Monday, April 17, 2017

My ugly mound gets a Southern Living makeover

When we bought our North Carolina mountain home in 2009, we inherited an eyesore between our driveway and the road.

We were not the original owners but we deduced a bulldozer had pushed a combination of soil from the woodland floor and builder’s sand away from the house, creating what we dubbed “the mound.”

Interestingly, the side of the mound facing the road is quite nice. It is home to a variety of native trees and wildflowers, even a flame azalea. The side facing the house is a different matter altogether, mostly junky sand and mica bits. For seven years we’ve worked with some success to give it a facelift. 

The plants arrive!

Now, the mound is about to go from blah to beautiful.

When the folks at Southern Living approached me for ideas on using Lorapetalums in my garden, I discovered two of the varieties were perfect for my landscaping challenge.

Purple Pixie® Dwarf Weeping Loropetalum grows 1-2 feet high and spreads 4-5 feet, and it loves slopes! Plus it isn’t terribly fussy about soil condition as long as it is well-drained and acidic.
Purple Pixie

In the spring, Purple Pixie sports pretty bright pink tassel-like blooms which contrast nicely with the handsome dark purple foliage. Because of the weeping habit, it is also an excellent choice for hanging baskets and containers.

To back up the weeping Purple Pixies, I chose Purple Daydream™ Dwarf Lorapetalum. In the past, gardeners may have shied away from lorapetalums because they didn’t have space for a 15-foot shrub. The new dwarfs have changed all that. Purple Daydream grows into a tidy 3’ by 4’ evergreen that is drought and deer resistant. It loves slopes, too.  (If you don’t have a slope to cover, these plants also make an attractive hedge.)

Purple Daydream also flowers in spring

Lemon Lime Nandina

For visual contrast I selected Lemon Lime Nandinas, Evercolor Everest® Carex and  ‘Real Glory’ Leucanthemums. I can testify the color of the nandinas is a dazzling lime green that will fade to light green during the summer months. The lime/purple color combination is going to be a traffic stopper.

‘Everest’ Carex has striped foliage with distinctive silvery edges – another striking contrast with the purple lorapetalums. When mature, the plants will form tidy, graceful 12-18 inch mounds. Once established, Everest will tolerate the dry conditions I sometimes experience with the mound.

Shasta daisies are always a garden favorite so I decided to have a bit of fun and add a few colorful exclamation points to my mix. ‘Real Glory’ features wide white outer petals and a frilly creamy yellow center. I can’t wait to see them bloom! They also make outstanding cut flowers and can last up to two weeks in a vase.

As of the first week of April all the plants are in place and looking right at home on the mound. 

It won't be long now until these lovely plants mature and my annoying eyesore becomes eye candy!


Beth @ PlantPostings said...

Oh, this is exciting! I'll look forward to updates throughout the growing season.

Lynn Hunt said...

I will keep you posted, Beth. It should be lovely if all the plants behave like they should!

Sunil Patel said...

Hello Lynn, we have Loropetalum "Firedance", which is a small shrub. We're actually on our second one as the first one succumbed to wind-rock in the winter. They seem to have quite weak stems and don't feel terribly "robust", I hope yours thrive though, I think the one we have needs more mollycoddling!

Lynn Hunt said...

Sunil, I think we are right on the edge of the zone for successful Loropetalum growing but I am going to give it a whirl anyway. One of the "creeping" ones is not doing well at the moment so we'll see!

Unknown said...

Hi Lyn! Been a long time! Speaking of a long time, I stated my New Dawn Rose back in Chevy Chase through your expert advise, moved it to a pot in a temporary pot in Georgetown and finally home on the water in Annapolis with a trellis to bloom and flourish! It has! Wonderful! And I remember you always when it blooms! This Spring I cut it back and thought I did a great job. Ready o gofer Spring. It is dead! I can not even believe it! No sign of life. I am so bummed.It looks so gorgeous on the trellis but no sign of life. I have no idea what happened. Any thoughts or ideas?
Thanks so much-- Carol Cowie
Carol Cowie

Lynn Hunt said...

Hi Carol!! So good to hear from you. I think of you often. Oh no, I am so sorry about your New Dawn. That is so unusual for an established rose to die like that. But I know you had a late ice storm, didn't you? That is the only thing I can think of. I've lost a couple roses from a late cold snap - several days of single digit temps in late March. I will ask a couple rose friends from the DC area what they think. You'll need to get a new one! I would dig out old soil and replace it just in case. Let's keep in closer touch!! Do you have my e-mail?

Unknown said...

Lynn, I can't wait to see your mound project as it flourishes. I adore the purple and lime green combination. Your ideas are stunning as always. Happy Spring to you and the hubby. Ann

Lynn Hunt said...

Thank you so much Ann! I was thinking of you just the other day.I love the purple and lime green combo as well. I will keep you posted on the mound. Fingers crossed! All the best to you and Neil!

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