New Gardener, Need Design Help!
Hi guys. Zone 7b, North Carolina, USA. I'm just getting my feet wet in this "gardening" thing. So far, I have a pretty brown thumb, but I'm trying to learn despite myself.
My first big project is a brand new garden on untouched clay soil. We have acidic soil here (5.0) and it's basically pure clay.
The first step is to create said garden: I've already scalped the area of grass and weeds, ordered a cubic yard of excellent compost, and have 3 cubic feet of peat moss. I maaay be able to get a little free expanded shale, but probably not enough to help much. I'm just working on getting someone to till the clay then till it again with the additives. Everything will be mulched with pine bark mulch. Please take a moment here to consider anything else that I should do to prepare!
Attached is my garden design plan. You'll note the lack of actual plants. I have no idea what I'm doing as far as designing goes. The tree is a brand new river birch, planted about 3 weeks ago. The area immediately around it will not be tilled, obviously. Its spread is not as big as in the image--the spread shown should be its adult size. The light green overlay in the upper right is the outside spread of a mature sugar maple that slightly overhangs the area.
I'm looking for help on plant placement. A list of plants that I'm looking at is below. I'd love some help plotting where they should go or crossing some off the list as "not for beginners." The woodland, mixed look is more my style than perfectly manicured rows of soldiers.
And thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide!
|Blue Flase Indigo||Baptisia australis||3'-5'
||Full Sun, Partial|
|Butterflyweed for Clay||Asclepias tuberosa var. clay||2'-4'||F,P|
|Purple Coneflower||Echinacea purpurea||3'-4'||F|
|Black Eyed Susan||Rudbeckia hirta||1'-3'||F,P|
|Sweet Black Eyed Susan||Rudbeckia subtometosa||4'-6'||F,P|
|Prairie Dropseed||Sporobolus heterolepis||2'-4'||F|
|Ruby Slippers Dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea||Hydrangea quercifolia NA 74836||3'-4'||P|
|Gardenia||Gardenia jasminoides||5-6'||F, P|
|Viburnum: Spring Bouquet Laurustinus||Viburnum tinus||4-6'||F, P|
|Rhododendron 'Blue Diamond'||R. augustinii × 'Intrifast'||3-4'||F|
|Caryopteris 'Longwood Blue'||Caryopteris x clandonensis||2-4'||F|
|Dwarf Fothergilla||Fothergilla gardenii||3-5'||F|
|Salvia; many varieties||1-3'||F|
|Wheeler's Dwarf Japanese Mock Orange||Pittosporum tobira||3'||P|
|Purple Diamond® Semi-dwarf Loropetalum||Loropetalum chinense||4-5'||F,P|