Plants for an enclosed bed

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Alice

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Plants for an enclosed bed
« on: June 22, 2014, 06:03:20 PM »
We have an enclosed bed on our patio, south-facing and partly sheltered from winds, though still somewhat exposed. Dimensions: 6m length, 1.80m depth and with a depth of soil of 80cm. At the moment it is planted with one of each: Pittosporum tobira, Plumbago capensis, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Nerium oleander, a jasmine and 3 geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum). The problem is that, although all plants grew well and are 1.50-2m tall, they are now showing signs of struggling, apart from the plumbago, which has become a thug and taking over the whole bed with runners. We are considering getting rid of the plumbago and perhaps replacing the geraniums which have become tall and leggy. In the past we also had a Lantana camara which became a thug as well and was removed.
We have thought of the following but have some doubts about them:
Campsis radicans or grandiflora - we have not succeeded with it in the past but have read that it can also become invasive;
Podranea ricasoliana -we used to have it in the bed before it was strangled by the plumbago;
Cestrum nocturnum - will the scent be too overpowering, considering it would be close to bedrooms?
Another jasmine - untidy? how will it cope with winds?
Bougainvillea - drops lots of dry bracts/ would have to be fairly compact.
Mandevilla laxa
Solanum jasminoides

Ideally we would like both colour and scent.

Any suggestions? Have members had negative experiences with any of the above plants in enclosed beds?
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

Trevor Australis

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Re: Plants for an enclosed bed
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2014, 12:08:44 AM »
That seems rather a lot of large vigorous shrubby tree-like plants for a space that size. The root competition would be intense to say the least. I presume you water it by some means? Do you need the tall shrubs and climbers for screening? If not I'd think about getting rid of the oleander and the plumbago so there's some room to grow smaller less vigorous plants that have either perfume or scented leaves. I'd replace the geraniums with pelargoniums with scented leaves. Campsis is a thug, Cestrum only smells at night and grows big in time. Pandorea??? Perhaps not a plant of the first order. Can you get Ismene bulbs? They have a pleasant perfume and should be fine facing South. What about Lemon Verbena? I find the leaves delightful to crush. It is a lightly structured shrub. For spectacle how about a Brugmansia - apply the smell test before buying as not all are perfumed tho' colour could be your first consideration. These do get tall, may get cut by frost but can be pruned hard. Hedychium could add an exotic touch.
M Land. Arch., B. Sp. Ed. Teacher, traveller and usually climate compatible.

Alice

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Re: Plants for an enclosed bed
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2014, 07:38:12 AM »
Many thanks for your reply, Trevor.
We are not thinking of adding all the plants I suggested, just two or three, and we are certainly removing the plumbago.
Yes, we do need them as a screen - may I add that at the back of the bed there is a 1.5m wall. The idea was that there would be a back row of sorts, providing the screen and a front row of smaller, more colourful plants. We water once a week in summer. I suspect that Hedychium, Brugmansia and lemon verbena may require more than this. We already have a lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla) in another part of the garden and it is no more than 20cm tall after 4 years.
I have no experience with Ismene bulbs but will investigate.
All suggestions welcome!
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

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John J

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Re: Plants for an enclosed bed
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2014, 08:57:30 AM »
Alice, many years ago I consulted a lady in UK who held a National Collection of Hedychium about growing them in Cyprus. She thought that they would be fine but warned that they were very greedy, very thirsty plants that would benefit from a good mulching every year. I do grow them under some mature deciduous trees in a sort of semi-woodland setting so that they are shaded from the worst of the sun in the summer and the leafmould that has formed over the years feeds them and is topped up every autumn.
Viburnum tinus is a useful shrub that needs little attention and will take being clipped back. The flowers have a delicate scent in late winter/early spring.
Viburnum suspensum is an attractive low-growing shrub with glossy green leaves and fragrant flowers.
Rhaphiolepis umbellata is also low-growing, flowers are followed by bunches of black berries.
Just a few that come to mind.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

Umbrian

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Re: Plants for an enclosed bed
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2014, 06:32:02 AM »
I would certainly recommend Solanum jasminoidesalthough the flowers are not scented. It is a delicate climber that rewards one with many flowers over a long period and would be good against the wall. For perfume I do not think you can beat honeysuckles but they need careful training and pruning to keep under control. I have Lonicera japonica'Halliana' and its perfume fills the garden for many weeks in the summer. It is very drought resistant. The odd Gaura or Verbena bonariensis placed between shrubs would give colour too although not perfume - also for summer interest you could sow some Ipomea seeds towards the back. How about Salvia elegans towards the front where its pineapple scented leaves could be stroked in passing?.....just a few ideas to add to the list :)
MGS member living and gardening in Umbria, Italy for past 19 years. Recently moved from my original house and now planning and planting a new small garden.

