of jeth. he keeps us pretty busy. this is just a sampling of an afternoon at home.
Click on the pictures to enlarge
I really enjoy container planting. I think you can make quite an impact in a small space with thoughtfully selected containers set in the right spot, and lushly planted. Here are a few combinations that seemed to work well this year.
click on photo to enlarge, and the description will list the plants in each container.
We just returned from another amazing vacation in Maine. It was overcast and cloudy some of the time, which was a nice break from the dc humidity! My family has gone every year to the same little town since my mom was a kid–in fact, that’s where my parents met, dad was a local boy. Hardly a thing has changed in Bayside since then. It is one of those special places that is frozen in time…more pictures to come!
This post is in answer to Rose’s question regarding when to prune her foundation shrubs. Evergreen shrubs do not require a lot of heavy pruning, but generally you should prune in early spring before the new growth has emerged. There are some exceptions, one being if you’re trying to create a hedge, then the new growth is the part you need to prune as it will allow you to shape more effectively. Another exception is if it is a flowering evergreen (Azalea, Rhododendron, ect…) for these you should prune immediately after they are finished blooming, otherwise you’ll impair the following years bloom.
Often folks find themselves in a situation where they have overgrown and sometimes poorly maintained foundation shrubs, probably from when the house was originally built. These may be overcrowding the space by covering windows, hanging over walkways, and looking pretty darn bad. My first recommendation would usually be to replace them. Plants , especially along the foundation of a house, do have a lifespan. Even with proper maintanance and trimming, they often need to be replaced after 15 years or so. Another problem I often run into is that the wrong plants were originally chosen, and they have grown way too large for the space they were intended.
Well not everyone has the time, desire, or money to start ripping their yard apart, so if starting over is not an option, then some of these shrubs can handle very heavy pruning (called rejuvenation pruning)–but it may take a few years for them to look good and healthy again. I would research the particular plant and how/when to prune it, or hire a professional.
now for the ‘how’
Something that i see all the time, which makes me cringe,
(if you have shrubs in our yard that look like this, please do us all a favor and rip them out!)
These are shrubs that are given a yearly ‘buzz cut’ with hedge shears. You may have inherited a shrub that has been improperly pruned in this way. This actually will cause more harm than good to the plant, and it will need some extra tlc to get it back to a good form. When pruned that way, the plant becomes very dense and tight, keeping air from circulating around inside the plant, causing the leaves inside to fall off, and branches to die. This also creates a very unattractive framework of tight little twigs sprouting off of several branches, rather than an open and delicate form. To remedy this first remove the branches that have those tight little balls of twigs. Then open up the framework of the plant to allow light and air in. Do this by going in and thinning the shrub, removing excess branches and creating holes around the shrub so that daylight can get through. This is actually the proper method of pruning in general. Don’t clip from the top, go into the plant and remove branches, thinning and bringing down the height more subtly. For example, if you see a branch that is a little bit taller, instead of cutting it back the the same level as the rest of the plant, follow it down until it meets another branch, or to the base, and cut the whole branch out.
Also remove any ‘deadwood’, and crossing branches.
Make sure that all cuts you make are back to a bud, branch, or main trunk. Don’t leave any little bare stubs as these will increase the chance of disease.
If all you need to do is reduce the size of the plant, do so by pruning last year’s growth.
http://www.afcee.brooks.af.mil/ldg/s03Maintenance/graphics/fig-03-02.gif has a good diagram on how to do this.
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/quickref/shrubs/pruning_broadleaf-evergrn.html has some more pruning tips.
i love plants! i can’t get enough of them! when i go for a walk (or sometimes even a drive) often much of what i see and think about are the plants i pass. what is the name? what makes them unique or special? what have they been paired with or how have they been used? why did the homeowner or designer choose that particular plant? or, who got a hold of that tree or shrub with the pruners and why?? these are all questions that will run through my mind. i’m not sure if that’s normal….:)but being a landscape designer i am always looking for new ideas and inspiration, and what can i say..i have plants on the brain….
i thought i would write a (hopefully) regular post with a garden theme, drawing from my knowledge of gardening and landscape design. like i said, i am constantly walking or driving by gardens, and getting inspired by great plant combinations, drooling over flowers and trees, and sometimes wondering at the choices people make in their garden. i am also often getting hit up for gardening advice, so i thought this would be a good outlet to share cool things i see or learn, and also give helpful advice and tips on proper garden/plant care.
i welcome any particular questions, and if I know (or can find out) the answer, could make that the topic of the next gardening post.
so with that… the tree pictured at the top of this post is one of my favorite spring blooming trees, and it’s blooming right now! it’s botanical name is cercis canadensis, and is commonly called eastern redbud. it is an understory tree, which means that it grows along the edge of a woodland, beneath the larger trees of the forest, much like a dogwood. it starts blooming a week or so before the dogwoods, and then they overlap and you will often see them side by side in bloom. for me they are one of the first indicators that spring is truly here. With its bright magenta/purple bloom, i can think of no other color quite like it in the garden. often you will see it planted along highways–although the bloom is shortlived, what a thoughtful way to brighten a tired commuters day!