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deep shade-rocky poor soil  RSS feed

 
Leah Sattler
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I have this area. a portion of it currently is the site of my temporary qoat quarantine pen and I had my layers in a dog run over it for a few days (that has to be moved often or it gets icky of course). it is rocky in a gravel rocky sort of way but has some depth in the topsoil. ( I can actually drive a t-post in all the way! ) but is certainly not loose friable super root freindly. it is in the shade of several large oak trees and one tree of questionable species. it is also next to what is and will be again a concrete pad for a basketball goal so whatever I plant there is bound to eventually take a little bit of a beating on occasion.

I wish to put something there. doesn't have to be edible although that would be cool, but it has to be non-toxic (azaleas crossed my mind at first) something that won't croak if it gets beat up occasionally and that won't mind the questionable soil or shade and will even thrive in it without much intervention. something that could be started from seed would be awesome too because I really don't have the money to spend on container plants. unless it is somethign of a very inexpensive variety. (another reason I thought azaleas....I can pick them up for a few bucks per container on sale usually ........darn their
toxicity  )

 
Brenda Groth
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this is my standard shade plant..and it is edible..aegopodium or snow on the mountain..
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it will spread and take over the area..i grow mine in a mulch of whatever is handy..generally the leaves that fall from the tree..if you want to put in something under the oaks that would supply food..on the far side put in a few blueberry plants..away from the goal..and put some large large large bottom cut out pots around them..to protect them from the groundcovers if you use them..that will also concentrate the acid soil ..you can mulch the blueberries with oak leaves and pine needles..and they'll simply love it there..

gravel is a good drainage system..so if the soil is that fertile..you could grow just about anything there..hostas..ferns..wintergreen..cranberry if you water it well..evergreen ground covers like cr junipers, myself i think i woud do a variet..but if you use the aegopodium WITH OTHER PLANTS ..protect the other plants from the aggressiveness of the aego..as it will take over a garden..

that is why i LOVE it under trees where nothing else will grow...it will grow in a heavy pine needle mulch under evergreens or a heavy leaf mulch under any other tree..just rake all the tree leaves back under the tree and go for it.

i have it all over the place..but if it gets loose in your garden..only the strong will survive it's roots and smothering capabilities..(which means it will keep weeds down once it is established..as well)
 
Dave Boehnlein
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Location: Orcas Island, WA
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Leah,

What hardiness zone are you in?

Dave
 
Gwen Lynn
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I dunno why you'd want azaleas, other than being able to pick them up cheaply. They can be such a pain in the butt, and I don't think they like heavy soil in the least bit. I had such trouble with Azalea lace bugs, they were so pesky, I got tired of my azaleas after a while & gave them away. Such prima donnas! 

Are you wanting to do a shrub or ground cover or...? 1st thing that comes to mind is English Ivy. I don't know anything about it's toxicity, but I can give you all the starts of it you want. I'm need to pull a bunch of it off my pine tree. It's grown up the trunk too high!

Dave, Leah is in zone 7, but summertime is really hot, (even in the shade) and probably dry. Winter time will likely have zone 6 tendencies. Just depends on the winter! Much of Oklahoma is in a fluctuating hardiness zone. Nothing blocks the north winds & nothing stops the summer heat.
 
Dave Boehnlein
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Boy...Oklahoma plants are not a list I'm terribly savvy with...especially with the parameters of poor soil, deep shade, wind tolerance, and hardiness zone 7!

I punched the parameters into the Plants for a Future website (http://pfaf.org) and the link below has the options their search engine spat back at me.

http://www.pfaf.org/database/search_prop.php?HABIT=Shrub&HABIT=Perennial&HABIT=Bulb&HABIT=Corm&HABIT=Fern&HARD=1&HARD=2&HARD=3&HARD=4&HARD=5&HARD=6&HARD=7&PS=1&SHADE=F&MOIST=D

Do any of those sound like they will tolerate your heat? The ones I'm familiar with are Rose of Sharon, Oregon grape, holly, privet, cotoneaster, & Lily of the Valley. However, I'm not sure about heat tolerance in any of these. One other item on the list that I've read about quite a bit, but not experienced is Elaeagnus x ebbingei. It sounds like an awesome plant! If you can grow it in your area, I would recommend trying it. I think you need to have another Elaeagnus (I'm not sure which one) to pollinate it.

