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Old 05-21-2012, 10:24 AM
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Dogwoods make a beautiful understory tree for spring accent color.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:03 PM
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
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I'll suggest my mom's suggestion to me for a slope: Daylilies

They're edible - shoots in Spring, flower buds and flowers. Oooh...whenever you may be required to "subsist" you can eat em. The roots are supposedly edible, as well.

They're salt-tolerant - I personally use sand instead of salt, but I see you've got a sloped driveway.

They're pretty - and BOY are there tons of cultivars...The plain orange ones are borderline invasive (I got lot from the previous gardeners in my house, god bless their souls for the lovely plants I inherited), but they'll grow in sun or shade. The cultivars appear to be generally a little less aggressive, but do multiply nicely.

The blooms and foliage of DLs are pretty, but don't last all year. I'd suggest using them with a bunch of other plants. Another sunny/dryish/slope plant I'd recommend is plain thyme. I am growing it on my sunny slopes and it loves it...blooms in Spring and tastes and smells yummy.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:19 PM
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
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Ooh..wait, I have more:
1. Amsonia = pretty blue flowers...and seems pretty strong in the roots...able to hold a slope. Native to our area. I can recommend the a. tabernaemontana (our native).

2. Tradescantia - I loooove Sweet Kate..it was evergreen during the mild winter, and it is also a bodacious plant. Mine are in partial sun...and doing well, so pls double check the requirements. BTW...the plain tradescantia are supposedly edible.

3. Hosta Plantaginea - They're FRAGRANT, and the hosta family from China, I believe. Unlike hosta seboldiana (sp?), these normally can take a bit more sun...I am growing a couple in full sun and partial afternoon sun, and they're still kicking. Did I mention hostas are supposedly edible as well?

4. Coreopsis - like options 1 and 2, you can easily find the native cultivars of these for our coast. I am growing threadleaf coreopsis (A cultivar, but I forgot the name) and lancleeaf coreopsis. The lanceleaf I grew from seed, and it is BODACEOUS and blooms in sun OR shade. I understand these reseed superbly, so hopefully you like yellow.

5. Native deciduous azaleas - How could I forget these? I fell in love with them last year! They're apparently more popular in the south, I guess. These can take full to partial sunlight, come in YELLOW and unlike the (albeit awesome) Asian cultivars, are oftentimes Fragrant.

6. Oakleaf Hydrangea - Can take dryer soil and a bit more sun...but not too much, I don't think. Lovely red colors in Autumn.

7. Yucca - Salt-tolerant as well, and may be great for a slope. Gorgeous flower spike when they're happy. I am growing a couple in full-sun to partially sunny areas.

I just had a plantgasm.
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:39 AM
Location: On the Ohio River in Western, KY
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Originally Posted by lifelongMOgal View Post
If the OP wants some edible landscaping in the areas along the edge consider some blackberry and gooseberry bushes. Because they are thorny they are good "denfensive" plants as well as giving you something back in return rather then just eye candy.
I was thinking the same thing with edibles.

There are some gorgeous ornamental kale, that is just breath taking! Also there are low covering ground cranberries as well.

Here's the ones I was remembering from my gardening catalouges.

Pilgrim Cranberry | Other Fruits | Fruits | Jung Garden and Flower Seed Company

Elderberry Offer (1 Of Each) | Elderberries | Fruits | Jung Garden and Flower Seed Company

Organic Christmas Basil | Biltmore Organic Herb Plants | Herbs | Jung Garden and Flower Seed Company

Glamour Red Hybrid Ornamental Kale | Flowering Cabbage & Kale | Annual Seeds | Jung Garden and Flower Seed Company

Black Olive Ornamental Pepper | NEW AAS Winners | Jung Garden and Flower Seed Company
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:36 PM
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sigh... Hobokenkitchen please understand the advice you get here can sometimes be very far off base as people tell you what they want to plant instead of what will work in your conditions and your home. I'll try to keep in mind that you don't want things to grow back in and fill up the space, much as it would be tempting to give you a long list of plants I love and have grown in similar conditions. Knowing the zone helps some because you can rule out plants that would be killed by winter cold or would dry up in heavy heat. Zone 6 is a nice middle ground!

You need plants that will thrive in at best part sun/shade conditions which is why I was trying to steer you to the woodland type plants. Garden standards like Hosta and Astilbe and newly popular Heuchera thrive in the mixed sun and shade conditions in your zone. The sunnier spots may be good for dwarf physostigia (aka obedient plant) since mine thrived in almost the same conditions in my old garden-zone 5. These are relatively easy to grow so it shouldn't be a big step from the urban jungle you are used to. Make sure the soil is dig-able before you buy anything, I'd hate to see you trying to dig into roots while your plants lie wilting nearby. Feel free to ask about anything when you are ready to plant.

