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I Need More Short Plants in My Garden

When you look at my garden in full bloom during spring and summer, it appears I only like tall/medium height perennials and shrubs.  I say this because I really only have a couple short perennials and ground covers in the garden, with the exception of my hostas, heuchera and hellebores (all planted in the shade garden).  Because the main part of our garden redesign includes removing the hedge from our front walkway and adding a new front path, I’ll have a lot more room (and need) for full sun short plants and ground covers.  As you can see in the picture, I also have a new garden space to the left of the grass that will need some shorter plants too.

So far my plant list includes bergenia, hardy geranium, ajuga and creeping jenny (along with more hostas and heuchera).  I’d love to hear what short perennial/ground cover plants you recommend (hardy to zone 8a) that I can add to my full sun and part shade gardens.

Our front yard will have  much better flow when we’re done.  I got a little ‘hedge crazy’ when I first moved in, so we’re removing the small hedge that runs along the walkway to the front door. Don’t get me wrong, I still love hedges, just in a larger yard/garden than mine.

Leaves = New Garden Bed

I’d like to get working on our redesign, but the ground is still frozen. Until then, here are a couple of my inspiration pictures for our side yard that I took at Remlinger Farms a couple months ago.


So far I’ve receive quite a few great recommendations from Twitter.

@AnniesAnnuals has a great online catalog everyone should check out! They gave me the following plant recommendations: Heirloom dianthus:, ;  Alpine strawberry w/ chartreus foliage: ; almost turquoise CA native penstemon: goes perfect with this CA native poppy: , scabiosa is a bee magnet & bloom machine: ; sidalcea for some height! ;geraniums would be fab, especially the more unusual ones:,,

@marykir recommended I try helianthemums in the sunny spots and epimediums in the shady spots.  There are also some agastaches, salvias, coreopsis, and teucriums that are supposed to stay under 18″.  Someone near Queen Anne library has slope covered with varieties of golden/reddish groundcover sedums, short grasses, and heuchera.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great suggestions so far. There are lots of heucheras that take sun, Lamb’s ear or Ladies Mantle. Scabiosa will bloom for a really long time here so that is a great one.


    December 13, 2009
  2. And I was just thinking that I really need to work on my taller evergreen type plants. I have none. I have ferns in the shade but the sunny side needs some serious help this time of year. It is dull low and dull. Did I mention dull? You know because it’s really dull right now.

    Angela I am so eager to see what plans you come up with for your yard. I plan to have a lot fun watching your progress. I grew penstemons for the first time this year and they bloomed for me right up until this freeze killed them.


    December 14, 2009
  3. I came for the snow, but stayed to comment on the path. I love the boxwood lined path and natural fence.


    December 14, 2009
    • To tell you the truth, the hedge removal along the path was a compromise to get more garden space (and remove more grass). I will have a formal hedge garden again but in a much larger yard. I love, love, love our natural fence/hedge that keeps our yard private from the street. It’s one of the major reasons I bought the house. We are planning to trim it a lot this year since it’s getting a little wide. It’ll still be tall since I love how it gives my front yard a secret garden appeal (and blocks the house across the street). Oh, and thanks for checking out my snow!!


      December 15, 2009
  4. The short plant that I just fell in love with this year was…cabbage! No kidding, I threw a bunch of red and winterfurst savoy cabbage in my front perennial beds and they look magnificent even now. Plus, I get to eat them.


    December 15, 2009
  5. Here is a few photos of my cabbage close up – but they look much better from a far as the “second in line” behind the bergenia, sedum and fleece flower.

    PS: Like you new snowy theme…and the bright green one before that.


    December 15, 2009

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