Saturday, March 31, 2012
Originating as an inexpensive method of hiding concrete basement blocks or the base upon which a home was built, the most common and practical choice was a straight line of evergreen shrubs. The look has survived the post war generation and is the most popular frontscape of choice in the northern U.S.
Classic foundation planting involve boxwood or juniper hedges lined up under the front windows of a home. Here's some advice:
1. Traditional: Keep it green and monochromatic. Popping in a contrasting red barbery next to a golden globe arborbitae results in a choppy look. The idea is to underline the windows of the home, drawing the eye to a welcoming front door.
3. Maintenance: Clipping hedges is great exercise and lovely for working out the upper arms, but if time is of the essence, then avoid installing a fast growing privet. Stick with slow growers such as boxwood and junipers. Even so, haircuts will be required in late spring and summer.
4. Modernize: Layer a line of low growers like Euonymous, dwarf Wintercreeper, or Green Velvet Boxwood in front of a line of more colorful Ninebark, Forsythia or Burning Bush.
hydrangea or rhododendrons. There are new varietels every year, but stick with tried and true varietels like Annabelle, Samantha, or Nikko Blue for a high traffic area like the front of the house. Leave the dried moppy heads on in the fall for winter interest.
6. Borders: Cut a one foot wide space in front of the hedge for summer annuals or bright perennials, but add some curves to soften the line of the home. Wait until after the first spring trimming to plant so as to aovid dislodging delicate plants while removing clippings. As the hedge grows, cut a bit more into the front lawn along the bed. For a clean and natural look, use botanical edges.
7. Color and style coordination: Burgundy barberry along a red brick home won't stand out like a soft green boxwood. Remember that most nonevergreen shrubs will change from four to five different colors through the season. The darker the home, the lighter the shrub.
Related articles of interest:
How to Trim Shrubs -- No More Bad Haircuts
Green Fences -- Boxwood Hedges to Hydrangea Hedgerows
New USDA Planting and Gardening Zones
Burning Bush and other Fall Follies
Sunday, March 18, 2012
It seems like the yard changes daily, grass is greening up, trees are budding and shrubs are begining to bloom. Spring seems to have eerily arrived overnight in Southeast Michigan.
While we all rejoice in the warm temperatures, it's easy to feel wary given our fickle climate here in the mitten. Will the early appearance of shoots and buds hurt baby plants and budding shrubs should temperatures drop?
Plants know when to exit dormancy based upon soil temperature and light exposure. Their wake up alarms are set by Mother Nature. Soil temperature is already higher than usual due to the warm winter, so a dip on the thermometer should have no effect on the early risers in the garden. Trees, for example,know when to bloom leaves based upon the cycle of light and darkness, so the warm temps have no effect. the concept works in reverse in the Fall.
Warmer ground makes Spring bulb planting easier. Remember the opposite rule--plant fall bloomers in Spring and vice versa. So daffodils and tulips are only for admiring, not planting right now!
Hellebores have been blooming for a few weeks now, their soft colors and pale centers are unmatched this time of year.
So stop worrying, and enjoy the sunshine!