - I transplanted a few into our backyard a couple of years ago. They grew fine but never flowered and I just figured it just gets too cold for them here in the winter for them to really thrive but then this spring they bloomed like crazy!

I like common daylilies in our gardens as they are very low maintenance and have flowers throughout much of the summer. They are cheap too! Search Craigslist in your area around the end of the fall and you might be able to find people who want to thin theirs out and are just giving away bulbs (or you can be like my mom who used to stop the car to dig them up out of ditches in the country and take them home to plant them). Once in a while I'll buy a couple asiatic or tiger lillies and mix those in as well. They don't spread as fast as the daylilies but they have much more vibrant colors.

I also like snapdragons for the flower beds. I don't think they are technically considered a perennial here in my area (Zone 6) but I bought a couple flats a few years back and they've returned every year since. They've slowly dwindled a bit each year so I'm on the lookout for a garden center selling some more this year but I bet they'd thrive down there.
 

gtpeach

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#6
I definitely love flowering plants more than the regular bushes. And I'm not super concerned about the bush. There's a guy that does landscaping that lives up the street from me, but I feel like it would be in bad form to ask for his help at the moment since he's kind of in the middle of a zoning action. Hopefully we'll get that resolved, and then I'll feel okay calling him and at least pricing it out.

My other concern with using the round-up is just general contamination. How long would I need to wait before I replanted anything in those areas? I'm pulling the big weeds up by the roots, but I'm sure some of them will be recurring, and I'd like to take care of as many of those as possible for good. I'm not so concerned about the small weeds.

Which brings me to the other point. Anything I plant probably should be fairly weed resistant and resilient. I'm not super great at maintenance, so I need things that will grow even if I fail to be diligent in putting a lot of effort into them.
 
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#7
Not sure how Virginia compares to Texas, but my philosophy is to use very hardy plants since I tend to not have a green thumb. So my preferred plants are:

Bulb flowers- daffodils for the spring, amaryllis for all year. I had a single amaryllis bulb when we bought our previous house; I split the bulbs up a few times and had dozens all over the yard. Totally carefree; they just grow.
Lantana- It's kind of a weed around here, grows wild, but it does flower pretty constantly during the growing season, even in very dry conditions. I cut it back to the ground in winter and it grows bigger each season.
Sage (salvia)- pretty flowers, nice aroma, pretty hardy.
Roses- They seem to grow pretty well for me. My favorite is a variety called Belinda's Dream; it grows into 6-8 foot tall bushes with dozens, even hundreds of simultaneous pink blooms. Sometimes roses get blackspot; when it gets bad we treat it and the bush comes right back.
Daisies/Black-Eyed Susans. Again, they're basically weeds to they tend to grow well with minimal care.
 
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#11
Not sure how Virginia compares to Texas, but my philosophy is to use very hardy plants since I tend to not have a green thumb. So my preferred plants are:

Bulb flowers- daffodils for the spring, amaryllis for all year. I had a single amaryllis bulb when we bought our previous house; I split the bulbs up a few times and had dozens all over the yard. Totally carefree; they just grow.
Lantana- It's kind of a weed around here, grows wild, but it does flower pretty constantly during the growing season, even in very dry conditions. I cut it back to the ground in winter and it grows bigger each season.
Sage (salvia)- pretty flowers, nice aroma, pretty hardy.
Roses- They seem to grow pretty well for me. My favorite is a variety called Belinda's Dream; it grows into 6-8 foot tall bushes with dozens, even hundreds of simultaneous pink blooms. Sometimes roses get blackspot; when it gets bad we treat it and the bush comes right back.
Daisies/Black-Eyed Susans. Again, they're basically weeds to they tend to grow well with minimal care.
I had never heard of amaryllis so I looked it up and that's a really pretty flower. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it will work outside in my area but maybe I can make one work in a pot that I can bring inside in the fall and winter. I've been wanting to try more indoor flowering plants so maybe I'll look for one of these.

I agree that sage is great and very low maintenance. I use that in quite a few different spots in our flower beds, basically as a space filler and it seems to do great in just about any setting. I have a few plantings of it where they will grow 3'+ wide and they start to spread out/fall over and show a bare woody spot in the middle so once a summer I usually cut it back and it will usually bloom again for the rest of the summer.
 
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#13
I love hosta for larger planting beds. There are many different varieties. They come in different sizes and colors and come up every year. Mixing in some annuals or other colorful flowers is always a nice look.
 
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