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Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

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Re: Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby HeelsDown » May 02, 2012 10:01 pm

Hey everyone! Thanks so much for the warm welcome and for all the great ideas! Bear with me...this could be a bit long as I want to answer everyone who took the time to say hello. :)

First off, I think I should clarify that I'm not cutting of my 19 trees down (I counted them tonight haha!). We moved to have mature trees and a yard so, definitely, not in the plan. Even the p-i-t-a walnuts - they are SO messy and I have to keep my list of what grows near them and what doesn't on me when I plan that side of the house for sure, but I could never cut them down. They are over 120 feet high and the yard would look so bare without them. Besides, the squirrels would revolt if I did ...hee hee!

All we are doing to the trees on the property is giving them a really good prune. Because the property was not maintained, we have a lot of dead branches, leading branches over other trees, branches leaning on the hydro wires and generallly a lot of clean up. We are also cabling two of the older trees that have split trunks to protect them. We had many quotes and companies come out, and we ended up selecting a certified arborist who doesn't use studs to climb the trees and cables around the trees and not through them. Everything he does is in the tree's best interest. Promise! :)

So, back to the garden! I like the flowering shrub idea b/c there is a lot of green in the front yard - my one concern would be usually they need a lot of sun to get their full colour, right? I used to have a Purple Sandcherry at my other house and LOVED it, but I read no sun will prevent the leaves from turning the deep purple they are famous for. Any ideas for a particular flowering shrub anyone? I'd totally do more hydrangea's, like Laura mentioned, but there are 3 of them already on the other side of the house so I'd like to do something different.

lulu - never thought of a barberry and cypress...quite sharp looking! I add cypress to my list of things to look at this weekend as well. For perennials, I just got the springgarden.ca catalogue and have dog-eared a few pages...haha!

Kelly - thanks...the brick is nice, isn't it? Our neighbour told us that it came from an old orphanage that used to be in the county a long time ago. It must have been a large building b/c there are about 6 houses here with it. Pretty neato. And, good call! I live in a small town outside Waterloo!

BBQ - love that Yew! It looks like the right size and width for my corners...so pretty! Would it keep that lighter colour if it didn't have enough sun? If so, that would be a nice offset to the darker greens I already have.

Wow - you guys are great!! Thanks so much...sorry this was so long lol! I'll put all these ideas on my list for the weekend and see how it all might work. Pictures will definitely be posted when complete!

Jenn
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Re: Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby Heidi S » May 03, 2012 12:25 am

Gee, Jenn,

I love the care and attention you are paying to your herd of trees. They do sound worth the money and effort to rejuvenate, for sure. Your house is charming and has a lovely classical look! It's very attractive on its own merits, but the ideas you have been given here are great for enhancing the lot with more gardens.

My own gardening philosophy has developed over the years to be based on foliage, texture and colour (of foliage), with flowers being the jewelry on top. The shade of your trees will obviously govern what you can grow, but I would lay out beds of hosta, heuchera, ferns, shapely evergreen shrubs, and specimen deciduous shrubs.

I like the other posters' suggestion of the Hicks yew, except it can get to 20 ft high and 10 ft wide, so it does definitely need pruning to keep it within the space you have. It can take full shade, though which would be ideal for your front yard.

You might consider using boxwood, which is a classical evergreen shrub that can be shaped easily. It can take part shade, but not full shade. The 'Golden Triumph' boxwood gets 3 ft x 3 ft and has fresh, yellow leaves in spring.

With the colouring of your bricks, I would recommend some plants that have red tones and yellow tones to brighten the palette. I too, would love to see your progress later in the year.
Heidi S,
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Re: Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby kelly_m » May 03, 2012 9:27 am

Oh Jenn..I love the story of the bricks! I have a friend who lives in Drayton (visiting her this weekend to check on her massive gardens!!LOL) and have family in Port Elgin...I think the reason why I love going to visit my GF in drayton is because the area reminds me so much of Port Elgin!! Except for the fact that it's not right on the lake!

Sandcherries do do best in the sun, but I had one that was mostly in dappled light, full sun mid day and dappled again late aft....under a canopy of White Pines (dirtiest tree ever...worse than Walnut IMHO!) and it did really well! Nice dark foliage, and latos of spring flowers! But I moved it in the dog days of summer last year, middle of a dry spell, into a much sunnier spot....killed the thing...at least the mature bits! Fortunately the roots were strong enough to set out suckers this year, so not a total loss....

Wegeila is another flowering shrub that would do okay, if you didn't want the hydrangea. Wine and Roses has lovely deep red flowers, with a red tinged leaf.

Chocolate Ninebark could be another consideration....deep red/brown leaves with pink-kissed flower clups in early spring. I think the foliage on that would compliment your brick and wood nicely!

some smaller shrubs could be, say, Spirea...there are several varieties....would look for a deeper pink flowered one...I have one that in the sun the flowers are deeper, but the leaves greener...but in the shade, the leaves are redder and flowers a bit lighter....same shrub....stole it from little seedlings that blew through the fence from a nieghbour!!

Kelly
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Re: Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby Puff10 » May 03, 2012 3:23 pm

I recommend one good sized rhododendron on either side of front steps!They love the shade!!
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Re: Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby HeelsDown » May 03, 2012 3:59 pm

Wow, I just have to say again...you guys are SO helpful! Thank you so much!

