Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A mixed hedge

Yes, I've been quiet for a while, but not because I'm not working on improvements to the red brick building.  I've been trying to put together my fall orders of plants for the roof garden for the past 2 weeks but still don't have it finalized.  The hold-up is the mixed hedge I want to put in on the right hand side of the garden. 

Initially I was planning to put in a row of plants that would grow to about 4 feet tall, but as I've reflected on what is and isn't working in the garden, I've come to the conclusion that I need more of a feeling of enclosure...in addition to more structure.  So all my lovely 4ft tall shrub selections had to be tossed and I've been scouring gardening books, magazines and the web to find interesting choices that will grow to between 6 and 8 feet tall - and not take an eternity to do it!

I feel like 4 good picks will be sufficient.  So far I've got sambucus nigra 'Laciniata', which is a cut-leaf elderberry that produces white flowers in the spring, black berries in summer and has butter yellow foliage in fall:

I'm also sold on elaeagnus pungens 'Clemson Variegated', which has glossy green and yellow variegated evergreen leaves and puts out tiny highly fragrant white flowers in October and November:

Some sources say it's only hardy to zone 7 and others say it's hardy to 6, so fingers crossed that it'll be hardy in the red brick building's garden.

My third plant choice is deutzia x magnifica, which is a profuse white bloomer in June and July but doesn't do anything else the rest of the year. 

The flowers are gorgeous so I'm hoping that's enough for me to feel like it has earned its keep.  I'm also concerned about whether it's a fast enough grower.  I'm finding that deutzia gracilis 'Nikko' isn't for me.

My fourth plant choice is the biggest challenge.  I'm leaning towards Ribes sanguinem 'White Icicle', which flowers white in spring, then puts out black berries in summer before turning yellow in the fall:

I've also got my eye on a couple of larger viburnums, but they just don't make my pulse quicken.  Same with rhododendrons.  A hydrangea could be a possibility if I could find a sufficiently intriguing cultivar, and one that doesn't add too much non-white color before autumn.  Another option I have is to move either my star magnolia or my mock orange out of its planter and line it up in the hedge.  I'm a bit loathe to disturb them, though, since they've taken a while to get their bearings.  Looking again to my garden for hedge candidates, my Persian shrub rose 'Nastarana' is just about where the future hedge is supposed to go and has been performing brilliantly ever since I planted her back in early summer.  So I *could* try incorporating her into the hedge as my fourth shrub...

I'm surprised by how challenging I'm finding this.  Until I've got the mixed hedge worked out, I'm holding off on all the other fun plants I want to order, so as not to place than one order from each nursery.  I'm excited to share some of those goodies with you soon.

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