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Planting suggestions needed for Zone 7 full sun garden.
julietjones
February 18, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I love my irises, but when they're not in bloom, they're not very exciting. I want some suggestions for flowering plants that would look nice alongside these purple irises, both at the same time they bloom (April-May here) and for the rest of the summer. It seems to me that now is a good time for planning the garden. Thank you!
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Pamela Bateman Garden Design
I don't know how you feel about roses but iris and roses make wonderful companions. Look at www.heirloomroses.com and read about the landscape and groundcover roses. Some stay low and many bloom continuously. The roses from Heirloom roses are grown on their own roots which is very important if you don't want rootstock suckers. Don't believe it when someone says roses are too much care. I grow my roses organically and can't imagine a garden without roses! Yes they require some care but what they give back is beauty, fragrance and a long blooming season.
February 18, 2013 at 6:16PM     
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fpatel
I have my irises in the back of my perennial beds so when they are done blooming they are hidden by other plants. I also have yellow daffodils in back that bloom around the same time.

After that I have roses, Shasta daisies, peonies, phlox, miss manners obedient plant that grow up in front of them.
February 18, 2013 at 8:47PM     
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julietjones
Thank you both, Pamela Bateman and fpatel, for your suggestions! Roses are a good idea, and that is a beautiful website you suggested. The other flowers are good ideas too, except with peonies I have the same problem as with irises: they bloom early (here in the South) and then the leaves are unattractive.
February 19, 2013 at 4:40AM   
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elklaker
I have spider plant around my irises. The flower colors complement one another when the irises are in bloom and, as the spider plants bloom all season, the iris foliage is covered.
February 19, 2013 at 4:58AM     
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fpatel
I'm in the same zone so I have taller autumn blooming plants in front of the peonies. I can't really take all the credit because many of the plants were here when I bought the house but someone put a lot of thought into bloom times as the garden changes color schemes throughout the season as well. One of my favorite garden books is The Well Tended Perennial Garden. The author is very detailed about maintenance needs which I have found useful.
February 19, 2013 at 4:37PM      Thanked by julietjones
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aniluap2
I love roses as well but unlike Pamela Bateman, I am not as fortunate and don't live in CA. On the east coast in my zone 7 garden my roses don't do as well even though I buy old-fashioned, disease resistant varieties. They don't like humidity, but if you want some low maintainence continuous blooming varieties I would look at some of the more modern cultivars like Knockout roses, carpet roses etc. even though they aren't heirlooms they are easier for the inexperienced gardener. In order to suggest plants we also need to know which region or state you live in because humidity, rainfall , soil type also make a difference in what should be planted.
February 19, 2013 at 4:55PM     
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Teri Loper
I plant daylily's in front of irises. The irises are blooming out as daylily's are just beginning, the leaves blend in well and keeps that area looking good till frost.
February 19, 2013 at 5:53PM     
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Pamela Bateman Garden Design
aniluap2 : you are correct we need to know where you live in order to suggest plants. Zone 7 is just a general description of the climate zone and there can be lots of variables. It is best to ask a local expert about what does well in the area. Roses of any kind are worth the trial and error in my opinion. The carpet roses grow much larger in California than they would in other places of the U.S. There are lots of beautiful modern roses and Heirloom roses carries old and new varieties. Your local nursery or rose society could give you lots of information.
February 19, 2013 at 9:00PM   
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aniluap2
Good suggestion, Pamela . We used to live in N. Cali, and I loved gardening there. Maybe one day we will retire there...sigh!
February 20, 2013 at 5:55AM   
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printesa
I have lots of roses, even though it is difficult with them due to high humidity (Philadelphia area). My favorite ones are the English Roses (I have the ones from David Austin). I also have mums, which can cover with their green foliage the unpleasant sight of the spent peonies. Gaura lindheimeri is also really nice. I would suggest that you check with a local nursery and see what they suggest. They should know what's best for your area. Find a good nursery,,maybe one that has landscaping services as well. I have a great one here so, whenever I have a questions, they are really good about it. Good luck!
February 20, 2013 at 6:08AM   
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aniluap2
Yes David Austin is a good source and I too live in the Philly area. My garden is English cottage style , packed with flowering perenials and annual self seeders, the lack of air circulation around the roses and the humidity causes black spot. I have an organic garden do I use only natural products, so it is a battle, but the good news is that the flowers cover the unsightly yellow leaves, so all is good. Another great book is 'The Layred Garden ' by David Culp. He does a good job of having interest for all seasons. One horticulturist lecture I attended, the speaker said that to have a sustainable garden it should not be an ICU. In other words, we should not have to go to extraordinary measures to keep things alive and healthy.
February 20, 2013 at 8:25AM   
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printesa
I practice organic gardening as well (flowers and veggies). I used for the roses Serenade Solution and it works pretty well. I usually start spraying them right after I prune the roses in the spring. The Cornell mixture works well as well (neem oil, baking soda, mild soap, and water). For aphids, the garlic oil seems to do the trick.
The book that you mentioned is a good one indeed. It's nice to see some combinations that work throughout the season.
February 20, 2013 at 11:17AM   
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julietjones
It's me again. Thank you all SO MUCH for the suggestions! I live in Memphis TN, where it is VERY hot and humid in the summer. I am originally from England so of course I love roses. We just had the back yard professionally re-landscaped last year (see photo), so I have many beds that are designed to be walked around, so there is no "back" or "front". Some of these beds are for vegetables. I sort of know what does well here, but I wanted ideas for color and texture combinations. Last year I planted 2 roses: one is a pink knockout (it did fine), the other is a Hybrid Tea called "Tiffany", it got black spot at the end of the summer. i will try to do better this time. But I still have lots of space in the beds.
February 20, 2013 at 11:57AM   
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julietjones
My photos show different stages of the garden. Top right, it's still under construction. Bottom left, I have planted a few things. Top left, you can see that the effect I want is beds FULL of flowers. But I feel I have a bit of a mish-mash of different things all together. The bottom right is the Tiffany rose, that is in a small bed all of her own. I planted sedum (stonecrop) under it, hoping it would spread and fill the area.
February 20, 2013 at 12:00PM   
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aniluap2
The English are the best gardeners and have ideal conditions for most temperate, flowering, perenials and of course roses. I drool with envy over the fabulous delphiniums that grow so easily there and are such a struggle in the humid summers. You need to give the sedum a season to take off and it will do fine around roses. When I think of planting a bed I try to first decide what color palette I would like, usually 3 colors and then I like to incorporate flower, fruit, fragrance , form and texture. You have a wonderful layout and you could decide on an overall color scheme or plant different colors in each bed. You might want to keep certain beds exclusively edible or incorporate your edibles with decorative plants like the French potager. I put in perennials for all seasons and intersperse with annuals that reseed abundantly, like nigella, verbena bonariensis and larkspur to give it a relaxed feel. I love fragrance so I use shrubs and flowers that I plant for the nose. Then i always put in a few butterfly host plants that I attract those beauties and of course fruits for the birds. The book I mentioned above is a great starting place for an all season garden. David is a horticulturist and expert propagater and the book takes you through the planning and development of his own garden
February 20, 2013 at 12:21PM     
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Pamela Bateman Garden Design
I love the layout of your back garden. Thanks for sending pictures. I am glad you can grow roses in your area. I don't think I could live in a place where roses wouldn't grow!
February 20, 2013 at 1:58PM     
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printesa
You have a great garden there! I would do some pink roses with lavender (see which kind does better in your area..I had some that just didn't work here). Also, Campanula goes really well with roses and it blooms all summer long. The sedum that you have will do well. I planted one and it spread really nicely. Have you tried Russian Sage? It's beautiful and it doesn't require any care. It likes dry area ( I have a dry spot in the garden where nothing else will grow). Sweet peas are really beautiful; cosmos also..so many flowers to choose from:) Like aniluap2 mentioned, see what color combination you would like to see...maybe something colorful in the middle row and something more mellow in the other two. Veggies can be combined with flowers as well. They all go so well:)
February 20, 2013 at 5:00PM     
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fpatel
What a wonderful garden you have. I would love to have a traditional English garden but the heat and humidity combo is a tough one for many plants. The book I mentioned above has pruning tips for most perennials which can keep them from looking ratty as the summer progresses or from getting too leggy.