LifelongMOgal had a really good suggestion for dogwoods if you want fill that isn't as dense as the evergreens were, but they will slowly grow taller than shrubs. The spring blooms make it worthwhile to have a few. The blackberries, though, might be marginal unless in the sunnier spots. I do like the idea of deterrence. LOL

Many of the suggestions seen in the last 2 responses are for plants that need full day sun and one or two of those that can tolerate part sun will more easily develop powdery mildew (for example the coreopsis) or become floppy (amsonia)in your shaded conditions. You also do not need to worry about salt tolerance in Buck's county the last I heard.

I'm glad you like the idea of the vinca ground cover, as it is a tough little plant that will spread and cover everything if it is happy. Just make sure you look for the right kind. Bear with me on the explanation why I am saying this because things get complicated in the plant world at times! The "myrtle" mentioned earlier may actually have been the same perennial vinca ground cover you like since it has sometimes been called "myrtle" or creeping myrtle. Note this isn't true myrtle (by its latin name it is Myrtus). There are a handful of plants that have very mixed up names and unfortunately "vinca" is one. There are perennial vinca (aka myrtle) which is also called Vinca minor. This is sometimes also called "periwinkle" because the old standard was a pretty little blue flower but now also comes in white. Clear as mud yet? It only gets better!! There is a Vinca major (aka Big Leaf Periwinkle) as well and it is a vining plant that likes the same conditions. These both would work for your slope as a good erosion control and green cover and are the ones recommended, however, if all that wasn't enough confusion a distant cousin of these is also called Vinca! This would be the annual vinca which is found a lot at the box stores and nurseries and is also called Madagascar Periwinkle. It is not a vine, thrives best in full sun and looks a lot like impatiens at a distance. It would be alright anywhere you had sun for more than 5 hours but it would die in winter. This is the one not to get for what you want.
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:35 PM
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I just love Dogwoods - we had a big one in our Hoboken backyard which was simply stunning. I am not sure we would want them around the berm though, if the sie of the one we used to have is anything to go by!

Very useful ino on the Vinca - I guess we should go to a proper nursery for them to make sure we get the right kind? Or are they something that can be ordered online? I am slightly dreading how much all these necessary plants are going to cost, but i guess we can do it slowly and add plants here and there. I would love to get a plan from a landscaper with some sort of a plan to make it look really nice with different plants and different heights, etc, but we have SO many expenses within the house right now, that I'm not sure it's realistic to spend a fortune on the berm. It's a little frustrating as I really would like it to look good!

Thanks again to everyone for the suggestions - very much appreciated!
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Old 05-23-2012, 04:18 PM
Location: On the Ohio River in Western, KY
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If nothing else works, you can always grow English Ivy there, it will grow in acid, in the desert, in snow, in ANY condition it seems, and will cover fully, lol!
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:17 PM
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
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As an alternative to plants which may be invasive to PA, the OP may like to try uva ursi or chrysogonum. I'm growing both of these as groundcovers as well in partially shaded and fully shaded (chrysogonum) areas.

The chrysogonum even grows under the roots of maple trees and has pretty blooms in Spring. The uva ursi/kinikinick(sp?) is medicinal and has edible berries. Both are native to our area (NJ/PA/MD).

If cost is an issue, I'd suggest classygroundcovers.com. The company sells larger groups of plants for pretty reasonable prices. The quality and service are great, as well.
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Old 05-30-2012, 02:59 PM
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What a gorgeous transformation you've made in your home, Beautiful. I would suggest the Vinca that is a ground cover and perhaps you could try seed since you have such a large space. I would suggest something that naturalizes, like lillies, hosta, catmint, snow on the mountain....and the ground cover too. You don't want to have to disturb the slope for a few years by having to walk around pruning things. If you have a nice neighborhood, perhaps go around and introduce yourself to your new neighbors and tell them you are planting the area. You'd be surprised how many folks will contribute flowers/plants to you. You could also ask friends and relatives that are close. I helped 2 neighbors do this it is wonderful fun, and everyone takes an interest in the health and beauty of your area. Great was to save a bit of money too. Another ground cover that is awesome and wonderful smelling is lily of the valley....naturalized....it is wonderful. You could do a monet w/ that space, and what a lovely addition that would be.
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:35 PM
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On a visit to a local botanical garden I noticed that they were using dewberries and strawberries almost exclusively for ground cover under trees. I suspect strawberries need more sunlight than the OP's slope allows but the dewberries may just work.

Dewberry - Gardenology.org - Plant Encyclopedia and Gardening wiki
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