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#49635 May 22nd, 2007 at 09:55 AM
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I have always had a back border of forsythia to separate my yard from the wooded area growing in behind it, and to discourage the blackberries and wild grapes from intruding. I discard all my clippings behind this border, with the owner's permission. This year after yet another year of poor blossoms on the forsythia I decided to cut out and kill all of it within my property. Some remain in the back, rooted from the original plants, and there are some lovely tall mounds of honeysuckle. The boundary itself is marked by logs.

I now need something to cover the unsightly and large pile of clippings (not only from the forsythia) and some of the logs. There's also a large heap of concrete that my late husband discarded on the borderline many years ago, about 3 ft. high, something I can't move.

My dilemma is that I don't want anything planted there that would extend as far into the property as the forsythia did because this is a rather narrow corridor area already, with a retaining wall separating the property into these two levels.

I'm considering a few trellises with flowering vines, but I'm just not sure. Any more creative ideas would be most welcomed!


"If you're an ant, and you're walking along across the top of a cup of pudding, you probably have no idea that the only thing between you and disaster is the strength of that pudding skin." Jack Handey
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The problem with vines is that most of them aren't evergreen. Although there are some. There are also the tall spire type evergreen bushes that will do a good job at concealing and have a natural upright appearance.

A boxwood is slowgrowing but is definitely thinning than forsynthia.

Is the area full sun or part shade?


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Thanks for considering my dilemma, tkhooper. I had the same misgivings about vines and I also wonder whether it might be too much of a good thing. I already have a climbing hydrangea along the garage, also a couple of trumpet vines, and a honeysuckle in other areas.

The raised portion of the yard is much bigger, and it has always made this L-shaped corridor appear very narrow, even though it's wider than it looks from a distance. I find that frustrating, but I'm only concerned with the shorter back end of the corridor right now.

It's become a mostly shady area (but not deep shade) except for the morning. The area I'm concerned with would take up probably 50-70 ft. Right now, it's a hodgepodge of sections--the empty section with the brush behind it, then a small section with the old burner slab that can't be removed (I've put some plants near that and placed a child's rattan chair and table there), and finally a small wooden bridge and rock garden with an apple tree. So, another concern is the way one area transitions into the next. Do I use the same plants behind the rock garden or do I keep that section different even though all of this is along the same visual line?

Your idea about using boxwood intrigues me. Could I somehow define a theme by using the boxwood? My visualization skills aren't always the greatest. What do you think?


"If you're an ant, and you're walking along across the top of a cup of pudding, you probably have no idea that the only thing between you and disaster is the strength of that pudding skin." Jack Handey
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As a landscaper I am a bust lol. But we do have a member who is real good at that sort of thing. His screen name starts with a "H" I think and he is frequently down in the plant identification area. You could probably find one of his posts and e-mail him.

Also, pictures of the area might help.

I would probably go for a roman ruin type look where the slab is. Using ferns and shallow rooted ground cover specimens just dump loads of dirt on it and let the plants do the rest. With a couple of stratigically placed pots where deepers dirt is necessary.

Where you've been dumping your clippings I'd probably build my compost pile. And maybe enclose it with boxwoods if it looks bad to you. I have mine over in a corner of my garden. That way you could use the compost for your slab area. I love composting.

Boxwoods are great for making "outdoor rooms" Was that what you were considering?

I love specimen gardens so any excuse I have to add a new plant or variety of plant and I go for it lol. So mine looks like a hodge podge.

Here are some possible plants for your area.

Acer shirasawanum 'Autumn Moon' Maple, Fullmoon; this is a short maple that is slow growing. If you were willing to prune it so that it grew right up against your retaining wall or in a two demensional form this would be great possible over by the childens area? This gives 3 seasons of interest but of course would be bare during the winter.

Monkshood and lentel roses planted at the base of the tree would give some additional colors and the lentel roses bloom in winter to give some color and make a focal area during the winter months.

Actaea r. 'James Compton' Bugbane

If you can dump some soil between the concrete pieces could you put some ferns here and there amongst them? Make them look like an old roman ruin or something like that? that could be fun.

Maidenhair Fern, Golden
Himalayan Maidenhair Fern
Athyrium augustum forma rubellum 'Lady in Red'
Athyrium nipponicum 'Pictum-Applecourt' Applecourt Crested Japanese Painted Fern
Athyrium x 'Branford Beauty' Lady Fern, Branford Beauty
Athyrium filix-femina 'Vernoniae Cristatum' Lady Fern, Miss Vernon's Crested



Adlumia fungosa, Mountain Fringe planted at the base of a witch hazel tree treated like I mentioned for the maple would be a nice look.

If you do need a vine I would definitely look into this one. Akebia quinata 'Amethyst Glow' Chocolate Vine

Amelanchier alnifolia Serviceberry this is one bush that you might be able to use in place of the boxwood. You would have to prune it once it started getting larger.

Aronia melanocarpa 'Viking' Black Chokeberry

Wormwood becareful if you go with this one. It will damage other plants that are close to it. I have some in my garden and the daffodils that it is right next to don't bloom. I have to get in there and move them. But six inches away and they act like there is no problem. Mine is in it's second year and is easily 36" tall and has keep its leaves all year.

Arum italicum, Arum this will add winter interest to that area.

Astilbe a. 'Kvele' False Spirea color all year

Here are some boxwood that can handle part shade

Buxus x 'Green Velvet' Boxwood
Buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa' Boxwood
Buxus sempervirens 'Variegata' Boxwood

I hope you find something you like or that gives you an idea that you like.










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I love the idea of the Roman ruin theme in that area! Even though I was admiring some photos of the French countryside yesterday, I know I could never discipline myself to commit to that much repitition, as beautiful as it is. You and I appear to have a lot in common, including the love of adding new specimen plants. I actually DID entertain the idea of an "outdoor room," kind of a "secret garden." I wasn't sure it would work, but the plants you've suggested do make it seem like a do-able choice, though it might take a few years to complete it (as though ANYTHING is ever complete in a garden [smile].)

I wish I could send a photo, but I don't have the capability of doing that at the moment.

Ferns have become some of my favorites and I like many of your other suggestions. I was just looking at a chocolate vine yesterday wondering where I would put it.

I never got around to starting a specific spot where I could place compost materials, but now is probably a very good time to do this. You've given me a lot to think about; thanks a huge bunch of freshly-cut lilacs!


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Your very very welcome. Please keep us posted as you make changes to the area.


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Will do!


"If you're an ant, and you're walking along across the top of a cup of pudding, you probably have no idea that the only thing between you and disaster is the strength of that pudding skin." Jack Handey
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Just wanted to let you know I got started on the theme. I got a bunch of moss from the woods behind the cemetery and covered the concrete with a thin layer of soil, then the moss. I took several types in case one wouldn't grow there well. I also got some ferns from the wooded part of my daughter's property. I decided to start a few climbing hydrangeas there, but I haven't decided what to train them on, whether a trellis or a twig fence.


"If you're an ant, and you're walking along across the top of a cup of pudding, you probably have no idea that the only thing between you and disaster is the strength of that pudding skin." Jack Handey
#64336 Jun 12th, 2007 at 11:06 AM
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I tried a twig fence but I must say they breakdown quickly unless you get one that is treated somehow. Is there any possibility of it just draping across some big chunks of the concrete? Or maybe making some of those big Turafundasp) urns or something. I don't know lol.

I'm glad you were able to get started I look forward to hearing more of your progress.

As soon as it cools down I plan to dig up the dirt underneath my compost pile and move it over to my burm to build it up. Then I think I'll take some of my multicolored succulent ground cover and place it out there for the summer. It loves the heat and the sun.


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Wow.. this sounds like a totally cool project.. I really wish we could see pictures.. maybe sometime eh? Good luck!!! flwr

And TKHooper, what is the multi colored succulent ground cover you speak of?? I have a bank by our horse arena that needs something.. I want something pretty.. I was thinking of strawberry lipstick as a ground cover.. but haven't decided.

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my stuff is tropical. I can put it out in the summer but it has to come in before the temperature drops.


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Oh.. Ok, thanks!! ;)

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I ended up making a trellis. A long time ago my husband had started making shutters and I found two of his original prototypes that he ended up not using. Both of them have diamond-shaped cut-out designs. I placed them near each other and hammered a couple wooden stretchers across to hold them together. I painted them green to blend in with all the woods and shrubs behind the yard. Nature provided one decorative element at the corner of this spot. I'm one of those people who actually likes red summac--its leaves seem tropical to me. Anyhow, a summac growing behind the yard has tipped toward it and is overhanging the concrete pile. The red flowers actually look very nice there, so I may brace it after the season ends, so it doesn't fall down.


"If you're an ant, and you're walking along across the top of a cup of pudding, you probably have no idea that the only thing between you and disaster is the strength of that pudding skin." Jack Handey
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I hope you can get pictures and post them here. I would love to see it.


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Going with a Roman theme, maybe a couple of poplars to add a verticle dimension?


Julianne

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