Planting under northern eaves

Started by Vanessa - 2106 Thursday, 12 April 2012

The front of my house, which is purplish grey in colour, faces north. The problem area is the bed under the eaves, which currently has some long-suffering, westringia in it and that is it. This summer I planted a white crepe myrtle on the grass in front. Around the steps at the front of the house, I have planted an Indian Hawthorn hedge, underplanted with red pentas, euphorbia "hip hop" and salvia Santa Barbara. There are also two Scarlet O"Hara red bougainvillea. But I thought it might be too dry to continue this scheme under the eaves ... plus I like to mix it up!!! Generally the front garden colour scheme is purples, orange, yellow, white and red (anything bar blue and pink). I have a "tropical" sort of theme with cannas, pentas, hibiscus, abutilon, strelitzia, cordyline, liriope, gymea lillies, various daisies, grasses, coleus ... What do you think would look nice in the dry spot? Something that could get to at least a metre tall would be good?

Deirdre - The Compulsive Gardener Sunday, 22 April 2012


Hi Vanessa - you"ll need something pretty tough there as it won"t get any rainfall under the eaves. I know you have Salvia leucantha "Santa Barbara" elsewhere in you garden but I wonder how a hedge of it might look there. It is such a tough plant! I will attach a photo of a hedge of it growing in the garden of my friend Kerrie Babian - which is stunning! Deirdre

10dril - 3146 Monday, 23 April 2012

Hi, I"ve got the same themes as you but in reverse; the tropical reds yellows etc. in the back and the mauve, pink, blue and Englishy things in the front. I"ve also got the same problem as you with a poor garden bed under the eaves. The person put the concrete border under the eaves as well, so that no water can fall into the bed and be reached from further back under the eaves by plants there! Very dumb. So I"ve ignored that bed and just planted everything in front of it. However it"s still dry. And I"ve been racking my brains for something tall to put in there, as all the things so far are clumpy or prostrate [lavender, low white geranium, white tiny daisies, violets]. I have a lot of irises in a bed at right angles to that and so there is a bit of a silver/purple/white theme. Well I think I might have a solution and I hope you will forgive my mentioning it before researching it properly. I saw some mother-in-laws" tongues in a big shopping centre...to be continued...

10dril - 3146 Monday, 23 April 2012

continued from prev these echo the iris strappy leaf shape and the colour too, and they look very striking. Like the irises, they are a silvery colour and are tall and they look dry tolerant. I think they might suit your situation too, as your house colour and the purple would both look good with wide strappy blue-grey-silver foliage. But it"s all a matter of taste. Some might think they look a bit scary, so powerful do they appear.

10dril - 3146 Monday, 23 April 2012

...Sansevieria https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sansevieria

Libby - 2093 Monday, 23 April 2012

You could try a hedge of dwarf abelia or Carissa macropcarpa or Correa "Alba". Carissa work beautifully in my garden. Plectranthus argentatus or phlomis would work well if you are after a more relaxed look. For a more tropical look Odontonema (Acanthaceae)would work well. Hope this helps. Libby

Margery - 2087 Monday, 23 April 2012

I have found that very few plants are happy under the eaves particularly when it starts to get shady as well. The best ones I have found are any of the raphiolepis species or hybrids and any of the liriopes. Margery

Deirdre - The Compulsive Gardener Monday, 23 April 2012

Vanessa - a suggestion made by a friend of mine after she looked at your photo - is it possible to expand that bed - ie remove the grass up to the path? Maybe mass-plant one of the suggested shrubs for the back near the house (I agree with Libby that the Carissa is a very tough plant) and then plant some lower things in front? It might then be possible to have a more cohesive planting.

Vanessa - 2106 Monday, 23 April 2012

hi Deirdre. unfortunately I cannot expand the bed as there is a concrete run off channel in front of it. that is why i thoughto of breaking into the grassy area around the crepe myrtle

Richard - 2112 Thursday, 26 April 2012

Hi Vanessa, the Mother in Law"s Tongue would be good, as it really does love it dry, and there are a range of leaf colours and patterns available now, and they will spread to fill a bed over time. Also, given the tropical theme, perhaps some of the larger bromeliads might work well, particularly the alcantarea"s which are happy in more sun than most (including full day sun), will reach a metre or so, and come in some pretty striking leaf colours (silvers, purples etc). Some of the coloured or variegated cordylines or dracaenas may also work, either the clumping cordylines, or the taller cordylines or dracaenas in the middle between the windows to give you a bit of height - I think they all do okay in a fairly dry spot. There might even be some succulents such as some of the aloes, or perhaps good old fashioned Agave attenuata, which is as tough as old boots. Some of the cycads might also be worth a try in this location, as they like it fairly dry.

Vanessa - 2106 Friday, 27 April 2012

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. In the end I have gone with a mixed planting of Purple Fountain Grass, Euphorbia Hip Hop, White Agapanthus and red Salvia Microfolia Mesa.

 

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