Let us know what you think of the suggestions from that list.

Dave
 
Leah Sattler
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as far as heat goes.....its really a matter of just trying it for the most part. most things as long as they generally aren't finicky and have strong root systems will come back ok even if they get a bit irritated in the summer. I'm afraid of snow on the mountain!!! do you think it would crowd out some shrub like plants?

so far.... this is what I want to do.....

elaeagna - I want to try and find the most edible variety

lilly of the valley - i didn't know about making a wine with it! and it sounds like it has some well documented medicinal qualities that I was unaware of.

and I would like to try a variety of witch hazel. I tried to grow a witch hazel plant at the old house and stupidly followed the 'partial shade' recomendations and watched it burn up. I called the 'gardening guy' , a local  oklahoma gardening talk show host  and he said..nope.....put it in shade shade in oklahoma. I love the flowers and it has lots of general uses. 




hopefully I can put together an aesthetically pleasing and useful area.
 
Brenda Groth
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no it won't crowd out shrubs or trees or even sturdy perennials like daylillies and iris..just the more soft vegetation like herbs and vegetables and soft perennials like say hmmmmm... well i can't think right now what i've actually had it crowd out..

it grows like a strawberry from runners and groups of leaves..and has a flower on it that resembles queen annes lace..the greens are edible raw or cooked ..but i have never eaten them..

basically you can plant snow on the moutain (aegopodium) with any pretty tough plants..all woody plants..all trees and shrubs..it will shade the soil well..also grows well with vines..grapes clematis..etc..and doesn't bother them at all..

it grows about 18" tall and quite thickly ..so it shades out shorter plants..like say violets or lily of the valley..lower growing things..it doesn't necessarily attack and kill them..just makes too much shade for them..

so I wouldn't put it with really low growing plants..it does quite well with other invasives that are in the same HEIGHT range..like ribbon grass which is also a green and white invasive..they are kinda pretty together..and it is great around shrubs beautiful with white flowering shrubs..makes a great WHITE garden..works well with hostas if the hostas are the LARGE kind..not the little puny ones..as it swamps them.

works well with daylillies..which are also edible..and anything basically that grows taller than 18" ..so it can find some air up there.

the photo i had ..had a maple tree, wood bine vine, and mock orange with the snow on the mountain..and you can see where the lawn was mowed it basically stopped..also we leave the maple leaves where it grows..there is a thread on here..you'll have to look back on old pages for it..on aegopodium and tells about eating it.
 
Brenda Groth
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here is some more aegopodium growing under evergreen trees in pure pine mulch.
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Here is another deep shade area on the North side of our house..different plants..hosta, fern, filipendula, goatsbeard, etc.
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here is a photo under an apple tree that is in shade..but has a slope by it..it is mostly violets, hostas, ferns, poppies, etc..


other things I have growing in shade are ajuga reptans, missouri primrose, hardy geranium, vinca, and ivy as ground covers..i'm sure more when I can think.

 
Dave Boehnlein
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Leah,

Here's an article you might want to check out if you're going to go for the Elaeagnus spp.

http://www.pfaf.org/leaflets/elaeagns.php

Dave
 
Gwen Lynn
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Regarding Lily of the Valley, I've been growing it for years. My sister sent me some pips 8 - 9 years ago. It's in a good spot, gets mostly shade & is on the north side of a building. I don't think it's very heat tolerant at all. It only flowers in early spring & if we have a hot spell, the flowers are short lived. It has never gotten as "invasive" as I would like it to!

During long summer hot spells, it all but disappears, especially if I don't supplement water. I suspect that our winters aren't cold enough to suit it & the summer dormancy retards it's growth. I've noticed several different plants don't grow as well here as they did up north because their isn't enough chill in my sandy loam.

My aunts had L of the V in their IL garden & it was like a weed. They used to pull it out of flower beds it was trying to take over & it was green all year. They also had that really rich, practically black IL soil. That soil grows everything, holds it's moisture too. My dh always notices how black the soil is whenever we visit the area.

