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: