Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A New Year and a Naked House

Ah, it's a brand new year!  Time to enjoy flipping through the seed and plant catalogues and dream about how great the garden is going to be this year.  Sometimes I think planning and dreaming of the future garden is half the fun!

Winter is a good time to look back and take stock of how the garden went - and then look forward and make plans!   I have several things on my list already: starting my new shade garden, growing new fruits and veggies, and adding more good dirt and amendments to the veggie garden, since last summer the plants didn't grow as vigorously as I liked.


It's also a good time to look back and see how the existing flower beds did.  The front garden is the most mature part of the yard; we started it right after we moved into our house two summers ago.  This summer it did pretty well, full of successions of flowers, just like I like it.  In Spring, the bulbs were in flower:


With Summer bloomed the Salvia, then the Hibiscus, masses of Coneflowers, and, finally, the riotous Cosmos.


The Cosmos bloomed into Fall, when the berrying Winterberry shrubs and all the Autumn leaves put on their display.


And now it's Winter.  They say that winter is a good time to get a feel for the 'bones' of the garden, or the structure of it.  Let's see how my front garden is doing...


Uh, wow.  Well, other than some leftover Christmas decorations, there is pretty much, um, NOTHING going on in the front.  All I see is a sad, barren, exposed foundation!  There is one small, lone stand of River Birch trees trying to provide some winter interest on the right hand side of the house, and on the far right we do have a little Blue Spruce, which will be a great winter focal point in... oh, a decade or so :)

Other than that, my poor house just looks... naked.


Well, I think this year's plans will now include enlarging the front gardens and adding some evergreen bushes!

I did plant the River Birch, as well as some Red-twig Dogwood shrubs in front for winter interest; however, both of those are really only noticeable up close.  In general I love and tend to plant deciduous bushes and trees.  Deciduous bushes are exciting and sparkly - they change with the seasons and often have beautiful flowers or fall foliage.  But...it takes awhile before they get large enough to add much structure to a garden.

Grow, little trees, grow!
I really do need some bushy evergreens with some nice mass and, well, coverage, to hide my house's bare foundation.  One of my missions this year is to add some shrubs that provide some structure year-round!

Anyone have any favorite evergreen shrubs to suggest?

22 comments:

  1. I know I'm supposed to be staring at your naked garden, but I can't stop looking at your house. I love it, and I love the color too, the spring and summer flowers pop beautifully against that muted green. I wish houses were that pretty here in this part of California.

    Anyway, back to the winter garden. When I landscaped my mother's garden in Massachusetts, she had the same concern about not having a barren foundation in winter. Her house is on a bit of a slope, so the foundation really stands out. For her we planted an assortment of Ilex glabra 'densa' (inkberry holly), and the evergreen azalea 'Abigail Adams' staggered forward of them for some spring color. That was almost 20 years ago now, and she still has them! The inkberry has held up well, with just the occasional snapped branch in very icy weather, but overall they worked well. I can't wait to see what you decide to plant there. It will be fun to see the bones of the garden along your foundation next season!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! We bought it that color and only picked out the door color, but I like the muted green a lot, too! Thanks for the shrub suggestions. I planted Inkberries in my last garden, and they were really nice, though slow-growing. I'll have to check out the azalea!

      Delete
  2. You can't go wrong with boxwood (unless you have boxwood blight there). They stay evergreen and can be grown in a natural shape or trimmed into a more formal shape. I know some people think they're boring and overused, but the reason they're commonly used is that they look good all year round. Your front garden looked very nice last year, especially considering how young the garden is. I can't wait to see how it will look this year! -Beth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true. I like how you can really shape boxwood, as I think I need some more shaped things in the garden to contrast with all my cottagey free-form plants. And the deer don't usually bother boxwoods - a must in this area for shrubs! Looking online, it looks like we do have boxwood blight in MA, though I don't know how prevalent it is. Thanks for the warning - I hadn't heard of boxwood blight before!

      Delete
  3. You've done so well in such a short time! I think hollies would be great, and are there any small evergreens you could use as edging? That would help create some depth, and fit in with the pathways you already have. I don't know much about cold weather gardening, we rarely get snow/cold temperatures here in Tennessee. (polar vortex not withstanding!!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Yeah, I would like to put some lower evergreens in front, and then when I make the bed bigger, I'd like to put some other evergreens farther in front of the house. I've heard it's pretty cold down there right now, too!

      Delete
  4. You will be surprised how quickly the river birch and blue spruce bulk up and once they are big they will distract from the bare foundation. The redtwig dogwoods will get very big sooner than you think too and their beautiful red against the soft gray green of your house will be wonderful. Don't plant anything big and dense to hide them -- you really don't want much evergreen mass in front. Ilex glabra or a boxwood for a green accent at the right corner of the foundation, but keep any other greenery low (Arctostaphylos uva ursi under the redtwigs will stay low, evergreen and a nice ground cover that won't overwhelm the house in a few years with bulky mass.) No green meatballs in front! Let the redtwigs shine against the house -- they'll get really big and full soon. Your house is so classic and beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Bearberry is a great suggestion! There isn't any room to plant anything big next to the foundation due to the Red-twig Dogwoods, but I would like to plant something smaller and evergreen more in front. I also want to deepen the bed so it's more in proportion to the front of the house, so then I want put in some evergreens more out in front, as well.

      Delete
  5. Hello Indie !
    It is winter. I already got a new seed. Even in January, the boxes were seeded peppers, tomatoes, celery, lettuce, flowers ... Then it's time quilting seedlings.
    I am pleased to view your summer photos.
    Greetings from Polish.
    Lucia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have a lot going on already! I've thought about trying to grow some microgreens or something in the window sills now. Most of my seeds have awhile before they need to be planted here!

      Delete
  6. we have the same sort of problem, where we removed invasive alien trees, and now look in our neighbour's windows.
    GROW, little trees, please grow - and ours do. Knee high so far ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's hard to be patient as gardeners so often! I want my trees to be large and majestic now :)

      Delete
  7. I will be looking for some native evergreens to add to my garden as well. My garden has been sorely lacking in evergreens for years. Love to see what you add Indie!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll definitely update later with what I do. The garden is ever-changing :)

      Delete
  8. I totally agree with Laurrie--the Blue Spruce and the Red-Twigs will fill in nicely and it would be a shame to crowd them out. They look amazing en masse, and will look fantastic along the foundation of the house. I'm facing the same situation with some small Dogwood shrubs along the back foundation. They're taking some time to fill in, but when they do I expect they'll be very attractive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, next to the foundation there isn't room to put anything with the Red-twigs. I want to put something low in front, though, so it doesn't look so barren. The picture of the Blue Spruce is honesty deceptive - the spruce is actually quite aways over to the right near my wild area, so it will have to be quite big before it's noticeable. Hopefully they'll grow quickly!

      Delete
  9. Replies
    1. Those are so pretty! They do get a tad big, though..

      Delete
  10. I think you have many more choices of evergreens, especially native ones where you are. I look forward to seeing what you find. We will be redoing our front garden this spring and are looking at adding a diadora cedar. I think they have such interesting structure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that's a pretty tree! We're thinking of putting in a Norway spruce on one side of the house. I love the more pendulous needles. Such a pretty shape!

      Delete
  11. Evergreens are wonderful, but be choosy and don't plant anything that will overwhelm what you already have. Maybe something near your sidewalk. I will look forward to seeing what you do!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I like those evergreen bushes with the tiny tiny leaves and the bush can be shaped into mounds. Danged if I can remember the name of it, though. Might not grow in Cold Country, either. I like the birch trees and the Blue Spruce.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...