Thursday, May 29, 2014

Landscaping Continued

-- Garden -- 

 You may recall back on the 22nd of this month I gave a little chat about some of the amazing benefits of landscaping and greening balconies, roof tops, window sills, front steps, etc.

This is our 4th year on this property and we are finally able to do some landscaping... I started with a 30' mulched landscape bed leading to and underneath a huge pine tree - filled with daylilies, iris, marigolds, clematis, sweet peas, rhubarb, amethyst,  blue hyacinth, 4 o'clocks, nasturtium, flower bulbs and so on. It has taken quite nicely and things are blooming well despite being the first year. This weekend we will start on "gorilla gardening" techniques... planting on the city property - a grassy area between our fence line and the street curb. *We did check with the city to make sure it was alright and also followed through with the "call before you dig" service which connected us with the gas, water, sewer, city and other tech folks out there to make sure we wouldn't plant or dig where important lines were buried.

We went to Morris Flower Nursery here in Creston because it was a one-stop shopping for us and they give a 20% discount when you spend $200 or more... and they also threw in free delivery for us as we spent quite a bit there. We looked specifically for plants that not a lot of people had in our neighborhood to increase diversity - increasing bloom time from early spring to late autumn, and contrasting foliage... with a favor of plants that are known to have longer lives and survive drought (though most prefer moist soil). All of these plants listed below have the size listed as they would be at maturity, but this depends of course on how you prune them.

This is what we are planting in the next few weeks along the grassy space outside the fence along the front and side of our corner property:

BarBeri shrubs: This compact dwarf evergreen shrub has a maximum height of 2-3' with a spreading habit of up to 7' at maturity. "Sunsation Japanese" provides golden with orange tinge foliage. "Rose Glow Japanese" offers burgundy green foliage and the branches will arch a bit when the plant is larger.
Moon Glow Juniper: a slow-growing pyramid shape, dense, silver blue evergreen shrub with a maximum height of 15-20', can spread 5-10'.
Dwarf Mugo Pine: another slow-growing evergreen shrub that reaches only about 4' at maturity, can live 50 years or more.
Blue Globe Spruce: slow growing small dense globe-shaped evergreen shrub offers blue foliage with a soft, fine texture. Fills out low to the ground and will live 60 years or more.
Dwarf Korean Lilac Tree: this interesting shrub offers a globe shape on a trunk and is not as invasive as the shrub type of lilacs - flowers in the summer and only reaches a height of 4'. 
Quick Fire Hydrangea: this shrub blooms early in the spring and keeps blooming into autumn, flowers start out white and slowly turn rose - has a maximum height of 6' and spreads about 5'.
Hakuro Nishiki Willow Tree: an interesting dappled pink, white, green foliage is actually an ornamental tree that only gets about 8' tall and can spread up to 6' wide, depending on pruning. Foliage turns yellow in the fall, has a very early leaf-out in the spring and stems can turn deep red in color in the winter.
Purple Robe Locust Tree: the largest in the legume family is said to be nitrogen neutral (produces the nitrogen it needs without excess for other plants) and grows up to 40' tall and a spreading habit up to 30' wide... depending on pruning. This deciduous tree offers violet-red flowers early in mid-summer and in fall the delicate lime green leaves turn yellow. It grows fairly fast - up to 2-3' annually and produces long black or brown seed pods but they can be composted easily.
Spirea: A common landscaping shrub called "gold mound" is actually a member of the rose family and produces flowers in May-June. It is fairly short and squat at 2-3' high and 2-3' wide.
Sweetheart Mayday Tree: This interesting tree has an upright habit (as opposed to wide reaching branches) and offers fragrant pink flowers in mid-spring just as the leaves are coming out. It produces a black fruit that is popular with birds. Purple tipped foliage are more burgundy in color in the spring. A deciduous that offers winter interest with the brown bark and purple branches. Height: 20', spreads to 6.5'.
Butterfly Bush: There are many varieties of the butterfly bush, we chose two different kinds one with whiter flowers, the other with fuchsia colored flowers - both reaching 3' high and 3' wide.This shrub likes to be pruned, the new flowers bloom on new wood. Blooms in summer and has a weeping shape.
Tilla Green Spire Tree: a.k.a. Little Leaf Linden - this huge tree offers delicate small heart-shaped green foliage and a pyramid shape but cymetrical branches, leaves darken from light green in the spring to dark green in the summer to yellow in the fall. Produces small brown fruit for the birds from the yellow summer flowers. Can grow to 50' tall and 35' wide if it is not pruned. * We are not sure we'll actually have enough room now for this tree so we may give it to a neighbor who was really generous the last few years with raspberry/strawberry plants... and boxes of ripe organic pears.
Light and Dark Purple Iris: old fashioned, highly fragrant varieties from our yard and our neighbor's yard.

So that is what we'll be doing now for a few weeks... prepping the site, planting, putting landscape fabric down, lawn borders in place and mulching with rock. Whew! Wish us luck!

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