You are more than welcome to try some of mine. I'll dig you some pips anytime.
 
Leah Sattler
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I really want something that will be good and strong so maybe lilly otv isnt' the best choice. I was thinking last nite that It might be a great place for a patch of bee balm. the goumi and the witch hazel surrounded by a sea of bee balm sounds really nice. a little bench would finish it off. right now it a real eyesore area as well as just a simple waste of ground.

I suppose the odds of finding any variety of elaeagnus locally is nil. I hate ordering things off the net.   

brenda your plantings are beautiful! I hope to someday turn this place into as rich and diverse botanical enviroment as you have  yours!

 
Gwen Lynn
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A pal recently gave me a book called Oklahoma Gardening, by Steve Dobbs from OSU. I'll look thru it & see what I find that sounds appropriate. I know you'd like something useful and not just ornamental. That's the tricky part, along with the rest of the conditions that need to be met. I'm looking at my L of V right now & thinking, why did you never take off? 
 
Brenda Groth
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well it is true i do NOT know much about Okla gardening..hope that book can help you find out what you need..I think that the bee balm sounds absolutely lovely. I haven't tried growing it in shade here..but i imagine it would do ok..if it got some sun..

also putting a bench with bee balm..hummingbird haven !! my red bee balm is like my hummers favoirte plants !!
 
Gwen Lynn
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Bee balm is a great plant & does really well here. It's a winner! I think it will need a little sun, to get decent bloom. Gardening here does have it's challenges, that's for sure. Hot, dry shade has always been a tough one for me.
 
Leah Sattler
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ok here is my pipe dream plan. since the monarda and the coneflower are on the southern most side they ought to get a little sun but hopefully the heat will be somewhat mitigated by the nearby shade. and they are both pretty care free once established. the coral bells (I like the maroon variety)are something that have always been really easy for me and done really well in the shade without any interference although they might appreciate a little compost here. of course the elaeagnus will hopefully spread and create a nice back ground and provide some bird and people food eventually. the fern are just cheap shade fillers that will give me some green and be good shelter for some of my beloved toads and frogs too. these might be replaced with a witch hazel variety at some point but right now I have to keep in mind expense. I can propagate many of the things through cuttings or splitting or it will just spread like crazy like...... the snow on the mountain sounds like it will be great for the especially difficult area between the garage and storage (the soil really sucks there) and prevent an annoying weed wacking routine. and the privet should do ok their too and create some height and more good bird cover as well as smelling good when they bloom (some debate that!) 

I forgot to label the bench beside the coral bells and in front of the elaeagnus with a rock path/pad leading to it. so I have a place to sit and be lazy in the shade and watch other people throw a basketball 

 
Brenda Groth
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Wow I think it is a great plan, i can imagine sitting there on the bench with an ice tea watching the ball game going on..which end of the pad is the bb goal on ..the south? I see you have your worm bin in the shade on the n of the storage building..good plan there..any escapees will LOVE the snow on the mountain !..

also that is a good area for that..as you won't be worrying about it spreading with the garage there it will hug the foundation of the garage and shed so happily..and be pretty with the privets..

read up on the eleag and make sure they are NOT the thorney type..some are..most aren't..you don' want thorns near your play area...what kind of ferns are those that you are using there? Ferns will make it have a cool feeling even if it isn't cool..ferns just give that fern glad feeling....same with the coral bells..the humming birds are going to LOVE it also..they will love the coral bells and the monarda ..also butterflies..your daughter will love to go there to play.
 
Gwen Lynn
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This is so weird! I swear I posted something on this thread last nite. Oh well, I probably forgot to hit post. My neighbor has some variegated privet. It's on the north side of his house & no one ever does anything to it. Once in a while he'll prune it at the wrong time of the year & then it won't bloom It makes a pretty hedge, and because it's variegated it really brightens up the shade. I see you have golden privet on your plan, I don't know if I've ever seen that one anywhere.
 
Dave Boehnlein
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For variegated varieties to brighten up the shade you might want to look at Elaeagnus x ebbingei cultivars 'limelight' and 'gilt edge'.

