Foundation Plants For a Church

by Patricia
(Connecticut)





For more detailed, professional help with designing your front foundation planting, take a look at my ebook Designing With Evergeen Shrubs. There's even a sample page! It also shows you how to mix evergreen shrubs with perennials.





I am planning a planting along the foundation of our church, a Baptist church built in the 1860s with a steeple. The church is tall. The exterior of the church is white vinyl siding, and the foundation is of thick blocks of stone. The planting area is about 40 ft long and 8 ft deep and in full sun. I have enhanced the soil with compost and had the ground tilled. I need some plants that are evergreen, somewhat resistant to deer, low maintenance, and about 3 ft tall. I have thought of boxwood, holly, or juniper. The plants shoud be in character for the church. My favorite is holly, but this may not be possible because of the deer. The church is on a busy street so deer is not an overwhelming issue, but possible. Any suggestions? I would appreciate any advice you may have. Thank you.

ANSWER

Thanks for contacting me and visiting my website.

Since the bed is rather deep, shrubs along the foundation with plants in front of them as another layer would look nice. I would use Boxwood 'Green Velvet' as the background layer. It does not get too tall, it's evergreen for winter interest, and it is deer resistant. There aren't too many choices for shrubs in the front layer to get a nice look...those that are lower than the Boxwood, like the sun, and are deer resistant. I don't know how you feel about this, but would you consider low maintenance perennials? It would provide lots of color, textures and interest, and in the winter the Boxwood would provide the greenery.

If this is something you think you would want, let me know and I'd be happy to suggest some particular perennials and arrangements.

Patricia's Reply

Thank you so much for your insight and speedy reply. I believe the boxwood is the way to go. I have looked at pictures of "Green Velvet" and it would be a good choice, compact and the foilage is attractive. If you could give me some suggestions for perennials, I could add them to the border. The mix would be attractive and low maintenance. With much appreciation.

ANSWER

Hi Patricia,
I believe you said you had 40 feet in length. Here is a conceptual layout.
Starting at one end, use 3 Coneflower. These should be one of the medium to taller varieties and can be either pink or white (all the same color). Then I would place 3 Nepata 'Walkers Low'. These will stay relatively low and bloom most of the season. You could then use 3 Fountain Grass 'Hamlen towards the end. This will give you late summer/fall interest. If you have the space I would consider adding in a Lilac between either of the groups or on one of the ends. Add another taller shrub to balance it, or a group of three on the other end. Another option would be to add an ornamental tree on one end and three Lilacs on the other. This will frame the area...I am assuming the ends of the bed are at the corners of the Church. You can see photos of some of the perennials here.

Perennial Flowers

If you like some of the others, you can choose them instead...just make sure the textures are different from each other and they have some height.

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"Susan,  what a pleasure it was to work with you.  You made me feel like I was your only client - responding late at night and always so quickly!  Your design is amazing and we only hope we can do justice to it when we plant.  You have such fantastic ideas and you are so open to suggestions and changes.  Loved working with you - now if you could only come to Canada and plant it!!!"
Helen, Ontario-Canada 

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