a shrubbery!

We’ve had a burst of really unseasonable weather – but it’s been gorgeous and sunny and just what we need here in the land of overcast winters. (We know winter won’t really be over for a month or most likely more.) This has put me even more in the mood to think about the garden and what I hope to work on this year.

As you might remember from last year, here is a diagram of the yard and some ideas for pathways and such:

Firefly Cottage 2016-03-30

You’ll notice around the edges that I want to put in a hedge. This ideally will eventually surround the entire yard and will be higher in the back for increased privacy, but in the front I only want it to get about 3-4′ high. I want it to be composed of shrubs that naturally grow to about that height but not higher, because I am super not interested in trimming hedges all the time. I also like the look of a natural hedge better than one that has been groomed.

I’ve read in some books about traditional cottage gardens that they often use multiple varieties of plants to create a hedge, so having it all be the same is not necessary required. Another priority for me is to have it be evergreen – I can plant deciduous shrubs elsewhere in the yard. I’d like the hedge to look good in winter (since we have plenty of that) and support birds, which a lot of evergreen shrubs do. Ideally I can also get mostly female plants so they can act as a pollen screen or at least produce less pollen overall.

Here are some options I’m looking at – please comment with any feedback if you’ve got experience or suggestions!

Korean Boxwood
Korean Boxwood (Buxus microphylla koreana)
This one grows 3-4′ tall and wide, making it an ideal shape for a hedge plant. It also attracts bees, which I also like. It doesn’t love full sun, which might be a problem, though this site does say that ‘up north’ it should be okay. I’m also looking at the ‘Wintergreen’ variety of Korean Boxwood.

 Boxwood 'Welleri'
Boxwood ‘Welleri’ (Buxus sempervirens ‘Welleri’)
This one is right in the 3-4′ height sweet spot and spreads 5′. It should theoretically look nice in winter and is supposed to be great at providing a solid screen.

Boxwood 'Green Mountain'
Boxwood ‘Green Mountain’ (Buxus sempervirens ‘Green Mountain’)
This one is a little taller, getting 4-5′ and is supposed to do very well in cold climates.

For taller varieties, I’m looking at:

Boxwood 'Inglis'
Inglis Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Inglis’)
This one grows to 9-10′ high and 8-9′ wide. It’s supposed to be really hardy and attractive.

Juniper 'Wichita Blue'
Juniper ‘Wichita Blue’ (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita’)
I love the color of this one! It gets 10-15′ high and is supposed to provide a really solid windscreen. I’d love to grow this all along the back of our yard to provide a living fence to block our view of our neighbor’s back yard AND to provide a nice backdrop for other plantings.

Have you grown an evergreen hedge? Any recommendations?

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Spirea Spreading

This Spirea next to the garage has gotten too big for its britches!

Firefly Cottage - Spirea

It needs to be moved or divided – I’m wondering if I could just split off some bits from around the edge to start as new plantings elsewhere, so I wouldn’t have to dig the entire thing up? I’m guessing that I should wait until fall when it’s done blooming before I do anything to it. Anyone have suggestions or advice to share?

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