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The Dirt

Plant IDs: Keeping a Low Profile

If you don’t want plants blocking your view, try a design that is as dynamic as it is functional

Exerpt from Susan Calhoun's article from Fine Gardening Issue #170:

It seems like many planting designs are all about blocking things you’d rather not see: the street out front, the nosy neighbors, or the messy lot next door. After all, why would you ever want a landscape that stays under 3 feet tall? Perhaps it’s to preserve a  view, or to avoid traffic mishaps (i.e. backing out of the driveway into oncoming traffic), or maybe it’s to create interest along a pathway or narrow expanse without obscuring the destination.

These were all issues I faced at a seaside property in Washington. My plan needed to be low profile so the plants could better withstand the abuse of a windy, shoreline location, too. I found that the keys to a successful design were solid, large-scale  hardscaping paired with thoughtful, dense sweeps of plants.

1. Spreading stonecrop  (Sedum divergens, USDA Hardiness Zones 2-9)         

2. Dwarf strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo 'Compacta', Zones 7-9)

3. Native wildrye (Elymus cv., Zones 4-9)

4. ‘Goldberg’ lavender (Lavandula x intermedia 'Goldberg', Zones 6-9)

5.  Dwarf mugo pine (Pinus mugo var. pumilio, Zones 2-8)

6.  Golden London pride (Saxifraga × urbium ‘Aureopunctata’, Zones 4-9)

7. Pine (Pinus cv., Zones 2-8)

1.  ‘White Sensation’ astilbe (Astilbe simplicifolia 'White Sensation', Zones 4-9)

2.  Dwarf mugo pine (Pinus mugo var. pumilio, Zones 2-8)

3.  Spreading stonecrop  (Sedum divergens, USDA Hardiness Zones 2-9)

4. ‘Blue Ice’ blue star (Amsonia 'Blue Ice', Zones 4-9)

5. 'Twickel Purple' lavender  (Lavandula angustifolia 'Twickel Purple', Zones 5-8)

6.  'Silver Shadow' astelia (Astelia 'Silver Shadow', Zones 8-9)

7.  Manzanita (Arctostaphylos manzanita cv., Zones 8-10)


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  1. robynhorne 08/30/2016


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