Jill S

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Re: Plants for an enclosed bed
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2014, 10:44:14 PM »
For contrast how about a couple of grasses? (I know, but given your conditions they would have to be REALLY tough to get out of hand) Daisy's 'Morning Light' looks lovely, another goody is 'Heavy Metal'. They would give movement and a different form as well as being light enough to 'see through'.












Member of RHS and MGS. Gardens in Surrey, UK and, whenever I get the chance, on Paros, Greece where the learning curve is not the only thing that's steep.

Kriticat

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Re: Plants for an enclosed bed
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2014, 09:14:49 AM »
For scent, effective screening and attractive flowers I'd recommend Trachelospermum Jasminoides, or Star Jasmine...it lives up to its name, I prefer it to true jasmine and it is easy to keep under control, unlike most climbers.
What about roses? They seem to do very well for us and give both colour and scent over a long period
20 years gardening on a handkerchief in London, now creating a much bigger plot in the south of Crete...much to learn

Alice

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Re: Plants for an enclosed bed
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2014, 08:27:11 AM »
Many thanks for your replies and useful feedback.
John, Rhaphiolepis is one to think about. And I will quiz you on your Hedychium knowledge on another occasion.
Solanum jasminoides is becoming one of the front-runners, Umbrian. I also like your suggestion about Ipomoea.
Unfortunately I am not a fan of grasses, Jill. We spend an awful lot of time digging the stuff up in May!
Kriticat, good to know that Trachelospermum jasminoides  is well behaved and provides most of the qualities I would like.
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

Umbrian

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Re: Plants for an enclosed bed
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2014, 09:02:35 AM »
Trachelospermum jasminoides, in my experience, does not withstand full sun and drying winds. Only when I planted it in a shadier, north facing spot did it thrive. Trachelospermum asiaticum on the other hand will take full sun but I find the perfume much stronger and heavier and much prefer the sharper, citrusy perfume of jasminoides. We all seem to appreciate/ sense perfume differently though. In an enclosed space it could become a problem, I cannot bear to sit at the front of the house when my asiaticum is in full bloom - it covers a large area of the wall and I find the perfume quite overpoweringly unpleasant.
MGS member living and gardening in Umbria, Italy for past 19 years. Recently moved from my original house and now planning and planting a new small garden.

Alice

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Re: Plants for an enclosed bed
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2014, 05:07:34 PM »
You've thrown a spanner in the works, Umbrian! I had almost decided that Trachelospermum jasminoides would be one of those chosen. It will certainly get full sun and a fair amount of wind.
I also understand that powerfully scented plants could be a problem in enclosed spaces. We used to have a Cestrum nocturnum in approximately the same area, before it succumbed to a summer with no water, and, although I liked the night perfume, others could find it overbearing. Something more delicate would be better.
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

Umbrian

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Re: Plants for an enclosed bed
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2014, 09:22:34 AM »
Sorry about the spanner Alice but that is one reason why this Forum is so useful I feel - to get feedback from gardeners with experience in Mediterranean Climate areas :) I have two Trachelospermum jasminoides in full flower at the moment and with glossy, healthy leaves. My first experience with them, planted in full sun was disappointing - far fewer flowers and dull, leathery leaves.
Roses have not been suggested and although they are not my favourite subjects due to the problems of rust, aphids, mildew etc I like the two highly scented ones I inherited in my new garden and have added Zepherine Drouhin. In an enclosed area one can really appreciate their perfume and  hopefully keep on top of problems.
Just another idea :)
MGS member living and gardening in Umbria, Italy for past 19 years. Recently moved from my original house and now planning and planting a new small garden.

Kriticat

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Re: Plants for an enclosed bed
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2014, 04:19:02 PM »
I know it's early days as we only planted it two years ago but our Jasminoides is in the full sun and drying winds that this part of southern crete can do as well as anywhere else in Europe!
It has glossy dark green established leaves, glossy light green new ones and has been covered in blossom until this week - it still has a few and has been impressive since the end of April.
Perhaps Umbrian had a poor specimen...I'd recommend giving it a try as the scent is delightful, and much less sickly than jasmine itself.
20 years gardening on a handkerchief in London, now creating a much bigger plot in the south of Crete...much to learn

Alice

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Re: Plants for an enclosed bed
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2014, 10:16:12 PM »
Thank you, Umbrian and Kriticat.
I agree that the Forum is so valuable because you get to read about people's experiences in a way you don't get from books. Very useful, even if the advice is conflicting! Anyway, T. jasminoides is back on the list.
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

Umbrian

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Re: Plants for an enclosed bed
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2014, 08:32:16 AM »
If you really want something I have always thought it worth giving it a try after all conditions vary greatly from one garden to another even within small areas.  I am trying to be slightly more cautious with the planting in my new garden however as I feel time is running out!!!
MGS member living and gardening in Umbria, Italy for past 19 years. Recently moved from my original house and now planning and planting a new small garden.