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"You must return here with a shrubbery...!"


The Knights who say “Ni” aren’t the only ones who need shrubbery. I have spent a few weeks now both trying to identify what I have, and trying to figure out what I want to do to enhance my little landscape. After much pacing, staring, and envisioning plantings, I have determined that there is an amazing amount of space available in the ornamental plantings in my tiny front yard. And I actually care what goes in there! I thought I’d be too wrapped up in vegetables to care what ornamental things happened for a while. But no, I really want the front of my house to look nice and attractively planted.

Some previous owners of my house at one point sculpted some very nice beds, planted some shrubs, and then left it. The only non-shrubby perennials in there are hostas. The beds are built up a bit, but nothing separates them from the lawn but a little trench, so there is an erosion effect going on around the edges of the beds. I know most hard pruning is better saved for fall or winter depending on the plant, but there were evergreens drowning pretty little azaleas and I am not a big fan of prickly barberry so I certainly don’t want it poking my visitors. Why did someone plant a thorny plant near the front door? I just feel like that’s bad ju-ju or something.

Anyway, I have a lot of bare space by the front, despite the fact that my hubby wouldn’t let me kill off any of the shrubs I didn’t like (ie. the barberry by the front door). I added 3 winterberry hollies (2 fem, 1 male) by the front door. They are deciduous but should have lovely red berries in Nov-Dec for a nice winter display. They are also shade tolerant and wetland natives, so they should help draw moisture away from the house’s foundation. I also added native plants wintergreen and creeping dogwood to add groundcover. I plan to add some ferns, bleeding-hearts and more hostas to my woodland scene, as well as some interesting specimens such as toad-lillies and such.
Here’s a pic from earlier in the summer, pre-pruning:

I have also ordered some blueberry plants for a sunny bed by the sidewalk. I plan to expand the bed so it is symmetrical with another front-corner bed, but plant lower things so it doesn’t block the asymmetrical balance with the japanese maple on one side and the magnolia on the other.

I need to build a proper compost bin. I’d like to do a 2-bin, screened, wood-framed setup. My hubby calls my current pile of rotting vegetable matter “the illegal compost pile”, because our city actually has an ordinance that compost piles must be obscured from view. I’ll have to distribute it’s goodies before the city inspector comes to look at the other pre-existing violations. I’d like to put a few shrubs around the planned compost bin too. A Witch-hazel at the corner of the garage, a lingonberry and maybe a cranberry.

Now, waiting is the hardest part, because it is too hot to plant shrubs and probably won’t be good shrub-planting weather until September. Most of the companies I ordered from won’t even send me the goodies until then. And some plants in my plan I’ll have to save for the spring order.

Now that I’ve made my shrub plans, I need to start thinking about bulbs….

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Ouch! If that's barberry by your front door I don't know how you managed to get past unscathed! It's the thorniest little demon...I wonder myself why they put it so near the door.
Good luck with your plans, youv'e thought them out nicely. Keep us posted as your work progresses!

17 Jul, 2008


Forward planning, and patience - my downfalls as a gardener :o) Looking forward to seeing the developments.

18 Jul, 2008

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