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Old 09-11-2009, 04:22 PM   #1
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Default What to plant here?

Here are some old pictures of my yard but its easier to see the house and fence. The redtwig dogwood is huge now, 6 ft.
I was told this was a sawtooth sunflower, huge plant. I was thinking if I planted grasses and other flowers with it, would it not fall over? There was a very windy storm that knocked down the corn, Jerusalem artichokes and these.

The edge near the drive has a small redtwig, Goldsturms, obedient plants and northern drop seeds.
The middle of the bed where the white tree use to be has Monarda fistulosa, only 1 Indiana grass, purple coneflowers and obedient plant and another redtwig. I going to move it to give it more space and amend the soil.
Along the fence are swamp milkweed, sawtooth sunflower, New England Aster and annual sunflower. The trellis has coral honeysuckle sorta growing on it/ near it.

Does any one have suggestions what to plant with it?
Does anyone think I should remove or move some plants?
Color clashes?
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Old 09-11-2009, 04:26 PM   #2
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I know it sounds over planted but the back is really empty. I swear it. It just looks full because of the flops.
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Old 09-11-2009, 04:52 PM   #3
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Sounds as if you might be able to use some shorter forbs around the outer edges. I'm no designer - I just throw things wherever there's room - but having short things on the edges does help with "floppage." Perhaps gentians, red columbines, partridge peas, blue flax, mountainmints, spiderworts, and/or some of the bushy asters like big-leaf, white wood, etc.? Violets are also nice on the edge, but they're more ground covers; they won't help with flopping.
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:08 PM   #4
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I'm no designer either, so I won't get into attempting any suggestions for that. What I will suggest is that if you like the "sunflower look", one that is not prone to flopping is Compass plant (Silphium laciniatum). Even in wide open prairie type plantings, it doesn't get blown over by the wind.
http://wisplants.uwsp.edu/scripts/de...ode=SILLACvLAC
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:21 PM   #5
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I'd recommend some grasses, too...Little Bluestem, Big bluestem, Indian grass, Side-oats gramma, prairie dropseed, a Carex or two.

I did my front yard garden all in forbs, a mistake, and now I've had to start inter-planting grasses. They help hold up the forbs.

Cirsium is right...compass plant doesn't get blown over, and it's a way cool plant, too.
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:32 PM   #6
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For your fence garden an addition of switch grass (Panicum virgatum) will add add not only a good leaning post for your floppy tall yellow flowering plants but a welcome texture ( the seed heads are wonderfully delicate) and strong straight vertical. Intersperse them with your sunflowers and add your
New England asters next to them so you break up all that yellow with the purple flowers.
Baptisia australis is also a good large shrub like plant that with hold other plants up and it offers another strong shape with purple spring flowers followed by maroon seed pods.It has the added color design value of having a blue cast to the leaves.
I also use other tricks to keep my plants upright.
When I have really large clumps of grasses I use inexpensive 3' wire fencing to surround the grass (the kind available at any big box store 3' tall and 10' long-get the brown not green, it becomes invisible) and carefully place it through the garden.
Rebar is cheap and easy to use as stakes (add a straw ball on top if it's placed at the edges of the garden) and blends in nicely. You'll only need a few if you weave Japanese waxed black twine in a criss cross pattern between the fencing and the rebar.

I can't access my newer photos but these are 2 yrs old. I've removed more non natives and moved things around but I think you can get some idea about using the grasses and varying the colors and textures.
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Old 09-12-2009, 07:38 AM   #7
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Will-o-wisp, what a wonderful garden. I really like the waxed twine too. It is sturdy and stays put. Also lasts longer than I ever thought it would.
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Old 09-12-2009, 07:42 AM   #8
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Agree about the grasses and specifically Panicum, which I also have. The only trouble with switchgrass is that you really have to stay on top of seedlings. They re-seed vigorously, and you don't really want to deadhead since the seedheads are showy.
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Old 09-12-2009, 10:38 AM   #9
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Love seeing others designs and plant selections!
I'm wondering if one couldn't do some early 'pinching' on the taller forbs? With out having the benefit of all day full sun, wind whipping around them to toughen them up and possibly too fertile of soil, those plants will flop over. I like the suggestions here for holding them up.
Good luck milkweed with your project.
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Old 09-12-2009, 11:21 AM   #10
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I think additions of some grasses would be nice. Switchgrass and big bluestem would be nice behind. I think sideoats grama would also be nice (and shorter but sturdy) closer to the front and sides. I also like to throw whorled milkweed into shorter spaces where the flop occurs. If you like cultivars, you could go with rattlesnake master 'hobbit'. Color and texture with a shorter height. You have a lot of possibilities there!
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