Another book you may want to check out is Gardening with Native Plants of the South. It has a section on garden flowers that includes some plants that like full sun. I've really enjoyed incorporating more native flowers into my garden.

Some more suggestions for heat and humidity. Butterfly Weed is a native plant with orange blooms. Japanese aster is pretty and low maintenance. Blackberry lily has iris shaped foliage, orange flowers and blackberry like fruit. Mildew resistant monarda (bee balm). Balloon flower which also has fall color.

I just added sedum two years ago and have really enjoyed it.
February 20, 2013 at 6:50PM     
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julietjones
Want to thank all you Houzzers for great suggestions, many of which I plan to try. Will look for those books as well. I actually did start with the idea of a "pink" bed, a "purple" bed and a "yellow" bed - then someone told me (my daughter, actually) that that was boring, and I myself started to see that it was hard to stick to, and I decided that pink and purple actually looked good together. I have Russian sage and Blackberry lilies. But you guys have mentioned plants I'd never heard of, such as Gaura lindheimeri, Miss Manners obedient plant, and Japanese Aster - I have looked them all up on Google! Thank you again. I LOVE this website!
February 21, 2013 at 7:10PM     
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pjones51
We have lived in the Piedmont of SC in this location for four years, and I just lucked upon the best place for my Irises- a knoll that gets morning sun for six hours. The ground is just wet enough and rocky too. I put azaleas on the low side in front and they are growing quite well.. I will be trying knock out roses in the area too. Your garden is beautiful.
April 27, 2014 at 2:32PM      Thanked by julietjones
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