Small Garden Bed - ideas?

Discussion in 'Small Space Gardening' started by Nightshade, Sep 12, 2009.

  1. Nightshade

    Nightshade Member

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    Location:
    Port Moody, Canada
    Hi Everyone!

    This is my first post about my first garden experience in my first home! Whew, that's a lot of firsts!
    My husband and I purchased our first townhouse this past May and we've been busy taking care of the insides that we have just begun to think of the outsides. My step-mom "Lily" suggested I join this forum to get some ideas and advice.

    Here are a few "before" and "after" pictures of what my husband and I managed to do in one hour. We're planning on sifting out some of the rocks that are still in the bed and covering it for the winter to try to kill off the weeds and such. Our plan is to begin planting next Spring.

    We're in the Greater Vancouver area and this is an East facing bed so it gets direct morning sun. My first thoughts of what to plant here was sun flowers. The kitchen looks over this area from the second floor and I thought it would be nice to see those giant flowers while making breakfast in the morning. I'm also a fan of hollyhocks, snap-dragons, peonies, sweet peas, daisies... I could go on and on.

    I'm hoping to achieve a really informal, almost cottage-like bed that will require minimal care. I would like it to be full and lush looking. Am I asking for too much or do you think I can pull this off? Any suggestions to specific types of flowers that would be easy to care for and work in an informal setting?

    Thanks for your thoughts! And let me know if you need any more information before you can make any suggestions.
     

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  2. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    welcome and congrats on your first house!!

    not sure what your zone is...that will definitely determine what plants you can choose from as well as available sunlight...

    since it's east-facing, sunflowers may not do well as they, generally, need much more sun than just the early morning lighting. wouldn't hurt to try it, though.

    hydrangea would be good for that kind of lighting - if the area stays moist enough (they are thirsty bushes). they can get fairly big, though, so, for that size space, they may not work in the long run.

    peony also need full sun all day to do well.



    there are some clematis that would do well with that lighting - you could put in a trellis along the wall or run some fishing line up around that support post and train the clematis (or some other flowering vine) to grow up and around it. clematis jackmanii is one to consider - does well in east light.

    you can also do some daylilies and asiatic lilies (they'll get pretty tall over time). spirea would be nice - do a dwarf type, though, so the space isn't overwhelmed (although, you can trim them, so, could keep a full-sized one in check). some types of malva get tall.

    coneflowers, daisies, asters, phlox - all would do okay there - just look for varieties that don't need full-sun all day. stonecrop sedum would also do well.

    lilac or forsythia, i'd stay away from - both spread out via suckers and they'd take over the space.

    i have mostly full-sun conditions, so, my input is limited. others will have more suggestions :)
     
  3. Nightshade

    Nightshade Member

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    Thanks for your advice Joclyn! I'll definately take a look into the flowers mentioned in your post. What would be your favourite flower for an east-facing garden?
     
  4. wcutler

    wcutler Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I like bat-wing begonias. They bloom prolifically for months, come in red and a bit more pinky colour, grow between one and two feet high. On my Vancouver balcony, they pull through some winters, though not last year. I didn't see them this year and got a different begonia with tiny bat-wing leaves and thin bell-shaped red flowers that's more droopy and only about 8" high. It's also constantly in bloom and quite colourful, but I don't like it as well for my planter's location.
     
  5. jake007

    jake007 Member

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    have you added any fertilizers or is the soil pretty good and nutrient.
     
  6. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    my fav would be hydrangea...which is my all-time fav plant/bush/flower. really would end up being too large for that spot and wouldn't leave too much room for much else, though...

    next would be clematis - there are quite a few varieties that do well with eastern exposure and they would give you that visual 'up' thing being on trellises and then you could do some other things of varying heights that would make for nice visual interest and keep the eye moving up/down/around.

    dwarf spirea is mid-sized and should bloom all summer with little attention from you (doesn't have to be deadheaded to send out new blooms).

    i don't have much shady areas (working on creating some, though), so, some things i really like i can't do at the moment. ferns: japanese painted are absolutely lovely!! cinnamon fern also. there is actually a large variety of ferns - some stay small and some get quite tall. heuchera's come in a large variety of leaf colors (and flower colors, too, although, the flowers are not really what is the attraction because they are very tiny). sweet woodruff is nice as a groundcover and has small white flowers in early spring.

    i'm on the comp at work...when i get home, i'll go through my 'waiting/want' list for some other things for shady spots.
     
  7. Charles Richard

    Charles Richard Active Member

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    Would you want anything growing up infront of the window in the picture?
    I think a clematis (as mentioned prior) growing up the corner on a lattice of sorts would look very nice.
    We have a bed on the east side that gets sun for the morning until about noon during the summer. In the spring we have primulas (wanda, gold lace etc.) and a few varieties of bulbs. We have a Heuchera's (Marmalade, a lime green leaved one).
    The other that is a favorite is the Brunnera (Jack Frost), is at the back so it does not get to much sun.
    I think that the Lily idea would be wonderful, we have a brilliant yellow one on the north facing side and it performs very well. The 'Casablanca' large white lily is beautiful and very fragrant.
    We have non-stop begonias that we store over winter and repot. We place the pots in the beds when other plants are finished to give color all summer and into autumn.
    There are many small forms of Rhodo's that add a bit of color and then greenery during the rest of the year. Many of the smaller cultivars (impeditum) would take years to get to any size. We under plant the Rhodo with hardy cyclamen and they are in flower now, then cover the ground with beautiful green leaves with silver markings and are there all winter.
    I hope that this is some help,
    I love this website, as there are so many informative and helpful insites offered.
    Have fun, that's what it is all about.
    Sometimes going on garden tours, if that is your thing is very insiteful.
     
  8. runningtrails

    runningtrails Active Member

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    Location:
    Barrie, Ontario
    Since it is such a small area I wouldn't plant anything that gets really tall there. Some 2' things at the back would be about as tall as I would plant. It won't get a lot of light facing east but under an overhang. I would put in a flowering ground cover if you want less work. Around the edge I would put something short like primulas. They are very short and don't need a lot of light and bloom when nothing else is blooming yet. They also grow easily from seed but don't flower the first year. You can also edge it with silver lamb's ears. If you cut off the flowerstalks it won't reseed and will stay manageable. It has a silver fuzzy foliage all year long that is a nice contrast to the greens.

    In the back you can plant monkshood. It does well in some shade and blooms all summer long. Small, dense shrubs at each corner would look good but I wouldn't plant things in front of the window that will grow to block it.

    In between you can plant heucheras with the dark leaves. They have interesting foliage all year long, even when not blooming. Another medium hight plant that likes some shade and blooms all summer are campanulas. There are various kinds and all would look very good.

    It is important to gradually change the height from flat to tallest as you go back to keep it from looking "weedy" and untamed.
     
  9. Peperomia

    Peperomia Active Member

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    Location:
    Philippines,Manila
    You can try planting a variety of succulents such as aeoniums, crassulas, echeverias, sempervivums, aloes, euphorbihas, kalanchoe and cacti.
    They have odd shapes, fascinating colors and architectural statement. They are also low maintenance and most will not outgrow their space in there. Good luck! ;)
     

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