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Problem: steep slope. Solution: ground covers that "crawl and bloom."

The site was impossible: a fully exposed south-facing slope with rocky soil. The client's request made the challenge even worse: she wanted a lush, richly textured entry garden with lots of bloom. Landscape designer Scott Mantz was stumped untit owner Pam Johnson tossed out, "I want it to crawl with bloom!"

Mantz went looking for everything that crawls and blooms: you see what he found. Crowded with bloom every spring, this garden also has intermittent spots of color year-round.

First, sizable slabs of limestone were set in place to form a broad, gentle stairway to the entry. Then several cubic yards of rotted sawdust and manure (to find them, look in the yellow pages under Topsoil) were layered over the slope and worked into the soil.

Finally, planting from flats and 4-inch pots began. Ajuga went between the stone slabs and out into the slope to simulate naturalizing. Achillea tomentosa, armeria, doronicum, heuchera, Juniperus conferia, Lysimachia nummularia, Rubus calycinoides, saxifrage (shown in the photogragh above), and Vinca minor battle it out on the rest of the slope, gaining territory where they can. If something gets out of hand, Mrs. Johnson just cuts it back after it has bloomed.

Boxwood edges one side of the steps; Yucca recurvifolia flanks the entry at the top, as do a pair of Acanthus mollis in large terra cotta pots. Here and there, berberis and evergreen azaleas form mounds.

In summer, the slope gets watered every ten days or so, at sundown. In early spring, Mrs. Johnson liberally scatters 1010-10 fertilizer around the plants. Beyond that, the garden fends for itself.
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Publication:Sunset
Date:Oct 1, 1988
Words:266
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