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The foundation borders


Houston foundation border Nov 2017

Just like I don't much care for the look of a lawn coming right up to a privacy fence (witness the fence border gardens described on other pages), the appearance of lawn meeting foundation doesn't excite me either. Plus, it makes for difficult mowing. So I'm striving to separate the walls of our home from the lawn by flower borders, and thus far have made progress primarily along the back side of the house. Although these are not really a cohesive garden area, I put them together on this page; none of them is sufficiently large or diverse to warrant its own page.

The main foundation border area wraps around our downstairs master bedroom, whose back wall is gently curved with several windows, facing east. A subroof overhangs this part of the border, which contributes to generally desirable gardening conditions: morning sun, afternoon shade. This part of the border includes a hydrangea (Amy's favorite, so we had to try one in Houston), a star jasmine, and some miscellaneous herbs, flowers, and foliage plants.

Houston foundation border Nov 2017

On the left side, the border abuts the concrete back patio, while on the right it continues around the corner of the house to run along the north side for a ways. When I first dug this border, it was with the intent of providing a home for shade-loving plants, but I miscalculated the cruelty of the Houston sun, which is almost directly overhead in summer: by mid to late afternoon, its rays come around the front of the house. With minimal roof overhang in this area, that meant that my tender-hearted divas were exposed to harsh sunshine during a hot part of the day. That proved too much for a winter hazel I planted there, which bravely hung on for most of summer, but finally expired as autumn approached. Perhaps it wasn't a good choice for this climate in any exposure. Among the plantings that seem happy enough for now are an African agapanthus, a chocolate lysimachia, and confederate jasmine. A hosta also lived here fairly happily all through summer, although it seems to have gone into decline in early autumn.

The other section of foundation border is to the right of our patio, a short strip along the windowed wall of our guest bedroom that includes the backyard spigot. Since it too has favorable conditions, we chose to plant our azalea there. On a whim, I also set out the poinsettias from last Christmas, and have been impressed with how well they've done in the garden, although I'm prepared to lose them as winter cold sets in. A few ferns and foliage plants round out this small border.

Over time, I expect that these borders will extend somewhat (further) along the sides of the house, and get a little wider as plantings expand. Eliminating more bermudagrass sounds like a fine idea to me, so stay tuned.

Currently growing in our foundation borders

Acalypha pendula (firetail chenille; trailing red cattail)
Agapanthus africanus (lily of the Nile)
Anisocampium niponicum 'Pictum' and 'Regal Red' (Japanese painted fern)
Aquilegia chrysantha (columbine)
Aspidistra minutiflora 'Spangled Ribbons' (variegated ribbon castiron plant)
Bulbine frutescens
Caladium bicolor (angel wings)
Citrus limon (lemon)
Conradina canescens (wild rosemary; scrub mint)
Cuphea hyssopifolia (Mexican heather)
Curcuma cultivars/hybrids (flowering ginger)
Cyclamen coum
Dalea greggii (trailing indigo bush, Gregg's prairie clover)
Decumaria barbara (climbing hydrangea; woodvamp)
Euphorbia pulcherrima (poinsettia)
Globba winitii (dancing ladies ginger)
Gynura bicolor (Okinawan spinach)
Gypsophila oldhamiana (Manchurian baby's breath)
Habranthus robustus (Argentine rain lily)
Hedychium coccineum 'Peach' (narrow-leaf ginger; hardy ginger lily)
Hosta 'Wolverine'
Hydrangea macrophylla Endless Summer BloomStruck ('PIIHM-II' (hydrangea)
Incarvillea delavayi (hardy gloxinia)
Incarvillea zhongdianensis (hardy gloxinia)
Iris x louisiana (Louisiana iris)
Ixora coccinea (flame of the woods)
Jasminum nitidum (star jasmine; confederate jasmine)
Lantana camara (common lantana)
Ledebouria 'Gary Hammer' (false squill)
Lespedeza liukiuensis 'Little Volcano' (bush clover)
Leycesteria formosa (Himalayan honeysuckle)
Lysimachia congestiflora (creeping Jenny)
Manfreda maculosa (deciduous agave)
Manihot grahamii (hardy tapioca tree)
Mirabilis multiflora (showy four o'clock; Froebel's four o'clock)
Ophiopogon planiscapus (mondo grass)
Orthosiphon aristatus (cat's whiskers, java tea)
Oxalis regnellii (lucky shamrock)
Pelargonium 'Citrosum' (citronella, mosquito plant)
Petunia exserta
Plectranthus sp.
Rhododendron x 'Judge Solomon' (azalea)
Rhododendron x 'Midnight Flare' (azalea)
Salvia coccinea (scarlet sage)
Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips' (ornamental sage)
Senecio mandraliscae (blue chalk sticks)
Serissa japonica 'Kowloon' (tree of a thousand stars; snow-rose)
Talinum paniculatum (jewels of Opar)
Tibouchina urvilleana (princess flower)
Trachelospermum jasminoides (star jasmine; confederate jasmin)
Verbena 'Tapien' (vervain)
Yucca 'Color Guard' (Adam's needle)
Zingiber zerumbet (red pinecone ginger; shampoo ginger)

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Last modified: November 26, 2017
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