Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Southern Exposure

I spent many hours that could well have gone elsewhere reading up on shrubs.  The Penn State  publication on broad-leaved evergreens has scared me off of my favorites, boxwood or a boxwoody holly, for that side of the house.  There's yellow siding and brick and merciless sun and I'm pretty sure they'd fry in the winter.  I looked at yew and juniper and tough evergreens but they are not wonderful enough, at least not in my limited imagination.  So now I am thinking paniculata hydrangeas-- Limelight, which I adore, or maybe a Tardiva.  I would like to put in a pocket of Dutch iris because I've read they like dry, hot, neglected conditions, which I'm confident I can provide back there.  I keep squinting at the Knock-out roses, thinking I might tuck one in there.  Gardeners seem to be wary of these, or apologetic.  I think it's because they're a little like those cheerful tasteless plastic flowers people put in their window boxes-- they bloom endlessly with healthy foliage and there is no remembering that you have to prune in months with no R in them.  Too easy... must be a trap!

In other news, I pulled the trigger on two viburnum (Cayuga) for the East foundation.  I love them excessively.

The single-flowered kerria has been great this year:

I also bought some foxglove, delphinium, and tall snaps for the walkway garden.  And I met a landscape guy at a party.  He's a friend's neighbor, with a tiny yard wonderfully planted.  I can't do retaining walls or anything big, but maybe I can afford some help putting beds along the fence in the back yard.  I hate mowing and I want my back yard to be leafy and structural and intoxicating.  We're a long way from that.

As a bonus--bluebells on the Appalachian Trail:


  1. Ah, the tough south side with full sun and bright siding and brick. My south exposure also has a white concrete walkway in front that reflects light, just to add more torture to plants there.

    Have you thought of sedums? The groundcover ones (I love Angelina) form a beautiful mat over the dry soil, and the taller ones are nice even through fall with their dried flowers.

    Or gaura - wandflowers? They like hot and dry and I like their bobbing wands, so pretty (kind of loose looking though, if you are more into structured form for your area). I think gaura would be a nice lower level with the taller panicle hydrangea. By the way, the hydrangea in that sunny site will want extra water.

    Don't dismiss all the junipers for a dry sunny strip. Gold Cone is tidy and narrow-upright and a lovely soft gold but not garish. I like it, especially against brick, altho maybe not so striking against yellow siding. It likes bright south dry conditions.

    So many choices. You are right to stay away from broadleaf evergreens there, like hollies. I do like following your problem solving for the challenging garden areas, I have fun with that!

  2. Thanks, Laurrie! Lovely suggestions... though I am embarrassed to say, I just bought hollies. Ah me!