Heidi - thanks for the compliments and I love the saying "herd of tree's." That's how I'm going to refer to them now! Funny you should mention hostas. I never really knew what they were until I moved to this house and now, I definitely know them. In a few weeks, I should re-post the pictures b/c then you'll see the dozens of them that we have lol! I learned last year just how easy they are to split too so was able to fill in some of the empty spots that way. I checked last weekend and I didn't kill a single splitting...yay! Boxwood is a good idea - we had that at our last house and it was very easy to keep. And, I totally agree...I'm really starting to lean towards a yellow/red theme with some yews if possible.

OMG Kelly - this is too strange! I used to live in Port Elgin! Spent about 5 years there when I was in high school and was so sad to leave. I still really miss living by the water too. Why are white pines so dirty? I've not heard anything about them...I only have a red pine. Did an image search on weigela and it's so pretty! Another great idea! Ha...seedlings from neighbours is a very economical way to garden :lol:

Rhodendron - I thought of that for the side yard, but then found out it can't live near walnuts so completely deleted it from my mind. Never considered it for the front.

Geez! I want to ditch work now and head to the garden stores ... is it 5 yet??! LOL!

Jenn
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Re: Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby kelly_m » May 03, 2012 4:08 pm

Too funny!!! And small world!! So I have to ask....do you know any O'leary's, Christmanns, eby's, um....can't remember the family names! LOL

White pines are quick growers. They have been used (in the past) to reforest clear cut areas because they mature so fast.

But....they drop needles on a gust made by a bird flying by.....big long thick needles that get stuck in your rake. Stink up the neighbour hood when you burn them....drop pine cones that shoot out your lawnmower and take someone's eye out, and bark comes flying off every wind storm.

Grass doesn't grow very well, usually because of the amount of needles dropped...dense carpet it can be. and quite acidic.

They don't grow big and tall like your great red pine there, but have spindly branches with tufts of needles off them! every spring there is the big needle clean-up.......
Kelly
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Re: Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby davefrombc » May 03, 2012 4:26 pm

Black Walnut does suppress a lot of other plant growth under its drip line , but doesn't bother any farther out. Rhododendrons like moist , but well drained soil and an acid pH.
As long as anything you want to plant is outside the drip line ( outer reach of the trees branches) of the walnut will not be affected by it .
BC Fraser Valley zone 7/8
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Re: Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby Heidi S » May 03, 2012 5:08 pm

Jenn, your house is such a different look that we have out here on the west side of the country - we build houses with wood, and rarely see brick except as an occasional facing stone. The architecture is different somehow. And the age of your place gives it that classical look. I just like the look of brick houses of that vintage!

Anyway, the hardest part of this whole project will be making the final choices. At zone 5 you have lots of scope to find great shrubs to fit your needs.

Enjoy your spring and summer working in your garden!
Heidi S,
Prince George, BC
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Re: Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby orchidguy » May 03, 2012 11:45 pm

Welcome to the forum Jenn

I totally agree with keeping the planting symmetrical in keeping with the colonial revival style of your home.
The brick is an interesting colour and will match very well with just about any colour of bloom or foliage that you will choose.
A pair of hydrangeas , back planted with Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) might look great, and would fill a good portion of the area in quickly. They both do well in shady locations and would provide both bloom from mid to late summer and winter interest for the remainder of the year. If the rest of the bed is then filled with earlier blooms or colourful foliage, then you will have a very well rounded garden
Make sure to keep us posted on your decision.
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Re: Have Ideas for my Front Garden?

Postby HeelsDown » May 04, 2012 11:05 am

Hello, hello hello all!

Hmm...of those names, Kelly, the most familar sounding is Eby. Definitely heard that name. And now that you mention white pines, I realized my neighbour has 3 and that's where all the pine cones came from in our back yard lol!

Thanks Heidi! All of our family lives out west so I know exactly the style you are talking about. I really like how the houses look out there actually. A lot of them also remind me of craftsman bungalows on a larger scale. Everytime I visit, I'm amazed with how green it is and I envy how fast my sister and brother's stuff grows. In comparison, mine seems to take so looong. Our house is actually double-bricked too...sure don't make 'em like that anymore.

Dan - thank you! We've been trying to figure out the style of the house since we bought it. Every thing I've looked at never seems to match my house though. It has no huge pillars, no central hallway and no windows on the upper level front. I'll look up colonial revival now. Never thought of honeysuckle. It's pretty and I like that it attracts hummingbirds and bee's. Since moving to this house, I've become quite the bird feeder now too! It seems that it would wrap up an arbour quite nicely. We have one of those around the side of our house off the deck. Focus Jenn...the front first! LOL

Definitely right...SO much choice!!!

Last night we actually had a huge windstorm hit our house. It came out of nowhere and lasted about 10 minutes. Intense! We lost a big branch off a pine in our side yard and a huge limb snapped on an ash we have in our backyard. I think it might not be salvageable (pics added to the original album). I'm waiting for the arborist to call me back to see what options we have...it cannot wait to be dealt with like the pruning we are waiting for him to book.

Crazy!!
Jenn
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