I always wish that I had committed to a better evergreen/shrub base in the front of the house. As much as I love the daylilies, they don’t give me anything to look at in the winter, can look pretty rough in the summer when it’s hot and dry (like this past summer), and do require some cleanup to stay decent looking (pulling up the dead, brown leaves and pulling out the spent stems).
I went with daylilies because I wanted to be different, but I now understand the value of shrubs in a landscape area like that. They fill up space nicely, provide year-round interest that is pretty easy to maintain, and give you a great place to put some xmas lights up (though I am a bit of a grinch, I have always loved outdoor Christmas lights because we never really had them growing up). I had some Euonymus centered on each side, but it’s still pretty small even after being there for several years. I also felt like I was trying too hard to make both sides symmetrical (with the 2 bushes with daylilies on either side), even though they’re not. I have more vertical space to play with on the one side that doesn’t interfere with a window. And those little baskets on shepherd’s hooks are cute, but they just aren’t cutting it for height. (PS – Also I can’t wait until we replace those ugly grey shingles one day. Both hubby and I HATE them, but they’re still in good shape. Oh and that dead tree behind there is in the neighbors’ yard. BUT I DIGRESS.)
Normally, I would think it would be too much trouble to dig up and relocate all my daylilies. But this year, they were pitifully small thanks to drought, so they were be fairly easy to separate out, dig up, and relocate (either temporarily into pots, or to somewhere else). I wanted to keep most of the plants, since a lot of them are passalongs from my mom and have some sentimental value.
So…notice how all of that was in past-tense? Well, a friend of mine (who also happens to be Ainsley’s part-time sitter) is moving in a few weeks, and they are renting out their current home after they move. So they wanted to make sure the landscaping was easy to care for. Like in so many neighborhoods, their landscaper had somehow shoved 3 nandinas and a couple of spireas all in an area where ONE spirea would have happily lived. They tend to do this so the plants quickly fill in when they’re selling the property, but then after the plants mature the homeowners are stuck cutting them back severely every year.
Well, after she asked for some advice about what to do with the area, she asked if I would like the 2 nandinas they had decided to remove. Yes! I had actually been looking at getting some Firethorn for the area where I wanted some height in the front of the house, and nandina is somewhat similar (the red berries are less obvious than the orange of the firethorn, but still pretty). The have a bare trunk-like area at the bottom, so they are sort of a cross between a tree and a shrub, they have great height, good fall color (the leaves get reddish), and berries (I love berries!).
So I picked them up and stuck them temporarily in some pots I had spraypainted blue (the same ones that used to house the evergreens (RIP) on the front stoop – they were pretty beat up, so I figured some cobalt spraypaint might be fun). They were very rootbound in those pots, but we were expecting Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy that weekend, so I knew they’d get plenty of rain. I propped them up on the side of the house where I figured they’d be fairly protected from the wind and dug the pots into the ground a bit for stability. Fall is a great time for planting, so it worked out really well.
I did have to prop one back up once during the storm, but they weathered it well. I think it was the next weekend when it was fairly nice and Will was home to watch Ainsley, so I figured I had better get those suckers in the ground! I decided to plant the other on the side of the house, kind of where they had been stashed, because that area also needed some height.
First, I had to dig a big ol’ hole to fit all of those roots into, then watered it down well. I didn’t have to move anything to plant the first one.
Like those action shots? Ha. Anyway. To plant the one in the front of the house, I had to do some moving. The nandina would be going where a shrub currently lived, so I had to dig up the shrub (euonymous) and make a new home for it. I decided to put the shrub on the other side of the steps in front of the house, so the two shrubs would be together on one side (non-symmetry!). I had to dig up some daylilies to make room for it.
I did have to readjust the shrub once after I planted that (they were too close together for my liking), but I really like how it turned out. The daylilies I dug up are currently stashed in pots for the winter until I decide where I want to put them, and the nandinas and shrubs have been doing well. I LOVE the height we now have! Finally! (This one on the side is a bit shorter, but this area gets a lot of sun, so I think it will sprout up quite a bit this summer…hopefully.)
You can see some edger stones in this pic. That is one project we have planned for the spring. We also really, really need to put down some thick mulch this spring. Those edger stones will give us a nice border and allow us to put down thick mulch without it washing away, which is a problem we have now. You can also see how much smaller that trellis by the corner of the house is – I removed all of the crazy hummingbird plant (an annual that reseeds every year), so there’s just jessamine on there (which is fairly evergreen). Now the front of the house does look a bit different…still a lot of debris out front from the termite saga (there is still some work to be done whenever Will and his dad are off at the same time), and a cute new door I plan to paint yellow this spring. I can’t decide what to do about the screen door when I paint the actual door…I like having it, but it will cover up a lot of the door (like it does in these pics). Would it be crazy to paint the screen door the same color as the actual door? Would that look horrible? Anyway.
and for a quick comparison without scrolling…
So…what do you think? I am thrilled and excited to see what it will look like this spring and summer. Big lesson learned with the lack of shrubs, but I think we finally righted the situation!