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Old 05-25-2013, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Bangor Maine
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I recommend Jacob's Ladder for spreading but not sure how it would do in MO. I got one plant from my daughter in NH and now about 3 or 4 years later I have 10 or 12. They bloom in our spring here in New England and have pretty foliage with tiny light blue flowers that last quiet a while. As mentioned by another poster black eyed susans will spread too and their blooms last quite a while.
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Old 05-26-2013, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
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Since the pool surround is concrete, the nearby soil is probably alkaline. Hopefully any splashes of treated water from the pool will be minimal. Depending on other conditions, you can try:

Any mildew-resistant phlox paniculata

Oriental Lilies - if the soil drains well. Any oriental, but no lilium tigrinum/lancifolium since they can be a carrier of viruses to other lilies... if you have other lilies in the yard, they may be dangerous to have around. If you do Not have other lilies and the area is a little wet, tiger lilies would be great. You can get them in dark red, the plain orange, pink or white.

Echinacea purpurea
and cultivars.

Lavender - Many herbs are perennial and like alkaline, well-draining soil. I think lavender may be one of those plants better planted in Spring, and allowed to establish well before it gets cold. IE I keep killing it...but I'll recommend it anyway.

Peonies, herbaceous - These have pretty flowers and seem to grow almost anywhere. The foliage shrivels in late summer/early fall for me and looks ugly, so you may want to plant other items there as well. A variety of colors and forms to choose from and many are fragrant.

I would try at least two different plants in case one dies since the conditions seem a little harsh.
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Old 05-27-2013, 09:47 AM
 
Location: SW MO
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Thanks for all the suggestions! The area has good drainage and doesn't get much splash since we seldom have kids over-mostly adults that like to float around or swim laps. I really like gallardia so may try a mix with those in it, as well as some coreopsis. I am not a big fan of black-eyed susans or purple coneflower, since the stems always seem kind of straggly to me. Red and yellow is one of my favorite color combinations for gardens. I may take a sample of soil to the extension office to check Ph, since there is so much concrete there. I have access to lots of well-composted donkey manure. Amending the soil first would probably be a good idea.
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