Monday, March 06, 2006

So Many Plants, Such Little Space

I love color, and I knew I didn't want to replace the existing mess of bushes with more boring greenery that would eventually become another ugly mess of bushes, but I do appreciate the tidiness offered by a sleek hedge row when it is well-maintained. However, how long will it take for us to grow bored of trimming and clipping hedges to keep them in line? I am particularly notorious for losing interest in projects that I was once so ambitious to complete. I started scouring Internet greenhouse websites in search of the sleek flowering shrub that didn't require constant care.

I found so many plants that I loved, but for this reason or that, they just wouldn't work. I wish our yard was 10 times the size it is so I could fit in Weeping Cherry trees, Old-Fashioned Lilacs, Wisteria, Crape Myrtles and Japanese Magnolias. But, since our land isn't going to magically multiply, I need to focus on the task at hand and find the right plants for this yard. It takes discipline to choose the right plants, because the "right" plant isn't always necesarily your favorite plant. I found that you usually have to make a compromise between what you want and what is practial; otherwise, you will end up digging up dying plants in a future season, heart-broken at the loss.

The plants I wish I could have but can't are Nikko Blue Hydrangeas. I lived in Alabama for about 10 years, and this is where I fell in love with Hydrangeas. I moved to Alabama from the North when I was 19, and I can't recall ever seeing a Hydrangea in that zone. My first idea was to replace the current bushes with hydrangeas, but that was quickly hampered when I found that hydrangeas can't withstand the 8 hours of direct sunlight our front yard receives every day. Furthermore, hydrangeas can't really be manicured into a tidy hedge row. I won't deny that I scoured the Internet searching for someone to tell me the Hydrangeas would prosper in my front yard, but in the end, I gave up the dream in favor of a plant that would thrive in the given conditions. The purplish-blue tint of the poms would probably have clashed badly with the yellow and burgundy of our house anyway, so I'm sure it's all for the best. I did order one Nikko Blue Hydrangea that I plan to grow in a large pot on the back deck. I just couldn't resist ...

Then I came upon the Knockout Rose, touted to be the lowest maintenance rose shrub ever bred, blooming profusely from early Spring to late Fall with beautiful deep red blooms that would match our house nicely. I had shyed away from roses due to their reknowned difficulty to grow and maintain, and my reknowned ability to kill house plants quickly, but this looks to be the perfect rose shrub that even I can't kill! I guess we'll see about that ... I ordered 10 quart sized shrubs from Greenwood Nursery that will be shipped the week of April 3rd. That would give us over a month to tear out the old shrubs and prepare the soil. We should be able to get that done in time, right?

While on the Greenwood Nursery website I also gave in to my temptation to purchase 5 Japanese Snowball trees. Our backyard could use some sprucing up too, and we're going to start with some of these! They claim to be hardy and easy to grow, and I plan to put that statement to the test. I eventually had to stop browsing plants on the Internet, because I have trouble not purchasing the unusual specimens I would find. I can talk myself into finding a spot for everything I like.


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