Saturday, February 26, 2011

Laying the foundation

Sketch of the front foundation plantings

 As my dear friend suggested I have made a sketch showing the lay out of the plants I have already planted and are planning on planting. The right side is shown in the post below while the left is yet to be completed also shown below.  I have chosen these plants for several reasons: fairly carefree (a little pruning and fertilizer), year round color, and scent.

 On the right side I have chosen pink knockout roses. These are about the easiest roses to care for and they really put on a show of color from spring through fall. They can grow large here in the south if you let them but are so easy to keep pruned to the height you want. Between those I have 'Becky' shasta daisies. I love this flower and have several large clumps around my garden. They multiply quickly without getting out of control. Long bloom time. 'Becky' is the best choice for the south because it stands up really well in the humidity. I have other shasta daisies that droop their petals and leaves but not so with 'Becky'. It is also pretty drought tolerant while other must be constantly watered. Then in front of the roses I have nepta 'Walkers Low'. This has a wonderful spreading graceful habit. It spills onto the walkway and has a wonderful fragrance. It's lovely gray blue foliage and lavender flowers bloom summer into fall, also drought tolerate. I look forward to posting pictures when all are in bloom this year to show you. All three of these colors look great together and you have constant color for most of the year instead of boring green shrubs all year.

 For the left side, I chose tea olives, white azaleas, low compact gardenias, and daylily 'Happy Returns' as well as annuals around the fountain. Tea olives have the most wonderful delicious sweet scent like orange blossoms and jasmine that wafts in the air. The flowers are very tiny and most people can't believe that such a strong scent can come from such tiny little flowers. They grow in all parts of South Carolina. They are dense evergreen shrubs that have slow to moderate growth. I wanted some evergreen shrubs on the left side for winter interest. So I am also planting a few white flowering azaleas. These are evergreen as well, display flowers in spring, require a little acid fertilizer after they have flowered and pruning only if wanting to keep a certain size. The low compact gardenias have more of a spreading habit but stay compact. Again these are evergreen for year round color and have wonderful fragrant white flowers. Perfect planted near windows, entries, or patios to enjoy the fragrance. All these plants will be planted in the same bed. The azaleas and gardenias are acid loving plants that are perfect for each other (tea olives are not picky about soil but grow best in a soil with lots of organic matter).  I chose white flowering plants as well to balance out the white shasta daisies on the right side of the house. I also have white trim and like the fact that the white also ties into the house. The azaleas give me white flowers in the spring where the gardenias flower in the summer. Planted already in this bed are the 'Happy Returns' daylilies. They too are carefree, drought tolerate, and long bloom time. I like 'Happy Returns' color as it is more a pale yellow rather than the yellow orange of the popular 'Stella Dora' and they are fragrant. Around the fountain I plan to plant annuals that won't cover the fountain but will give me lots of color right by the entrance to the house.

 Something to keep in mind when choosing plants for a foundation area. Compatibility, growing conditions (light, soil), year round interest as it will always be seen since most people enter through the front door and usually it faces the road, and height. I have often seen shrubs that are too large, planted in front of windows and covering them or trees planted too close to the foundation. Always keep in mind the mature size both height and width of your plants and plant accordingly unless you plan to prune.

 I will post a follow up with pictures showing the step by step process.


  1. Great layout! and the Daylilies really are hardy and prolific. We had some of both at our previous house and I plan to find a suitable place for them at This Old House -

  2. Thanks Karen I am anxious to get it finished!