I am re-working a planting scheme for a commercial project that I want to share with you. It is a financially based move designed to accomplish three things.
First, the beds currently get a full treatment of annuals for the summer. These have historically been mixed with the hostas and astilbe that are established throughout and then in the fall we take out the annuals and replace them with mums. It is completely typical in New England for property managers to plan for three season plantings (spring summer and fall), but it is expensive….sooooo for this project we are trying to re-think and eliminate the fall planting….
1. Blue Hosta, 2. Ajuga reptans, 3. Carex ‘Evergold’, 4. Variegated grass sea, 5. Groundcover #5, 6. Epimedium, after the rain, 7. Hosta ‘Francee’ 01, 8. Astilbe chinensis ‘Vision in Red’, 9. Groundcover
The second goal has to do with snow removal. The beds that this design is for are adjacent to a parking garage and the property owner would like to save costs by scraping snow off the top and letting it fall to the ground below rather than trucking it down and out of the garage. So we are removing all the shrubs and plants that can get crushed in lieu of herbaceous perennials only.
And finally — the client asked for simply ground cover — suggesting ivy or pachysandra and even grass. I simply could not in good faith put these plants in and the grass, where a colorful display once was, is just so sad that none of us could bear it. Ivy is rat heaven and pachysandra never looks as good as you might hope and both are boring. So I have come up with this palette to address the need for a ground cover planting on shady snakelike berms in a commercial setting. My goal to to provide something that is low maintenance, perennial, sophisticated, green and textural. I would use Hakonechloa macra ‘beni kaze’ so that I get a shot of red color in the fall. What do you think? I’m happy to take suggestions for tweaking…..