Monday, April 4, 2011

Halpz! - Part One (Exterior Bushes)

SO I spoke with the mortgage guy, and he said we're all but a go.  :)  Yay!!  I'm still not considering it ours until it comes out of underwriting with a stamp of approval, but I'm letting myself get excited again.

And in honor of this, I've decided to start plotting.  I already sort of have an idea of the interior, but the exterior is kind of all over the place.  So I need your thoughts/advice/personal choices.  I'm focusing on the front right now, since that's going to be one of the first places I tackle on the outside.

The painters pretty much destroyed the palm tree up front, and it didn't really go with the whole theme of the house.  i can't figure out what the theme is yet, but despite my love of palm trees, I agree with husband that it just didn't

It wasn't in the best shape before...

...and it's in even-worse shape now.
Plus, it wasn't the sago-palm look I like anyway.  It just looks sad and mopey.  And the rest of that area is barren:

So...what to plant here?!

I spoke with husband on the matter, and his words were pretty much, "I don't care.  The less I have to mess with it, the better.  I trust you implicitly that you'll make it gorgeous."  Which is awesome in terms of letting my creative juices flow, but sucks in terms of having a HUGE range of options to go with.

So I'd like to plant two bushes on either side of the breakfast nook (last photo above), replacing the sad palm.

Me and husband both agree that we want to bring color to this area, but keep it pretty neutral in terms of the paint colors that are already present.  Meaning, I don't want to have a bunch of vibrant colors going on that take the eye away from the house.  I'm intending to stick in the blue-purple-white category.  Thankfully, this keeps a pretty wide range of available stuff to plant!

Here is where I would like some feedback.

1) What bushes should I plant?  I'm pretty much trying to decide between two.

A) Mandevilla are gorgeous and bloom from spring to winter (which is great), are heat and drought tolerant, but I believe their cold tolerance only goes to 35F(ish).  I'd probably have to worry about these babies when it dips into the colder weather.  This one is probably my favorite.

D) White Annabelle Hydrangea don't require a lot of work for the area they'd be planted in, and I think they'd bring a bushiness to the area when they aren't in bloom.  They can get overrun with flower-balls (that's what i call them :P) if you don't prune, but they're apparently otherwise very hearty.

So vote! Mandevillas or Hydrangeas!


Lori said...

Having worked on a Flower farm, my suggestion would actually be Hibiscus. They are a hearty bush which bloom very beautifully. They attract the right kinds of bugs (polunating). Be careful with bushes because some of them actually are spawning ground for mosquitos and no-see-ums.

Another great suggestion are crape myrtle to replace your palm.

I am making suggestions based on plants/bushes, which do not require a lot of care, but provide beauty and the right nature.

Keep your bushes low for security sake and surround them with woodchips. Before you plant, dig down a bit and place layers of rich mulch. Then place black plastic covering (large plastic bags work),then plant whatever bush you choose. Then cover with woodchips. This will discourage weeds, termites, snakes and make for much easier maintenance. You know how I love to garden. Anytime you need ideas, please call me.


Travis said...

Is this beside the walkway going to the front door? If so, I'd skip the hydrangeas and mandevillas. Mandevillas are VERY aggressive climbers and need support to go verticle. Hydrangeas (which are some of my favorites) probably wouldn't work in this confined space because they can get pretty bushy and are quite tempermental.

In a space this size, I'd look at doing one of two things. First would be to put down pavers between the sidewalk and the house. Not the most attractive option, but will help with run off from the roof, requires almost no maintenance, and can be complemented with potted plants.

The other option would be to do a slightly raised bed for planting small perennials or an aggressive ground cover (alyssum is a good choice). The advantage of perennials is that you can change the color and look every season really cheap. For height, take a look at Texas Star Hibiscus. They almost look like green bamboo with beautiful red blooms most of the summer and will get around 6' tall. I have several in my back yard if you'd like to see them.

With this particular area don't get anything too big or it'll block your entry. Also look at the amount of daily sunlight and drainage. Both are important for obvious reasons but mulch or dirt in this area could be carried by run-off making a muddy sidewalk and muddy floors.

Let me know when you get to the more wide open area. This could be fun.

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