I’ve got a tree stump in my back yard, about 12 inches high, maybe 15 inches in diameter. It’s kind of an eyesore, so I was thinking about planting some flowers in the spaces between the roots. I figured I’d do shorter varieties in the front, taller in the back, maybe something creeping on the side that would eventually cover the top.
This is a rental house, so I’m not really looking to plant something with eyes toward the distant future (though I certainly don’t mind leaving something pretty for the next tenant to enjoy). So I’m thinking mostly annuals. I’m in Northwest Oregon, where it’s chilly and rainy until summer. The stump is in a part of the yard that gets SOME sun, but only a few hours each day.
I’ve got a few ideas, but I’m wondering if anyone has suggestions for an “around the stump” scheme with height and color.
How about a large bowl-type pot/container on the top, almost the same diameter and you could plant annuals that will spill out and over the sides. Even some sort of ground cover, There’s a varieity of petunia we get out here that is a trailing or creeping type or even one of the ground cover roses.
How about looking at Aubretia? You could put that in a bowl on top and it would flow down the sides, giving dense, year round cover with a long flowering season. I’ve got some in my front garden which gets very little direct sun each day and that has been in vivid bloom for a month or more with no sign of letting up.
There’s lots of fast growing natives you could grow around it that like growing on wood and would love part shade. Some of them you could eat, and wouldn’t have to wait long-you might even get berries this year. red huckleberry, evergreen huckleberry. woodland strawberry, salmonberry, thimbleberry. For quick color and for plants that love our cool summers and flower in part shade for a long time you could put a pot of fuschia on top and let them cascade down the sides.
A friend of mine had this same problem. She put a trailing plant on the tree stump in a pot, and a simple flower garden around it. It was very pretty.
I recommend dealing with the root of the issue :) and get someone to grind the stump for you. The alternatives are slower and not as effective.
I’d consider getting rid of the stump, except that I don’t own the house and I plan to be out of here in six months. So I’m trying to work WITH the stump rather than against it (and rather than hiding it).
What about an allamander, plumbago or other rambler? Ramblers are a sort of creeper-shrub that usually looks free-form and messy. Plant it a little in front and train a few pieces to cover the stump and also an area around it. Or a decorative pea? You could pile up some compost or potting mix to cover the roots and lower stump, and plant in that.
I did give some thought to sweet pea, but I’ve never grown them successfully. Maybe nasturtium.
I love the Aubretia idea but I’d suggest digging into the stump, filling it with a medium, potting mix or just soil and planting it in the tree itself…..I did that on many occasions and it can look great….as if it’s actually part of the tree.
How about some ferns and some bleeding heart? Both woodland plants. In our climate ferns thrive around trees, tree roots, and even directly on tree trunks. Bleeding heart will give some spring and summer color but disappear in the winter.
Ah, the gorgeous PNW! Lucky, lucky you.
Good suggestions here. I’d like to add to the plant list by suggesting something simple, bulletproof, evergreen & perennial (because do you really want to see the stump in winter or replant every year?). How about good ole liriope.
Yes, it’s very common, but en masse it’s quite appealing. Big Blue should be tall enough to cover the stump vertically (if not, just mound a little dirt around the stump before you plant), the blades should weep over to cover the middle of the stump, & it’s dense enough to conceal it all from view. It’s a great base for anything else you may want to add.
It’s hard to suggest anything design-wise without knowing more, but you can probably create a nice small island bed. People’s tastes vary, but I’d consider a large blue hosta near the center surrounded by a grouping of smaller ferns (especially a few painted ferns) & liriope with (if you’re bold & don’t minding keeping her in bounds) creeping jenny meandering throughout. Then maybe add a couple nice smaller mossy boulders or driftwood for a finishing touch.
Regardless, for a super easy, cheap, almost no maintenance & highly durable solution, liriope is hard to beat.
Get some bags of potting soil. Lay them flat on the ground around the stump (yes, in the bags). Cut small squares in the top sides of the bags. Spacing would be dependent upon suggested spacing for whatever you choose to plant. Add annuals and cover with mulch. Voila! Instant raised bed that is cheap, fast, and easy.
Impatiens are beautiful plants that do well in shade. They’re annual and will give you plenty of blooms. Place a small statuette on the stump and let the impatiens dazzle around it. If you’re looking for groundcover, the creeping jenny could be a nice touch, as would some variegated vinca.
You may also add a few holes for drainage on the bottom, but I would only do a few so as to keep the bags from tearing.
If it’s a hardwood stump and not a conifer stump, then you have great conditions there in the PNW to grow a very valuable medicinal mushroom called Hen of the Woods, aka Maitake.
You might not be living in this place at mushroom harvest time, but if you still have friends in the area or if you aren’t moving very far away when u do move, then you could perhaps still get some of the harvest.
Article below suggests hardwood logs, but I know from personal experience that hardwood stumps also will work just fine! :)
Other than that, I like anelson’s suggestions best.
It’s almost certainly softwood, probably an Oregon Cedar. Everything else is.
Well this topic has sent me on a search for Aubretia, with not much luck. They don’t appear to be that common in Oz. Amber, any hints to where an Aubretia would be available here.
From what I have read they would grow here.????
I too have 2 stumps in my rented backyard so this topic has been interesting for me also.
I have looked on ebay with no luck, and I found one seed co in Oz with Aubretia but didn’t have the purple one available. Of course I checked local nurseries and even Bunnings (where the plant people on Sat don’t seem to know much at the best of times.)
What a stunning plant . . .
I’m sure there must be other plants similar to Aubretia that are relatively easily available to you. Two which come to mind are Lobelia and Campanula (although I don’t know about whether they are available in Oz).
ss, you could try contacting Mr Fothergills if you’re after Aubretia seeds or Diggers. Not sure who to contact in NSW.
It would be a waste of time going to B’s or any of the run of the mill nurseries who all seem to carry the same stock and it’s very mainstream – not that aubretia is to my mind but for some time now not many nurseries are carrying what could be termed ‘cottage garden’ plants. Although you should be able to get lobelia anywhere.
wulf we have some magnificent campanula sp. in Oz.