Please help! Starting a flower bed from scratch

There is a circular flower bed, in the middle of my driveway. Until recently there was a huge tree right in the middle, and nothing would grow in the bed, everything I planted eventually died (I guess the huge tree zapped everything from the soil?) We removed the tree and stump about 2 years ago, and ever since weeds grow like CRAZY! Even through landscape fabric (Bermuda grass, I'm in South Carolina) Also, some big tree roots remain, so I am limited in what I can plant. I planted hosta and deer ate them al down to the ground. I would like to keep the hanging basket holder (my dad made that for me many many years ago) This bed gets full sun and is seen from all angles. Please help!!
please help starting a flower bed from scratch, flowers, gardening
  11 answers
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 26, 2014
    You need to do a soil test before you do anything else and see what its condition is. That will tell you what fertilizer and amendments you need to add to be able to grow things successfully there. I would definitely get rid of the landscape cloth, which has proven its ineffectiveness to you. I would suggest you incorporate some evergreens since that is in the middle of your driveway. Dwarf Yaupon hollies like "Schillings" or "Nana" are pretty deer-resistant (deer will eat anything when they are hungry) and will stay low enough that they won't get in the way of the lovely hanging basket holders your father made. Add a few variegated yuccas like "Color Guard" and then fill in with perennials selected for bloom time. If you think of ones with fragrant foliage like rosemary or nepeta you'll stand a better shot with deer. Low-growing lantana would be a good choice there, too.

  • SouthernBelle SouthernBelle on Jun 26, 2014
    Thank you so much @Douglas Hunt I really appreciate the suggestions! I am thinking also of planting lirope (monkey grass) all along the perimeter, I think that would look lovely, and I dint know why I didn't think of it sooner! :) Thanks again for your help!

  • Traceycater Traceycater on Jun 26, 2014
    I like the idea of lantana it grows fast and covers much. Try Mexican Petunias, they will also spread, don't know if deer like them. I live in Central Florida, so I don't have deer issues, just lots of heat and sun! I use caladium's as well to fill areas, most of these plants don't need a lot of water either.

    • See 2 previous
    • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 28, 2014
      @Traceycater I have a lot to learn, and I certainly don't want to scare you from posting. But I would like to scare people from planting Mexican petunia. :-)

  • Nancy Merrell Nancy Merrell on Jun 26, 2014
    You may need to rent a stump grinder to remove the roots if to large for a tiller. I agree with Douglas Hunt on getting soil test. Ask your garden center what you can plant that's deer resistant .

  • SouthernBelle SouthernBelle on Jun 26, 2014
    Thanks for all the suggestions, I really appreciate the help!

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jun 26, 2014
    The first thing I would do would be to bring in some good top soil to make a mound...nothing several feet high, but just high enough to make it pretty. Dirt can be brought in by the bag to keep from having a heavy truck bust up your concrete; then add manure and sand. To keep from having to edge it and help keep the dirt in place, plant variegated lariope, then put in some cordyline (a maroon spikelike plant), add some taller plants farther up the mound (I like dustry miller) and top it off with something like a miniature Japanese Maple. You can plant some Gerber Daisies around for color. All of these come back each year and require almost no attention. That would layer it in light green/yellow, maroon, color dasies, green/white and then maroon again with the small tree. Here is my mailbox that comes back every year except this year we planted a Lantana...I had forgotten how big this gets and it will probably have to be moved by the end of July! HA! This would be pretty in your circle too...get the ones that come back every year.

  • SouthernBelle SouthernBelle on Jun 27, 2014
    Thank you all, such great suggestions! @Jeanette S thank you so much for the pic, that is really helpful!

  • Diane Sterling Diane Sterling on Jun 27, 2014
    Just remember to distribute both evergreens (stay green all year long) and perennials (seasonal growth/color). Otherwise, your bed will look barren during the parts of the year (typically winter) once the perennials have died back.

  • Lori Jackson Lori Jackson on Jun 28, 2014
    I would look for lists of deer resistant plants.

  • SouthernBelle SouthernBelle on Jul 08, 2014
    Well, this bed is done!

  • Peggy Peggy on Jul 09, 2014
    I would definitely have the soil tested and then amend it. I think knock-out roses would be beautiful in your circular flower bed with the lirope planted on the edge of the whole circle.The roses can be treated with Bayer 3 in 1 rose & flower care and the roses will do great!