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Discussion Starter #1
Ok some places I ready they are absolutely deadly and another, not really. What is the real scoop?

I would like to put some in my back yard and I don't want to take any risks - I don't plan to leave him unattended with the shrubs for any duration just because his idea of landscaping is to pull up plants but I guess there may be the ocassional nibble.....just the idea...........

Otherwise I am looking for a part shade (morning sun) to shade shrub that will thrive on a woodland hill dominated by oaks and hollies. 3-5 feet tall or so. ...... glad for suggestions. We have cecil clay loam...acidic soil. Zone 7/8

Appreciate any help from the gardeners. Not looking for an exotic. I have a good sized hillside I want to cover. Cost makes Japanese Azaleas attractive in that regard.
 

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I have yard full of Azaleas. Love them.

I'm sure my dogs have chewed on a bush or two and they're fine. Wouldn't worry.
 

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Nancy, I wouldn't worry about the azaleas. I have about 40 of the evergreen azaleas and three of the the Native azaleas. None of my dogs has ever bothered the azaleas. I have far worse in my yard - like the "every part of this plant is poisonous" Mountain Laurel.

Morning sun is perfect for flame azaleas. I am all about natives. Plant the right native in the right spot and they require little to no care. This is my list of native shrubs that grow in my yard - morning sun, a lot of shade. I double checked and they also grow in your zone.

Sweetpepper bush
Itea (Virginia Sweetspire) - my kind of shrub. Not picky about soil, sun, or water.
Spicebush - Every part of the plant is edible. Host plant to the spice swallowtail. Need
a male and female to get berries.
Viburnum - many varieties
Wild Hydrangea (Annabelle) - great for shade and wet areas
American Beautyberry

I purchased most of these from a volunteer type nursery that specializes in and encourages the growing of native plants. The shrubs were each $15.00 or less. I bought one Itea from Lowe's a few years ago. I purchased the native azaleas from the Mason-Dixon Rhododendron Society. I think they cost about $20.00.

All of the shrubs I listed are deciduous, if that matters.
 

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Jocoyn I love Azaleas and have quite a few Northern Lights series. I can't help but laugh everytime I hear the word Azaleas thanks to a Steve Martin movie , The Man with Two Brains.
 

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My father in law had some in the backyard before the hound idiots moved in and they never harmed the dogs any. Riley used to run out, grab what he could and try to run off with it. His biggest problem was he was a clumsy ox that usually sprained something. Plants never caused any issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I am so glad to know!
Jan thank for the list.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Jan, you must know your plants! - The suggestions match the conditions I listed!
I am fine with deciduous shrubs. Right now my issues is what is growing there is a native weedy groundcover but it is very fragile to foot traffic and gets out of control then dies of at first frost...so I worry about it holding the hill in the winter and want something with some better root system. I can see enough erosion in the 5 years we have been here to say I want to plant something to help hold the hill.

Natural process, but my foundation is maybe 20 feet from the drop off. Looks like they cut into the hill instead of built on fill because the natural topography is intact. Slope is about 33% (4 based on GIS). This area is FULL of American Hollies-I just don't want something that tall because I would like to be able to view the woods beyond my yard!

I need to take some photos this Sunday. The yard has paths in it where Beau chases balls. We are actually working through a pile of mulch just for his pathways.
 

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Nancy, I know the ones I grow. LOL! My lot is only 1/4 acre, but I have everything from full sun, to full shade and swamp. My yard is hilly and the rain water collects in one corner at the bottom of the yard. I have learned that there is a native plant for any spot.

If you are interested in adding some blooming perennials, these do well in the shade
Woods Asters
Iris Cristata (Nice ground cover)
Dicentra Eximia or Luxuriant (Bleeding hearts that bloom from spring to fall)
Turtlehead (If it's wet)
Cardinal flower
Echinacea (cone flower can take part shade. Stick with the native purple. Cultivars are disappointing.

Ferns are also great. Hayscented can take some sun. Ostrich fern can also take some sun as long as it stays wet.

ALL Natives!

