Front Garden

(Question)

I live in The Beaches area of Toronto in an east facing property. I am looking for suitable plants for the front bed, and a fast growing evergreen hedge between myself and my neighbour’s property. I am also considering putting a spreading fir on one corner of the bed plus 2 or 3 dome shaped grasses. There is a large Japanese maple at the corner of the front bed together with 3 Berberis thunbergai acting as a small hedge.
Given the soil is so sandy I am at a loss where to go from here. I would dearly like some perennials to provide color but what? Any assistance you may provide will be gratefully received.

(Answer)

Sandy soil drains quickly, and as a result, plants aren’t given enough time to absorb nutrients. Organic matter is essential to retaining water and nutrients for plants. It improves soil texture by settling between the large particles and plugging the spaces in sandy soil. A one-time application of organic matter won’t ensure fertile ground for succeeding years.For gardens and plots with sandy soil, you need to add humus yearly, several months ahead of the planting season—in a series of applications. This will allow the soil to stabilize and be colonized by beneficial microorganisms. the following link provides information on how to organically improve your soil: Improving your Soil Orgaincally : A Toronto Master Gardener’s Guide.

There are many wonderful options for you to consider. There are excellent Toronto Master Gardener Garden Guides on Perennials for Sandy Soils and a list of plants for sandy soil created by the Royal Horticultural Society