Small flowering bushes that retain leaves

Discussion in 'Garden Design and Plant Suggestions' started by monkeydog, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. monkeydog

    monkeydog Active Member

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    Location:
    S.E. Tennessee, U.S.
    I have a 180 degree turn in my uphill driveway where I am building a low rock wall to keep people from cutting the corner too sharp and eroding the hillside. I want to plant about 3 bushes behind the wall to help make the low wall more visible.

    I live in Tennessee with hot summers in the 90's and winter lows in the teens. The proposed planting area is in full sun all day with no shade at all. I'd like to plant something that will be around 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall, stay green all year (for visibility) and ideally have some kind of blooms in the summer.

    Are there any plants that fit that description that would survive in this climate and also do well in full sun? We have a lot of roses around the property and I thought about perhaps doing more of them, but I'd kind of like something that keeps a few more leaves through the winter.

    Would love to hear any thoughts y'all might have, as I'm just stumped!
     
  2. Olafhenny

    Olafhenny Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Penticton
    Okay, since nobody else is commenting, here is my nickel's (inflation strikes everywhere) worth: Cotoneaster came to mind and I looked it up here:
    http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/53929/ .
    Although I live in "cold" Canada, I also live just north of the northern tip of the Sonoran Desert and Temperatures reach up to 100^F every summer and often beyond. cotoneaster thrive here. So heat will not be your problem. However, like oranges they bloom and fruit at the same time and the may well require some frost to get on with the bloom. Best is, you ask your local garden shop. After flowering the developing green fruit acquire their showy colour (here) in October and it lasts well into spring.

    Cotoneasters come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, from ground covers, which will easily drape down over your walls or even climb up, through the ones described in the above given URL to 6' tall varieties, allowing you to graduate them in height and spread as it suits.
    To get an idea of what is available see here:
    http://images.google.com/images?q=c...&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&resnum=4&ct=title.
    Cotoneaster are all evergreen and once established drought resistant.
     
  3. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    North Vancouver, B.C., Canada
    Try Cortaderia selloana (pampass grass) they will also look great when the plumes are at their peak, all winter, unless snow is a huge factor? Once established they require little maintenance, just slash and burn if necessary when over grown, and they make a nasty permanent and uncrossable barrier due to their razor sharp fronds.
     
  4. Wolvie150

    Wolvie150 Active Member

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    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    You might want to try the extension center at Tennessee State University. They might have some sugestions from research for a similar horticulture concern such as yours. Also, ask around - I used to knock on places with nice gardens, compliment them, and ask a quick question or two on a plant name, etc. They may have specific suggestions on plants or vendors for you.
     
  5. monkeydog

    monkeydog Active Member

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    Thanks all, for the ideas. I'm going to look a bit more at the cotoneasters, they are rather intriguing. I have a pampas grass in another location, I love it, but is a bit large for this application.

    I don't have a deadline, so it may pay off to do like Wolvie suggested...perhaps I'll spend some time driving around just looking at yards and asking questions. I may see something I really like. Thanks again for the ideas!
     
  6. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    If you only go to the low teens farhenheit, you might be able to go with Lantana camara and have it not go invasive on you - the chill winter temps will prevent it from spreading too fast or too hard. It's a pretty bush, fast grower, with attractive tricolour flowers all season that form into small, edible berries. It will also attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds like nobody's business. Also, you don't have to worry at all about heat tolearance with them; mine survived handily through a five week heat-wave with average temps over 100F, a condition that nearly killed many of my other plants.
     
  7. monkeydog

    monkeydog Active Member

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    Lorax, I just spoke to my mother in law (just down the road from us) and she said her lantana plants all lose their leaves in the winter and some of the stems as well. Of course they come back in spring. So we may get a bit too cold to keep leaves all year, which is what I'm looking for.

    Do you know...do azaleas come in a miniature or dwarf form? something I could keep around the 2 foot range? We have an azalea that stays beautiful all year, but a bit large for this application. Or would an azalea respond well to pruning to keep it's size under control?
     
  8. Olafhenny

    Olafhenny Active Member 10 Years

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    Most azalea I have ever seen are between 1 and 2 ft in height, would therefore fit well within the physical constraints of your proposed landscaping. However they are part of the rhododendron family and therefore shallow rooters, which will not do well in an arid environment, unless they are watered constantly and frequently. My rhododendron require here (in a semi arid climate) that I water them during the cold season, whenever the absence ground frost allows the water to penetrate, to produce good flower and leaves the next season. Before I started doing that, one died on me and the other had half dried out flower buds in each of 2 successive springs. Now since watering whenever possible during winter, I have eight very healthy 'rhodos'.

    Please see here: http://landscaping.about.com/cs/treesshrubs/a/rhodo_azaleas_4.htm

    Another consideration might be, that azalea only bloom for a few short weeks in spring, while the fruit of cotoneaster develop their colourful display as early as as October and make it last well past the bloom period of azalea.
     
  9. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Victoria Australia [cool temperate]
    Could I suggest some Australian native plants. Once established do well in dry hot. Must not be fertilised with wrong food. Safest is blood and bone. (bone meal).I am not sure what is available but many are very good at attracting birds. Or native plants from your own area.

    Liz
     
  10. monkeydog

    monkeydog Active Member

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    Thanks for the link Olafhenny. It reminded me that my azalea that I do have probably does so well because it's in a shaded area. Whereas my new planting area is full sun, so the azalea may not be a good choice.

    Perhaps this weekend I'll have time to visit some nurseries and actually view some live plants. Compared to picking the right plants, gathering the stones and building the wall turned out to be the easy part!
     
  11. Olafhenny

    Olafhenny Active Member 10 Years

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    Naah, not so hard, just look around in your friendly garden shop and when you find a few plants, you like, google their requirements and chose the one, which fits your site best.

    When I first started gardening for our first house, I made a point of selecting the most beautiful and exotic plants without much concern for their needs and wants. Meanwhile I have learned, that a healthy plant, carefully chosen for the environment at the intended site is much more attractive than the most exotic plant fighting for survival.
     

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