Dave
 
Leah Sattler
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cool ! I didn't notice a variegated variety of the elaeagnus anywhere yet. I might be stuck with whatever I can find as far as that goes though. I wonder how easy woody cutting from them are to propagate?

brenda - thats what I was thinking with the snow on the mountain. it is almost in a completely contained area there and it is just a weird spot that is difficult to maintain so it will be great to have a troublefree groundcover there.

I think I will add some elephant ears in there somewhere but I haven't decided where. I don't know about what kind of fern. I often find quart pots for a few dollars each with ferns. when my mother in law planted some they started coming up all over the place so I am hoping they will really fill in the holes.
 
Brenda Groth
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When I just clicked on this thread to read the newest posts, I was looking at your picture again and I noticed the gorgeous view ..hadn't really seen that before was more or less looking at other things. wow what a great view.. !!! Is that view to the North? If so, you might want to avoid filling it up with anything that might block the view..and orient your bench to take advantage of the view..might have to remove some of the dying branches at the bottom of that one tree to clean up the view a little from your seat on the bench..however..what a nice thing to be able to see from your little bower !

Also you mentioned ROCKY soil and I do see a lot of large rocks. Had you ever considered piling them off to the side and then when you get enough, making a dry stack stone wall ? It appears that the ground slopes off just a little beyond the tree to the right toward the drive?  If you were to stack the stones down the slope a little..you could backfill them up to the tree for a more level area there..and maybe have some plants cascading down over the top of the stone wall there..a good place for lizards and snakes..i love snakes..they also eat bugs.

I'm seeing a bench under the tree, a lush garden around the tree...and a cool lemonade (or was that a beer bottle?) tee hee
 
Leah Sattler
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I plan to have that area be a little cozy nook. another somewhat difficult area in the picture that follows I dream of creating a spot to sit and enjoy the view. the previous owners threw most of the rocks they moved under these trees. quite a few scorpians under many of the rocks I have been harvesting the rocks out of their for various uses. If I had a good way of lugging them out of the feilds I would go get those but until I come up with a quad and trailer or something that is not happening. I am debating whether I would rather just fence off an area including this one and put a few goats in there.



views to the S, SW and SE from this spot.


 
Dave Boehnlein
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Leah Sattler wrote:
I wonder how easy woody cutting from them [Elaeagnus] are to propagate?


We've had great luck propagating most of the Elaeagnus via semi-ripe cuttings in mid-late summer. You should definitely try it. If it doesn't work you could try bottom heat (e.g. set the cutting tray on top of a nice warm compost pile, etc.)

Dave
 
Leah Sattler
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thanks dave! I really like to hear that someone has had actual experience and success before I get my heart set on something. now I fee like I can find and purchase one, more established plant, and then make some babies with it.

does forsythia have any use? other than just looks of course .....which I shouldn't discount so easily...  I think it would be great for planting on some of the steep sloping parts by the drive to help hold the soil (ha ha ha... like you can call that stuff soil) I know it is propagated easily and I even have a source for cuttings...
 
Brenda Groth
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Leah, instead of hauling those rocks away that are around those 2 trees, I..me..but just my opinion..would use them to make a short rock wall around the trees in a kind of kidney shaped or oval thingy..and then I would be dumping good stuff in therer around the trees..not too deep over the roots or near the trunk..but closer to the rock wall itself..building it up into a shallowish raised bed..gotta be careful not to build up too much around a tree..

and then I would be planting that with something doggone beautiful and healthy too..maybe some melons and squash or some perennial flowers..

your views are gorgeous..are those mountains? what mountains would they be..any names to em?
 
Gwen Lynn
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Thought I'd post these pix of the variegated privet in bloom. It has a wonderful, almost buttery smell. Tried to get the honeybee in one of the pix, but the wind kept blowing the branch around, so I didn't get a very good shot of him, but he's there. Threw in the pic of the juniper berries for fun. They are a really pretty blue, but look a little pale in the bright sunlight. Leah, if you'd like me to try and start some cuttings of this, just let me know. I know you have golden privet chosen, but didn't know if it was a freebie. Free is always good! 
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