Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I'm in a Quandary!

I don't like this sun rose, and I want to replace it. But with what?

It's one of those plants that I decided to leave for a year after moving in, to see if I liked it. But I don't. It's just too bedraggled looking. It never has more than a few flowers open at once. And the buds, before they flower, look sickly and brown.

Close up, the flowers are pretty, but small, and the rest of the buds around it aren't pretty at all.

It also has several dead spots in it, like this, as well as weedy grass growing up through the branches, that is hard to pull.

Basically it's just not what I want to anchor that corner of the foundation bed. But from a design standpoint, I'd like to replace it with something that will balance the Escallonia at the other end of the bed, but low-growing like the sun rose. So....something of more or less equal mass, maybe evergreen like the Escallonia, and with pink or red flowers. It doesn't necessarily have to be another shrub. In fact, the first thing that comes to mind is a mass of hardy Geraniums. They're not evergreen, but I like their palmate leaves.

The shrub to the right still in its pot is a Forsythia 'Fiesta' with variegated leaves. Between the sun rose  and the Escallonia is a purple barberry ('Helmond Pillar').

It's time to put my thinking cap on, I guess.


  1. I have a hard time with those "anchor" types of spots. I have a Daphne x transatlantica 'Summer Ice' in a spot just like that. It is mostly evergreen, kind of variegated leaves and blooms small pink flowers almost year round. The scent carries all over the yard. Anyway, I could see something like that there, but the Geraniums would also look good. Maybe a small Weigela? I hope you'll share what you end up doing.

  2. Have you filled the spot yet? If not, here are a few suggestions...not sure what size that area is...or what you're restrictions are.

    1. I think the best choice may be the one you've already thought of...a hardy geranium...I'd go with's got a good spread (about 3') but only gets about 18" will weave around other plants without smothering them and flowers from early summer to first frost. Plus, the blue would look great with what you've already got there. Also, you could pair with Centranthus for a great pink/blue combo...i have them together in my garden and the contrast between them is electric!

    2. Maybe something taller? Russian Sage, maybe surrounded by yellow coreopsis or red knautia. You could also do verbena bonariensis, and nice patch of them...they do get really tall, but are fairly transparent, so you get height, color and movement, all without blocking the smaller plants behind them.

    3. Agastache...thre are so many varieties, from short to fairly tall...depending on what color you'd like. For blue flowers, I'd recommend Golden Jubilee as you get the added benefit of the golden foliage. For something warmer, you can hardly go wrong with Agastache's leaves are willowy and a lovely shade of grey-green. The flowers seemed to orange to me at first, but once they get going, are a really beguiling mix of orange/pink/purple.

    4. I think you may have a grass there already...but i'd be remiss if I didn't mention them...particularly those with autumn coloring (miscanthus purparescens, panicum shenandoah).

    5. Artemisia Powis flowers, but lovely, silvery dissected foliage all year long (depending on your zone).

    Just my 2¢.



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