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Playground planting plan

Posted by Dawn Isaac on 12 Feb 2010 at 05:56 PM


My brain is aching.  If I'm honest, this may be due to the copious amounts of wine I drank last night. However, it could also be something to do with planting plans. 

Don't get me wrong, I love plants.  I love growing them, discussing them, reading up on them but it's the need to make actual decisions about them that I abhor.  It's like sitting in a sweet shop, all ready to gorge yourself, when you remember that you can only select a dozen or so sweets and... no... you can't have those, they're the wrong colour... or those, you know they make you come out in a rash... and definitely not those, don't you remember they turn your tongue purple?

Today I've been facing restrictions galore.  I've been trying to come up with a planting plan for the children's play area we're developing in the village.  Sounds fun?  Think again.  Here are just some things I've had to consider...

Making it relatively low maintenance (possibly the least welcome phrase in the garden design world)

And wildlife friendly

And colourful

Plus being tough enough for an exposed site

And full sun

And probably a pretty rubbish soil (although we will do our best to improve this)

Oh, and if it could look good all year round that would be nice....

After a couple of string painkillers and an afternoon in which my frown lines went deeper than any Botox injection could reverse, I have at last got a plan.  Here's the plant list.  Do feel free to tell me where I've gone spectacularly wrong, but please do it in hushed tones, I'm still feeling a little delicate...

Phormium tenax purpureum

Stipa gigantea

Stipa tenuissima

Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light'

Allium 'Purple Sensation'

Allium sphaerocephalon

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm'

Achillea 'Cloth of Gold'

Hemerocallis 'Burning Daylight'

Hemerocallis 'Black Emmanuelle'

Sedum 'Purple Emperor'

Stachys 'Silver Carpet'

Centranthus rubra

Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace'

Kniphofia 'Minister Versschur'

Acanthus spinosus

Crocosmia 'Emily McKenzie'

Helianthis annuus 'Black Magic'

Helianthus annuus

Verbena bonariensis

Veronicastrum virginicum 'Fascination'

And yes, I know that's quite a few more than a dozen.  And, OK, you have a point, herbaceous perennials hardly scream 'low maintenance'.  What's that?  Sunflowers won't stand an exposed site?  Ummm.. well, yes, perhaps you have a point.

Look, I tried OK?

I'm not very good with sweets either...


Playground planting plan - Dawn Isaac Help said:

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on 12 Feb 2010 at 08:59 PM

jeanne in oakley said:

Sounds lovely but as it is a playground I would err on the side of caution and leave out the day lilies as they are potentially poisonous. check out the following for plant toxicity

on 15 Feb 2010 at 05:26 PM

Edit said:

How about some buddleja instead? Children would love the droves of butterflies and as far as maintenance goes it only needs chopping down once a year. It will grow pretty much everywhere, and if children pick the flowers it will just grow some more :-)

on 16 Feb 2010 at 02:06 PM

Dawn Isaac said:

Jeanne - and there I was getting all excited because daylily flowers are apparently edible!  I'd better recheck that...

Edit - I have to admit I have a bit of a problem with Buddleja - perhaps because it does seem to grow pretty much everywhere I am beginning to think of it as a weed.  However there are some more unusual species such as Buddleja globosa which I rather like - not least because the flowers resemble scoops of orange ice cream (and what child can resist that).

on 17 Feb 2010 at 10:09 PM