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Gardeners, help me choose some plants...

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I need to fill a bed at our lakefront cottage. The raised bed has been filled with very sandy soil and shredded wood. The bed is about 3 by 20 and is in full sun. It will get little maintenance, as the cottage has different occupants each week. Dogs will be tied out nearby, so it can't be poisonous. It will be stepped on from time to time. It will not have an easy life :)


Pretty would be nice :)


Any ideas?



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If that bed were here in Texas, I'd opt for Asian Jasmine or Lirope grass. Both can take sun, shade, heat, cold, and abuse of all sorts.


You are in a way different zone that me, though.


I'd go to an one independent garden nursery with some photos of the area. Ask questions and tell your story. They will have good recommendations for your area.

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Coreopsis would be good too.


from http://www.soonerplantfarm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/specials.specDetail/recID/22/index.htm

The Coreopsis is very easy to grow and will tolerate any soil except waterlogged soil. It prefers lean, sandier soils and requires little watering once established. Full sun is preferred for prolific blooms. Very little fertilizer, if any, is needed, especially once established.


This is the variety I had, at another house:

'Moonbeam' produces masses of bright yellow flowers all summer long. A very popular perennial used extensivly in gardens and Landscapes. Emerald green foliage is very thin and fern like contrasting well with the small daisy like flowers. A very heat and drought tolerant variety.


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I have to second the nurseryman's vote, because I'm getting the impression this is in Michigan? Is that true?


Sedums have a hope of surviving. So do some ornamental grasses. Blue Sea Holly is very striking, but parts of Michigan are in zone 3. It can't make it in zone 3.


What hardiness zone is this flower bed in?

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HA!HA!HA! Concrete! I would love to tell clients that at times! Just to see the look on their faces...

Why wood chips? Do you mean properly aged mulch? Does it look like coarse compost or fresh from a tree?

Get a few bags of compost, you'll need it.

From the sound of what you are growing in, he was partly right, sedum & concrete would thrive there.


So, this is what you can do. You'll be doing xeroscaping. Fancy sounding isn't it.

I will throw a bunch of names out there, not common names they vary by region. You can take your list back to a proper garden center and buy whatever they have that is hardy in your region. Did you say water front also? If so, there's the whole salt spray factor also (I have that here also, clients feet from the bay, sound or ocean depending on town)...

Do you have deer?


some Astilbe varieties do fine in sun.

Leucanthemum (daisy)

Nipponamthemum (daisy)

(perennial, looks nothing like the annual) geranium




Ajuga is a groundcover

Allium (any variety, chives, garlic and those gigantic purple globes on very thick stalks are all Allium)

Dianthus (many times found in annual flats- are a perennial here in 6B)


Echinacea (not my favorite plant but will do in this area)

many Hostas do well in full sun


Phlox subulata- is the evergreen groundcover (paniculata is the disease prone upright, and absolutely beautiful)

There are TONS of new Rosa rugosa varieties that are doubl;e flowered, in different colors and fragrant, you could do the whole bed in that and walk away happy.


Columbine (for the life of me cannot remember the latin name!)




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I should also mention- anything you plant this year will need water, even sedum.

Get some soaker hose and a nelson digital timer to hook up to your spicket. Duct tape it shut so no-one plays with it.

Not all of the plants I mentioned are xeroscaping, but will do perfectly well in this spot. If you pack the bed with nice plats it will be obvious not to walk there. If you make a border with one type of plant, any old dullard will know to walk around (we use this on commercial properties in the tourist area we live in all the time and it usually works- there no accounting for the die-hard-dullards though! LOL)

Have fun & hope there are a few open weeks for you to use the property!


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Wow. You all are great. I am planting only sedums and some ornamental grasses this week, but I am printing this and will add more through the summer.


I think we are in zone 6. The cottage is in Michigan, on Lake Michigan. No salt, but occasional high wind and brutal winter weather. I'll try to attach a picture.



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