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Landscaping around the ring

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  • Landscaping around the ring

    I'm interested in doing some landscaping around my ring to spruce it up a bit. Maybe my neighbors won't hate me so much for adding a riding ring if I make it more presentable to the non-horsey eye.

    The ring is in full sun with no shade trees nearby. I would like to add some shrubs, flowers, etc. They would need to be generally fool proof (i.e. i'm no gardener!) and preferably able to survive the mild NC winters. Please keep in mind that I know nothing about plants, but would like to learn!

    I'd appreciate any advice, suggestions, pictures of your beautifully landscaped rings!
    ....Leo\'s Mom.....

  • #2
    Well Butterfly bushes work for me since they bloom ALL summer are hardy grown fast, will make a nice hedge and can be kept trimmed to any height. They attract hummingbirds...and yes bees...but the bees are way more interested in the flower pollen than you or the horses. I have them all the way across my yard as a visual buffer to ring.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yup, LOVE butterfly bushes. I'm putting in a bunch of the smaller ones
      http://parkseed.com/buddleia-lo-beho...19991/p/49281/

      My neighbors weren't at all happy about my arena either
      I wasn't always a Smurf
      Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
      "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
      The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

      Comment


      • #4
        The suggestion for Butterfly bushes is sound...they are very hardy, can be cut back severely each year, yet grow out nicely each season and have a long lasting bloom season. There are likely some other easy to care for plants that would compliment them, too. It would be a good idea to consult with a local nursery about what would be most suitable for your area for the given purpose as well as for limited care. And do note the full sun situation, too. (varios types of ornamental grasses also can be used to accent things)

        Comment


        • #5
          What about plants that mosquitoes don't like?

          Rosemary, lavender, and ?perennial geranium (can't remember the correct name ) spring to mind.

          Comment


          • #6
            Well, perennial geranium really is a correct name Pelargonium are the annuals, and hardy geranium or cranesbill is the perennial variety.

            Most of them are fairly short, but could be used as underplantings for what is often not a very attractive butterfly bush base (though you can make it more attractive by pruning to a more tree-like shape)

            Lavender can be tricky in NC, and even the varieties that take our heat and humidity better don't often live years and years. If you're closer to the mountains with less heat/humidity, you can do better.

            How many linear feet are you trying to cover?
            ______________________________
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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            • #7
              I planted redbud and dogwoods around my arena. For ground cover I used blue rug juniper.
              Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
              Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
              -Rudyard Kipling

              Comment


              • #8
                I used 2" crush. (insert sheepish grin here)

                Unless it's a few varieties of vegetables...I can't grow it. Not to mention my property is shady and the soil is very acidic. Laurel, hostas, rhododendrons, moss, pachysandra...that's my list of Crap That Will Grow Here If I Leave It Alone.

                Soooo, I stick to rock gardens outside of my vegetable garden. I haven't killed a rock yet.

                The rock doesn't look bad, it's a neat uniform look. Awesome for drainage/stopping erosion. But it's not going to thrill any true gardener with a green thumb.
                You jump in the saddle,
                Hold onto the bridle!
                Jump in the line!
                ...Belefonte

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                • #9
                  I always like the look of a "living fence."
                  I wonder how hard this is to maintain? http://oldsalemfarm.net/facilities

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    ahhh, so pretty!!

                    Maintenance could be difficult but it depends on the type of hedge you use. Many of these really only need twice a year pruning to keep their shape, but if you absolutely must have it looking shapely all year, it will require regular shearing, and for the linear feet, that's a good bit of work and subsequent cleanup.

                    But if you just need to keep it tidy-ish and not out of control, twice a year usually suffices.

                    I absolutely hate having to maintain things by regular pruning/shearing/clipping.
                    ______________________________
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Full sun perennial options that are prolific and nearly impossible to kill (from tallest to shortest):

                      Black Eyed Susans
                      Bachelor's Buttons
                      Day Lillies
                      Yarrow
                      Johnson's Geraniums (not to be confused with the annual version)

                      Bushes also nearly impossible to kill (I've tried):
                      Barberry
                      Potentilla (flowering)
                      Spirea (flowering)
                      Euanamous (caution, will also climb)
                      ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Just be very very careful with Batchelor's Buttons - in many areas of the country they are PROLIFIC self-sowers, and considered an invasive plant.

                        BESs can spread nicely as well, but they aren't invasive.

                        Love daylilies, but in many areas, so do deer

                        Barberry is another invasive plant in some areas, so check first
                        ______________________________
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by iluvponies View Post
                          I always like the look of a "living fence."
                          I wonder how hard this is to maintain? http://oldsalemfarm.net/facilities

                          pretty, but those hedges need to be cut at least once a year, probably more like twice. (best to put something like a sheet underneath when you trim it - with power trimmers of course - for easier cleanup)

                          Crepe myrtle.
                          They should survive NC winters, at least the roots. Around here they make huge bushes/trees if left uncut.

                          And yes, aside from the 2 I had cut down by the phone company, they are nearly indestructable!

                          Also, mulch and soaker hoses are your friend - and landscaping fabric!

                          I'd probably go with something like redbud, dogwood or crepe myrtle for the side closest to the neighbors, under plant with maybe the junipers or Azaleas, Rhododendron if they grow there....
                          Southern Living gardening book can give you an idea as to what grows in your area. Also, talk to people at a local nursery.

                          (heck, you could plant apples, cherries, pears, plums....bloom lovely in spring and you get a healthy snack later in the year!)
                          Originally posted by BigMama1
                          Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                          GNU Terry Prachett

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
                            I used 2" crush. (insert sheepish grin here)
                            That's the most common sense suggestion I've heard yet.

                            Now I've got to shove off - you see I bought 4 more Dogwoods this morning and really MUST plant them.

                            The ring is quite pretty though. Unfortunately, pretty landscaping does not make one ride better. Sigh.


                            For those looking for shrubs in the mid-atlantic - don't forget the Beautyberry!
                            Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                            Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                            -Rudyard Kipling

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JB View Post
                              Just be very very careful with Batchelor's Buttons - in many areas of the country they are PROLIFIC self-sowers, and considered an invasive plant.
                              Yes, they are invasive in my garden! But I really like them.... They pop up and establish in nice places. It's the darn yarrow I hate.
                              ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                That's the most common sense suggestion I've heard yet.
                                Well I'm not often called sensible! Here's a photo of my ring landscaping:



                                Nothing fancy. Basic, clean, simple. Kinda like me.

                                I LOVE the hedge-ring iluvponies posted. That's gorgeous!
                                You jump in the saddle,
                                Hold onto the bridle!
                                Jump in the line!
                                ...Belefonte

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Crepe Myrtles (or as Mr JB likes to say, creepy myrtles) survive very, very well here. the only down side, if you can call it that, is they need regular maintenance to look more tree-like and less shrub-like, in order to look more "proper".

                                  BUT, there are some lower growing shrub-type crepe myrtles that provide more cover at a lower level.

                                  Just be very careful about using azaleas/rhodies as underplantings. They are poisonous to horses. As well, they have different requ irements from CMs. Most rings have lots and lots of sun, and that fries the azaleas and rhodies as the weather gets warmer.

                                  Be careful about Beautyberry too! LOL If they're planted around anything garden-like, anything that doesn't get regularly mowed, you may find them EVERYWHERE. We have *one* BB plant, but have to pull up/dig up/relocate/donate/throw out hoards of volunteers every year.
                                  ______________________________
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by JB View Post
                                    Crepe Myrtles (or as Mr JB likes to say, creepy myrtles) survive very, very well here. the only down side, if you can call it that, is they need regular maintenance to look more tree-like and less shrub-like, in order to look more "proper".

                                    BUT, there are some lower growing shrub-type crepe myrtles that provide more cover at a lower level.

                                    Just be very careful about using azaleas/rhodies as underplantings. They are poisonous to horses. As well, they have different requ irements from CMs. Most rings have lots and lots of sun, and that fries the azaleas and rhodies as the weather gets warmer.

                                    Be careful about Beautyberry too! LOL If they're planted around anything garden-like, anything that doesn't get regularly mowed, you may find them EVERYWHERE. We have *one* BB plant, but have to pull up/dig up/relocate/donate/throw out hoards of volunteers every year.

                                    touche on the Azaleas.

                                    The creepy myrtles don't take too much care once the main stems are established though. If you let them grow relatively tall they can look rather stunning. But generally they are cut back to a certain height each winter/earl spring.

                                    But they can get BIG....
                                    Originally posted by BigMama1
                                    Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                                    GNU Terry Prachett

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Yep, some varieties are LARGE! But oh-so-beautiful when not lopped off. I have a funny link somewhere on the horrors of chopping CMs.

                                      There are some smaller varieities too that only get 8-10', and then there are the shrub-like types. I'll have to find that link...
                                      ______________________________
                                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Great suggestions! I wish I had an arena to landscape (and here in the desert SW, water to landscape with!)

                                        General tips for a novice gardener:

                                        1) Know whether your soil is acidic or alkaline. This will determine what grows the best. Check with your nursery, they will know.

                                        2) The labor you put into preparing the beds and holes will pay you back tenfold over the years. Do it right the first time, digging the right depth, wide enough around the plant (if it's not in a bed), adding lots of organic material, especially if your soil has a lot of clay or sand. Again, you can find out a lot about this from your local nursery.

                                        3) Be prepared to water for the first year while plants become established, if you don't have enough rain.

                                        4) Even if you don't get things planted this spring, remember that autumn is a great time to plant, as plants grow root systems over the winter and come in strong next year. Patience!

                                        With full sun, you have the largest range of options for plants. Have fun!

                                        Just day-dreaming about a landscaping plan...I'd do taller plants near the corners, stepping down to M and F, H and K, lower ones along the side, with maybe a slightly taller accent, or color, at B and E.

                                        Think about whether you want to hide the arena, or whether you want people to be able to watch, and from where. Leave observation points? Etc.
                                        Ring the bells that still can ring
                                        Forget your perfect offering
                                        There is a crack in everything
                                        That's how the light gets in.

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