Here is the inventory list from our native nursery. It might give you some ideas. I always go to a Garden forum, like Dave's Garden to see how people rate the plants I'm interested in. I like to see if there is anything negative BEFORE I plant it.

http://www.bluewaterbaltimore.org/wp-content/uploads/2013-Spring-Avail-List.pdf

I can't wait to see pictures. Did I mention that I LOVE to garden? HA!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I guess if I put the evergreens (Japanese-Delware White) to hold the hill I should not feel too bad. They are sooo cheap and not invasive (how is it that a 1 gallon azalea is cheaper than a 1 quart vegetable plant!) I can get a lot out fast to hold that hill. I still have room for other stuff!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Lord have mercy - I looked at that list. People will pay good money for a Tulip Tree or a Sweetgum? I have them coming out of my ears!
 

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LOL! I shop around for the best prices. And those little vegetable plants cost more because you can eat them.

Natives might cost more initially, but they do reproduce. I bought one ostrich fern. It quickly multiplied to 16.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I did root prune some small wild hollies in the woods. Need to go get those and set out. I have a place. Once again I know the berries are poison but I have had them for a long time and never seen a dog eat one. Besides the Robins and the Waxwings decimate them when they turn red. Often in one day.

Have not had much success starting some plants indoors from seed (like tomatoes and peppers and eggplants) need to refine it to get good plants though because those are the expensive ones. I got heirloom varieites this year so I plan to do that. My saved heirloom seeds from a tomato sprouted well...just need to get a good stout seedling.
 

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Did get the azaleas out. Put in about 70 of the japanese ones, randomly mixed the colors. The cheap ones from the stores ($3 a gallon). Showing nice new growth. I think they will serve to hold the hill and crowd out weeds. We have the perfect dirt for them. [dappled shade under oak and near hollies-acid soil that drains well - since we dug the holse first, then had a massive rain weekend with about 4 inches of rain, we knew exactly which holes would not drain well!].

Working on adding a nice layer of shredded bark mulch topped with pine straw. I will maintain with pine straw but the thick layer of bark is a bit better at holding down weeds and holding on the hill. Once I get it mulched I will take pictures but they are not spectacular now since the blooms are past.
 

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Nancy, That sounds beautiful. Just wait until they get big and all grow together.

Pictures? You promised.
 

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Once I get the pine straw in! Of course the tree place has another sale on mulch $11 a yard till the end of the month + $60 delivery fee (about $2.40 a yard for a 25 yard load) . There may be mutiny if I buy another truckload!!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well we got the pine straw in and now, of course,the Azaleas are not in bloom but they are growing nicely! This is my backyard and Beau's Lair. My office overlooks the lower deck. The blue tarp is to give him rain cover from the upper deck until we can come up with something better. (yes it is trashy but it works!) ........He stays in the upper fence unless I am throwing balls for him our out in the yard with him. He cannot go on "Azalea Hill"..and is respecting my yellow string on the posts which I taught him were a no go zone verbally. But I would not trust that without supervision :)

But that is ok. We are outside of the yard every day usually in those woods behind us or in the neighborhood or somewhere else.

The poles are for the agility structure I need to get-r-done.







 

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When I lived up in MD I had Azaleas ... I CANNOT SAY the Hooligans ever ate any, but they lived with them without any problems. In fact, I've been thinking of getting some for my yard down here.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Central Florida has so many options for plants though! I remember as a teen on Merritt Island, Scheffleras that were 20 feet tall, and just all kinds of stuff! I would love Florida if they could get rid of the concrete and the strip malls.

Sadly, we sold my parents home on Merritt Island I think "just in time"...with all that has gone downhill at KSC things were pretty dismal there and whole neighborhoods going to ruin. Not sure how it is now. They had a lovely (well it was still typical FL concrete blocks) home main channel waterfront....

I am a native Baltimorean (since you lived in MD). An early toddler pix of me was standing next to some azaleas my parents had planted in their post war "little boxes" house. Need to dig it out.
 

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Wow, very nice! I can't wait to see them in bloom :)
 
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