Have you been following along on my quest to renovate the foundation plantings on the east side of my house? Today I finally got to the fun part. I got to plant some shrubs, including this Beautyberry, Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Issai’. It is supposed to only grow to three or four feet with a nice arching habit and have these purple berries on it until early winter.
The tag said it was hardy to zone 5, root hardy to zone 4. To me that means if it gets too overgrown or out of control, I could cut it way back, like I’ve done with Spiraea shrubs, and it will come back and start over again.
Before we get to the picture of the bed with its new shrubs, let’s review what’s been done, shall we?
This is how the bed started out. Overgrown with English ivy, there were three half dead Deutzia shrubs in there somewhere, along with the stumps of two Hypericum shrubs I had cut back in the spring (because they were nearly dead after a bagworm attack).
I dug out the shrubs and the ivy, a little at a time. It’s not so overwhelming, really, if you just do a little at a time.
Then I tore down the retaining wall and rebuilt it so it was no longer leaning out, looking like it could fall at any moment.As you can see, I also brought in some top soil to bring the soil level back up to the top of the wall.
Are you ready to see the newly planted bed?
Ta da.It doesn’t look very full now, but I’ve only planted the new shrubs so far, the foundation of this bed. In addition to three Beautyberry shrubs, I planted two Hydrangea paniculata ‘Tardiva’, one on each end. I believe I’m going to have to prune those back a bit to keep them to a height of five feet or so, but they will be nice in this bed with their late blooming white flowers.
To me this looks nice but is a little underwhelming. It takes time for shrubs to grow and fill in an area. I’m planning to add some more to this bed, mostly some daffodils in groups in the front for spring bloom, maybe some daylilies, maybe some English ivy.
Kidding on the English ivy! I’m not planting that again. If I decide to add a ground cover it will be Vinca minor, or something controllable.
Do you remember my bed of False Dragon’s Head, Ribbon Grass, and Four O’Clocks?
I cleared it out, too, and planted a forsythia there.
This is an awkward spot because of the need to provide access to the utility boxes and keep the area around the heat pump clear. This particular forsythia is Forsythia x intermedia ‘Show Off’. I wasn’t planning to buy another forsythia, but the guy at the nursery talked me into it. He said something like “it sure has a lot of flower buds on it”. Then I remembered that my sister thought her forsythia was better than mine, and decided that if I had this one, I would have the better forsythia. Ha! Sold!
I’ll plant some spring flowering bulbs and other perennials around this, too.
I still want to get some more shrubs to plant on the other side of the heat pump, but I haven’t found any shrubs that seem right for this area. But at least I’ve got most of this area cleared out, except for the daylilies, which I decided were worth saving.
And that’s what I have to show for the week. Six shrubs planted. It doesn’t sound like much, but as my neighbors on that side kept saying each time they saw me out there working on those beds, “that looks like a lot of work”.
It was work, but taking it a little at a time, it was quite manageable. Now I’m looking forward to finishing it up, planting some bulbs, finding a few more shrubs, and watching the shrubs grow and make these beds their own.