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PE Mechanical Engineer
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am looking for suggestions for plantings along the front of my single story cottage in southeast MA. I'm trying to upload photos but I keep getting a "This is not a valid image file" error, but it's a jpeg?.

The area is approximately 6 ft by 18 ft along the front of the house, with the front door in the center and two small windows on either side. There currently are two old and ratty rhododendrons that are too woody to do well. I put some gifted knockout roses in a few seasons ago, took a lot of effort to get them healthy, and they got clobbered last winter. I'm looking to tear everything out and start fresh.

I'm basically looking for plantings that will meet the following:


  • Acidic, sandy soil. We have a lot of pines in the neighborhood. I've mixed in a lot of compost but it still is pretty sandy.
  • Sunny spot (right side sees sun morning through early afternoon, left side sees sun almost all day.
  • Appropriate for southeast mass, zone 6A. I'm not on the shore.
  • Drought tolerant is a plus. We get precipitation but the summer gets hot and the soil drains quickly. Organic mulch is not a great option as the foundation is low and I need to use stone to provide some termite gap. I'm looking at a light colored pea stone or similar.
  • Scales appropriate for the house. It is a small cottage and I can pretty much touch the gutter without a ladder while standing in this area. When I moved in there were massively overgrown junipers that were blocking the front door and completely buried the front of the house.
  • Minimal maintenance outside of seasonal pruning. I managed to get roses to do OK by seemingly daily pruning, watering, neem oil applications, and feedings. I like gardening but roses are too needy for my tastes and work schedule. Something that will actually be OK on its own if I leave for a month.
 

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It sounds like your soil is very similar to what we have in our yard. Have you thought of using Hosta's? They grow very well and require almost no maintenance - just cut the dead leaves down to the ground in the fall.

There is a huge variety of them, from 8" wide/tall to about 30" wide/tall.
 

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PE Mechanical Engineer
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It sounds like your soil is very similar to what we have in our yard. Have you thought of using Hosta's? They grow very well and require almost no maintenance - just cut the dead leaves down to the ground in the fall.

There is a huge variety of them, from 8" wide/tall to about 30" wide/tall.
Good thought, but the wife hates hostas. The house was surrounded with them when we moved in, all in terrible condition due to slug damage. There were slugs everywhere.
 

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PE Mechanical Engineer
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I get that when my photo is too big. I just open it in Paint and reduce the size. Then I'm able to upload it.
Seems to want to work today. Here is an old photo of the front of the house. There is no mulch in it now, but the size and shape are still correct. The azaleas on both ends are coming out too.
 

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PE Mechanical Engineer
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647 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
One plant I saw today (in front of a funeral parlor) that caught my eye, I think it is this plant, a Concorde Barberry.



There are other varieties that turn red toward the end of the season.

I'm also looking at American hollies, but I worry about their size. I've read that it gets up to 48' high and 48' wide, and grows like a tree.
 

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One plant I saw today (in front of a funeral parlor) that caught my eye, I think it is this plant, a Concorde Barberry.



There are other varieties that turn red toward the end of the season.

I'm also looking at American hollies, but I worry about their size. I've read that it gets up to 48' high and 48' wide, and grows like a tree.
Both are beautiful. I love hollies. Where I lived, in another cooler state, they were high bush size but it was a 100 yr-old house!
 
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