Entry Garden

“Entry Garden”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


When I started working on an entry garden, the large magnolia tree cast deep shade, and the grass was thinning out something awful.  There were also shallow roots from the tree creeping towards the edges of the little grass cover there was.  I decided enough was enough.  I used the drip line of the tree which corresponded with the thin grass line as the edge of the entry garden.  I made a corresponding shape across the sidewalk to match, and this was the beginnings of the garden. 


One of the difficulties of this garden is that it is in shade most of the day but does get intense sun for about four hours in the summer around noon time.  Deciding what plants can take shade and a short time in full sun was a problem.  Too much sun for most shade tolerant plants and not enough sun for sun loving plants to bloom.


I edged the outline with lirope.  This has helped slow down the rain from washing away soil, and now, the grass has thickened up considerably.  I added some soil, but because of the tree roots, I could not add that much.  I do what I call pocket gardening.  I dig a hole, add soil and then the plant.  This way I do not distrub the tree roots.  Every year I do add about an inch of amendments and gradually the soil is improving.



This is the left side which has the magnolia tree.  In the back I planted holly ferns because they will stay green all year.  In front of them I planted red amaryllises, again, because they have leaves through the early winter.  The big clump in the middle is pineapple sage – Golden Delicious.  Aztec grass, is also evergreen and helps give some color in the winter along with the cool season annuals.  Mystic Spires salvia, Lady in Red salvia, Limelight artemesia, ageratum, Ace of Spades and Marguerite sweet potato vines, and red ruellea “Rajun Cajun”  have all survived the winter.  This year I planted more Gingerland caladiums and, also, red wax begonias as the hot season annuals, and they have done well. In the past, begonias have not survived for me.  It may be that I over watered them before.



The right side repeats the same plants with the exception of the holly ferns.  Cleyera was already in the garden, so that is the evergreen background here instead of the ferns.  The Gingerland caladiums show up better in this photo than the other one does.  This side also has a red bleeding heart vine, coral bean tree, and celrodendron trichotomum in the back right of the photo.  Mexican Feather Grass is in a container on a stand.  I can’t decide if I want to plant it in the ground.  This grass gets so long, and I like the way it weeps down over the pot.


These two beds have filled out nicely, and I think after three years, I finally like what I see as I walk to the front door.


  1. Jean said,

    June 13, 2008 at 12:51 am

    You have a lovely blog. I found you via Bill Stanley’s – another lovely blog! I will be back for more. Keep up the good work.

  2. Jan said,

    June 13, 2008 at 3:07 am

    Thanks, Jean. I’m glad you stopped by.

  3. Nancy Bond said,

    June 13, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Your beds look wonderful and must be a nice greeting when you approach your door. The use of lirope as edging was excellent!

  4. Randy said,

    June 13, 2008 at 10:05 am

    What cultivar of Liriope do you use? It looks so much shorter than mine. I love it, but I’ve refrained from using it around my beds because the one I have gets about 14 inches tall. Your bed is beautiful, of course everthing I see from you always is, you have a definite eye when it comes to such things.

  5. Jan said,

    June 13, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Thanks, Nancy. It is a nice way to be welcomed home. I have edged just about all of my beds with lirope. It seems to give a settled in look even to new areas.

  6. Jan said,

    June 13, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Randy, the liriope I have as an edging is Liriope spicata or creeping lilyturf. I know a lot of people say that it is not a good edging because it spreads by rhizomes. I really do not have a problem with that even with our long, wet growing season, but there are a few cautions. When I plant liriope as an edging, I break apart a clump and plant one sprig next to another. If there is a runner, I plant that runner in the direction of the edging, not into the bed. After about a year or two of growth, I cut it back in late winter and usually every year after that. This seems to keep it under control. If any starts to grow into the bed, I make sure and pull it out early. I usually only have to do that occasionally though, and then I give it away if there is no new bed I want to do. If it starts to go into the lawn, the mower takes care of it.

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