A.: There are several ideas for this difficult spot. You can install flowering, sun-loving shrubs, such as limelight hydrangeas, in odd numbered groups (3, 5, 7). Odd numbers are more pleasing to the eye and the senses. Limelights have very large flower panicles and bloom profusely all summer.
Forsythia is another sun lover with gorgeous yellow blooms in the spring on long graceful branches. Do not prune this shrub into a ball or a popsicle. It has a lovely natural shape but can be reduced in size with judicious careful pruning of single long branches. Flowering quince is another suggestion. It comes in shades of pink to red.
A pretty addition to any yard is a rock garden, and you are lucky to have an appropriate spot. Your first assignment is to find medium to large stones or rocks to nestle into the slope, looking as if they had been there forever. Then the fun begins. Any variety of sun tolerant bulbs and perennials can be nestled around the rocks. It’s an excellent idea to have different colors and types of plant material blooming throughout the seasons.
Daffodils are an easy choice for early spring. They come in numerous varieties: yellow, white, white with yellow centers, yellow with orange centers, even pale pink ones. Stella de Oro day lilies are a short plant and will bloom all summer. There’s creeping sedum and creeping jenny to use as ground covers in bare spots. Use a marguerite daisy, some rudbekia (also called black eyed Susan), and small Japanese iris.
Dianthus, also called pinks, are low growing and cover well. They have a delightful clove scent. Stokesia is low growing and adds a lovely blue to any garden. Include mums and asters. Pinch them back severely throughout the summer so they will bloom late in the year for that fall color. Tuck in some dusty miller for contrast. Its silver gray leaves are interesting.
If your slope is near the kitchen you could sow it with perennial herbs. They love a sunny location. Rosemary will grow into a charming large bush 2 feet by 3 feet and more, so give it room. Other wonderful herbs that come back each year are mints, oregano, chives, sage, thyme, lavender, garlic and tarragon.
A trip through the plant stores will give you more ideas. When planting on a slope, be sure to add good soil amendments to counteract the drainage problem. Water will run off a slope before it can seep in unless peat moss, manure, and Nature’s Helper type of amendments are added. Heavily mulching with pine straw and/or wood chips will keep water from evaporating so quickly during the hot months. If your slope is extreme, hiding a soaker hose under the mulch and watering slowly may be a solution.