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Backyard Flora

Doug Asked

I am looking to dress up my backyard. I live at the end of rolling farmed hills. There is a 4 ft. high split rail fence. I was thinking of a hedge of Limelight hydrangeas along the fence but I wonder what I could put in front of them for a little color on the lower level. I would like something that has flowers all summer long. This area drains well and has full sun.

The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Doug: Planting a hedge Limelight hydrangea along the fence line is a good design plan. Although they are not evergreen, the large, dried flowers provide year-round interest. These showy shrubs will complement the beautiful scenery beyond the fence. Underplanting with perennials is also a good idea. Depending on how far out you want to extend the bed, you could add multiple layers of interest. Incorporating a low-growing perennial or groundcover will create a more permanent landscape and potentially eliminate the need for mulch. Perennials, unlike annuals have a bloom time of 3-4 weeks. That being said, there are some perennials that are better bloomers than others. Coreopsis, Echinacea, and Rudbeckia would all be good medium growing options. Lower growing perennials to consider include: hardy geranium (saguineum), Sweet Alyssum, Creeping Phlox (subulata), hardy Dianthus, and hardy Plumbago. Many of the Stonecrop Sedums are evergreen and provide interesting foliage color. I hope this is helpful.

Angie Oakley

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