Since I am unemployed right now my HOA is going to hire me to do a small landscaping job. They haven't told me yet, but one of the board members mentioned it in passing.
The areas are small, just between two walkways, and will get full sun during the day.
There are SO MANY options I could choose from, which is both great and frustrating. How to narrow it down? Here's what I think I want to do: 60% will be French lavender.
With the remaining 40% perhaps Dittany of Crete or some kind of sedum ground cover, or a both.
I want both a combination of color and texture and shape. The French lavender leaves are narrow and dark green, while the dittany is round, greyish, and fuzzy. That sounds like a nice combo to me. The sedums come in all shapes and sizes, so either a grey one or a yellow-greenish one. However, if the sedum blooms, and I think it will, I'd want it to bloom white, pink, or light purple, just not red, blue, yellow, or orange.
I have't had time to do any research yet, but I figured you'd all have some input or experience t share. So I have a couple of questions:
1.) Can anyone give me any idea as to what I should charge per hour?
2.) Does the French lavender get too stemmy or woody? And does it die back to the ground each year or does it have stems that remain through the winter? And does it get as expansive as this photo seems to indicated? This is a small area -- long and narrow, so I don't want the lavender to dominate the other plants.
Any input on sedums? I don't want this one to be sure, as I think it looks to southwest for our property:
I am thinking about your questions. Maybe 10-15 per hour. You might want to check and see what other landscapers charge in your area.
I will think on the other questions you have.
Gardeners in Zones 8 to 10 get a bit of a Lavender bloom head start with the early blooming species which include Spanish, Yellow, Sweet, French, Allardii, Goodwin Creek Gray, and Woolly Lavender. With the exception of Woolly, these Lavenders start blooming early to mid spring. Spanish and Yellow Lavenders finish up after four or five weeks, with the others blooming for a bit longer. All of these do best with a good pruning about four or five weeks into the bloom cycle, discouraging these large Lavender bushes from becoming untidy and encouraging a second sweep of blooms. The variation in fragrance, size, color, texture, and flower heads among the Lavenders in this group make it a truly exciting group of plants. All you would like to know about Lavender is on this site.
Wow, lots of info there. Thanks.
I read through most of that. It really boils down to what is available at the nursury. But it looks like 1.) it will require more care than I anticipted, and 2.) it may be too much plant for the area. These areas are two rectangles, so longer than wide, and maybe 2" wide and 3.5" long. It may be that lavender will be too much there.
Excellent article, Steph, and so full of information and photos.
Our lavender gets pretty woody, looks almost like sagebrush. It is not French lavender, which I did have but died in a winter freeze. I think we have Spanish lavender, which is great because I love scented leaves. The flowers are purple.
Sedums are great for dry places. The one you picture is like one in my yard too - yellow flowers. You can use a variety of sedums, for variety, or all one kind which is more dramatic. Most sedums are freeze tolerant and dry tolerant.
I've never heard of Dittany. That's a cool looking plant!
Not knowing the Dallas climate, some daylilies can be very nice, like tufts of grass when not blooming, but also with nice flowers. They are usually pretty tolerant of anything.
I also like some of the ornamental grasses like blue fescue and mondo grass, and some of the better behaved ornamental bamboos.
Anyway, your choices sound great to me. I'm just mentionng things I've seen around here.
For this section, my selections have to be heat tolerant. They'll get full sun and are surrounded by concrete, which will make the general area much hotter. That's why I'm looking at sedums, to be sure.
Dittany of Crete is related to oregano, but it is not edible.
Have to pass on daylillies, as I just don't like them for some reason. I don't mind some fountain grasses at all, but here's my major problem with our complex: We are all brick and we have Mansart roofs, which makes us look very European-- kind of old world. For that reason, certain things just don't match our style, even though they'd probably do well in this climate. Plus, I'm very opinionated about what I think does or does not look good.
IMO, some of those fountain grasses look too coastal or too architecturally modern, and I don't think they'd go well with our property. Plus, we have mondo grass out the wazoo over here, so no more grasses if I can help it. (Though I do like them as accent grasses, like the blue fescue you mentioned, I just don't think they suit our property).
Also, cacti and succulents, as well as the yucca which are popular down here, just don't go well either. Neither does bamboo, in spite of the fact that I love the Japanese fountain grass. The only exception are succulents like sedum, which may work fine.
Also, some things are just too old lady-ish, in my opinion, like hydrangeas, except for the Oak Leaf hydrangea, which would suit out property very well. The oak leaf pattern would fit fine, and it would give us an option to plant a large-leaved plant that doesn't look too tropical, which would also be unsuitable. However, for the spot I'll be working on this wouldn't fit anyhow. The OLH will need shade in Texas.
Wildflowers are also out of the question, as that wouldn't fit either. So that's why I'm looking at herbs. I do like the bushy rosemary plants, but they can be really unpredictable in how they grow, and would require maintenance, I think.
I sort of like the gayfeather, which is kind of grassy, but not entirely. Only, I think it's kind of expensive, and only comes in larger containers.
Looks like gayfeather bulbs need to be dug up and put in the fridge in hot climates: http://video.about.com/landscaping/Gayfeather-Care.htm
Unfortunately I like almost every plant I see. Except certain weeds. You could plant some fig trees - They have figs in much or Europe, especially France Italy Spain Portugal Greece Turkey. I would push Ginkgo varieties which I do every chance I get, but most grow very big. Europe is big on geraniums, which are heat tolerant but wouldn't survive a cold winter..... There's rosemary, which is edible. Artichokes..... quite sculptural, but large. Olive and citrus...... Don't know if they live in Dallas. Fan palms survive here, zone 8, as does rosemary, lavender (except french). Agapanthus can be nice. They survive the winter here about 75% of the time. Do you have a color scheme? That will narrow it down.