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Thread: Bed Layout

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Tex .. near Dallas
    Posts
    280

    Bed Layout

    Have a large new island bed ...with nothing in it. Behind the new bed (as viewed from patio) is another bed that can be seen and one that we want to be able to continue to see the flowers in it.

    How do we go about deciding what to plant and when? We also want to leave room for annuals.

    We do have another rose bed and a daylily bed besides these two.

    Is it really a good idea to lay it out to scale and are the suggested spacings to be taken as law?

    If u haven't figured it out yet ..... we are just getting started in gardening but we have high hopes.

    Thanks in advance,

    Jim

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
    Posts
    9,934

    General Bed Layout

    Jim,

    If you take a look where your bed is going to be, try to invision what is going to be there. You are starting a lot of new perennials from seed. These will take time to grow and fill out the area. Annuals are great for filling in those void areas until the perennials start getting big, and spreading. And they are really easy to start from seed, so you are well on your way for that...

    Some thought has to be put into height and width of the plants you have. If you have a back border or building, the taller plants should be toward the building and the lower plants toward the front.

    In the beginning, plan your site to have a mixture of perennials and annuals following the rule of height primarily. As your beds grow with the perennials, you will notice voids. This is where weeds will tend to fill in, and is a good place to put annuals to leave less room for weeds and for a more appealing appearance until you perennials take hold.

    If you have an Island bed, the tallest plants should be in the middle and the lower ones on the outer edges. Always try to make sure the beds are not so wide that you can weed them in a hands reach without trampling on your prized plants.

    If you want a really wide bed, then leave spaces for stepping inside. Then put cement blocks or pads down or something similar to make a hard pad for your foot to rest on while you tend to your newly planted bed. There are many decorative ideas about making inexpensive stepping stones, if you would, in large beds. Be creative, it is as much fun as growing plants and shouldn't cost a fortune!

    Pay attention to plant height and width, irregardless of whether it is a perennial, annual or bulb. Some of this will come with experience, and there is nothing wrong with trial and error. If you do not like where you plant something, dig it up and move it, but be sensitive to the plant's needs as some are best moved when they are dormant.

    Yet another consideration is color. Forget what everyone else says, go for the color combinations that you like. Believe me you are the one that is going to enjoy the results.

    Have FUN!
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Surrey, British Columbia
    Posts
    14

    new bed

    Jim--all I've really got to say is you're in for a ton of fun if you just don't take things too seriously. What I mean is that I've been gardening since I was a kid and I still make incredible mistakes in planting things. We're really proud of our big island bed that we've been working on for 11 years now. That said, its been quite a learning curve--at first we put things too close together in spots, and didn't consider that different shapes went poorly together. A variegated dogwood almost took over half the area until we chopped it down (took 2 years to really kill the thing). Now we're adding some broadleaved evergreens, coz we noticed how barren things looked all winter.
    In short, Jim, just have fun-it seems inevitable in my planting that I have to move a few things every winter, until I get things just right (hasn't happened yet!) Good growing--Glen in BC

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
    Posts
    9,934

    Thumbs up Winter Landscape

    Well said, Glen!

    We gardeners reserve the right to change our mind depending on our mood, the season, whatever!

    I have the same problem as Glen.

    Believe it or not, even here on the Gulf Coast, we have to think about keeping at least a little color in the winter. I get so excited about the spring, summer and fall, that I tend to neglect the winter landscape. That is a difficult one for me because I like all those flowering plants, rather than the evergreens, but there are some very beautiful evegreens to choose from.

    My favorite is a curly leaved privet that is always showing its beauty. I have had it for years. It is a nice size, and I have never pruned it.

    If I had my way, I would have a Colorado Spruce, but they will not thrive here, so I need to search for alternatives. My landscape is in dire need of winter color.

    Thanks, Glen, for reminding us to plant something that will keep our interests in those cold months while we browse all those wonderful catalogs and dream of things that could be...
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Tex .. near Dallas
    Posts
    280

    Bed layout

    Appreciate all of the advice .....

    Glenn ..... I have been known to make a mistake or two (not nearly as many as my wife and kids like to credit me with) but hope to use this list to avoid 'some' of the big pitfalls. I also use gardening to relax ... at least until I see something munching on my plants.

    My wife purchased a big "Jack Daniels" whiskey barrel (half) that she plans to turn on its side and plant flowers in it and in front of it to look like they are spilling out of it ..... something I would never have thought of doing ..... she is the creative one ...

    I am labor ... she is management.

    And Ann .... this bed is too big to reach across ... so will be using "something" to allow me to reach the plants without stepping on other stuff......

    You all are great ..... well ... maybe not great ... but pretty close.

    Now ... if Glenn would send a little cool wx and a little rain ... would be great ("little" ..soft rain ...Glenn .... get the order straight ).

    Jim

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Tex .. near Dallas
    Posts
    280

    Glen/Glenn

    Glen,

    Have friend named Glenn ... sorry I spelled ur name wrong .... wasn't paying attention.

    Jim

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Surrey, British Columbia
    Posts
    14

    labour vs. management

    Hey Jim-sounds like you have a similar arrangement to ours-my wife is SO creative (dried flower arranging and candles are 2 of her excellent sideline businesses) and I am SO NOT creative. I have an awful time imagining what things will look like unless somebody draws me a picture. Meanwhile wifey is looking at me pityfully, with this 3D full colour image in her mind that she's trying to get across to me.

    Us labourers just gotta know our place, eh? --Glen in BC

  8. #8

    Talking Colors, colors

    Hi,

    Ann says go with colors you like. I agree, one thing though!
    Standing from your patio, take into effect what flowers will be behind the (new bed.) This spring, I planted lavendar flowers next to orange ones. Boy, it was ugly! I kept telling myself it would be pretty once they filled in, but I couldn't stand the colors together andy more. So I dug them up and planted elsewhere in the same bed. It creatd more work formyself cause I didn't plan the flowering arrangment.

    Pansies will usually last here as a perennial, and they are low growing, offer many different color varities. There are also some decorative grasses that will keep their color and grow low. Sorry don't remember any names.

    In my oyster garden I have trees in this bed too. The trees have been pruned and are umbrella shape now. They provide a little bit of shade, this is a large island, and no I don't have any stepping stones (wish I did) Anyway, around the base of the trees I've planted the larger growing plants (the trees are on each end of the bed) and this gives the tree trunk decoration! But my idea of beauty may not be your idea!

    What about building this bed at a slope downward? If you remove some of the soil, you could plant larger type plants and be able to see the back bed even better. This would also give diversity to the design and shape. When watering this bed you could water from the back. I wouldn't suggested doing this though if you don't lay some type of mulch down. The mulch would keep the soil from erroding away when you watered or rain. I tend to think that watering down hill would also save on water. But I may be wrong.

    Garden mums keep their color all fall and most winter, but they can get quite tall, if not pruned.

    I love your wifes Idea of the barrel! Infact, I bought a tin tub earlier this week at very cheap price of $3.00 and I plan to do the same thing. I've always wanted to have a bucket of spilt flowers on the ground, and when i finally found a cheap Washing bucket I bought it for that reason!
    I'm going to put the bucket on one of the rolling hills and place the flowers where they are trickiling down hill! Morning glories will be great for this effect too!

    You're Havin' a BLAST!
    We Can TELL!
    Me TOO!
    Kathy in Ga.

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