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Riverside Garden

comments (6) January 13th, 2011 in gallery
Lilyofthevalley Lilyofthevalley, member
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Please help with design ideas for riverside perennial beds!  This is the view from house. Located in southern Maryland (zone 7b), south facing; hot afternoon sun; some salt spray.  Terraced yard; good soil in beds; has irrigation system. Would love ideas that enhance the water view but not blocking it.  



posted in: The Gallery, Riverside garden

Comments (6)

BloominLooney writes: Why not block the view... a bit?

The view is so very horizontal and vast, I'd love to see some shrubs poking up into that blue swath as if Cookie Monster munched along the lower edge. Standing in the spot where you most often take in the view, figure out how tall a shrub you would need to cut into the band of water to which degree (just, third, half, three quarters) then group the shrubs of different heights to make interesting shapes. You might have a few taller plants that actually cut all way through the line of water and up into the sky at the edges of your view to frame, but a few cutting up into the main part would also add somewhere for your eye to hold on. It is so very bright out over the water that the silhouettes of the plants you chose will be as important as the flowers particularly in the afternoon, if I understand you correctly. Go for some open airy shrubs you can see the water glinting through such as tree peonies.

Actually I don't want to make any real recommendations about specific plants, because I live in California. Unless you are a plant-aholic, I think the individual plant choices are not that important. I think you should decide what colors you want and sizes you want, and then do what others have already suggested such as talking to your county's Master Gardeners, people at local nurseries, looking at websites of local natives and also, very important, looking at what is thriving in other gardens near by. Choosing from plants proven to be happy in your micro-area will be more rewarding in the long run.

I would choose big areas of each color to match the garden bed's scale to the distance it is going to be viewed from most often. I like the idea of blue flowers and also plants with blueish foliage to echo the blues of the water and make a gentle transition from water to land. Perhaps areas of white flowers could do the same thing by echoing the sparkles of light on the water. Yellow would be a traditional addition to that palette which would have the optical power to stand out from a distance, but I see that you (like me) like red. The heart is a better director toward happiness than the brain. If red makes you happy, go with red. I once heard you should decorate your house in the colors you like to wear. That goes for the garden too, as far as I'm concerned.

Finally, I would further break up the heavy horizontal-ness (?!) of the view by making a more natural, curving edge to the bed. In a way the undulating cuts "down" into the grass would be a reflection of those "Cookie Monster" cuts the taller shrubs would make up into the line of water.

There are my two cents.

Good luck.

How fun.

-- Pamela Posted: 12:56 pm on January 25th
Meg1941 writes: Ginger Lilies do great along my pond edge in South Carolina. I love them because they are tall, very fragrant, and bloom in late summer when many other flowers are past. They also multiply readily and are very tough. I am in Zone 8a so it's probably not too different from 7b. Posted: 8:40 am on January 25th
RitaM writes: Hi,

Any habitat along water is very important. Please consider adding local native plants to your shoreline garden. Try contacting your local native plant society. A really good book that talks about why gardeners should use native plant is "Brining Nature Home" by Tallamy. Everyone should read this book. Posted: 2:36 pm on January 24th
Plumterry writes: It sounds to me as though you are on the Chesapeake or one of its tributaries. If you are on the Eastern Shore, you could get advice (and plants) at Adkins Arboretum in Ridgely. Posted: 2:12 pm on January 24th
MaggieR writes: you seem to have asiatic lilies and iris already, which are both wonderful, so you could probably expand to experiment with other lily types. I would add grasses, of course, as these would be great in this location. Other suggestions would be solidago, hardy hibiscus, yucca, daylilies, amsonia,and montbretia. Consider shrubs such as rugosa roses and cotoneaster. maybe a dwarf crape myrtle? Posted: 9:46 am on January 24th
DreamGardener writes: well, I'm a zone-6 Southern New England gardener, so I suggest trying Solidago sempervirens (Seaside Goldenrod). Native - to my area anyway - and gorgeous. And remember that Goldenrod is NOT ragweed! Another true beauty, tho I don't know how well it tolerates salt spray: Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal Flower). Incredible, true-red flowers. Just heart-stopping.
I'm a big proponent of Natives, especially in areas near water, as they're less likely to need chemicals. The CT Botanical Society has a great Native Plants website to peruse for suggestions - perhaps Maryland has something similar. Also, try contacting your local Master Gardener's office. They're an invaluable resource! Posted: 9:43 am on January 24th
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