2022 Garden Priority #1 - Shrubs and Shrubs and Shrubs - March 2022

Over the past few years, I've always worked to identify some 'priority areas' in the garden/yard that I posted about - ahead of my annual to-do lists - that was a sort-of forcing-function to get me to focus on specific plants and planting projects.  Last year, I identified three areas of focus:  behind the oak on the southside, understory on the northside and the IB2DW area in front.   The results?  Mixed bag.  

That doesn't mean I'm going to abandon the prioritization process here in my planning portion of my [garden diary].  But, I'm thinking of things a little differently this year and plan on trying to consolidate my thoughts in a few posts that will outline some PLANTING priorities and AREA priorities.  

For this first one, I'm calling it a Planting Priority - because it isn't just in one specific area, rather across a variety of spots. And that planting priority?  Shrubs.  

I suppose I'll start with a list of needs with shrubs:

Before I get into some additional details and where my current thinking lies, I'll show a few of the areas where these shrubs need to go.  First is the combo of some of the Oakleaf Hydrangeas and Viburum in green.  The two un-colored Viburnum are the pair that are already planted.

Here, below, are the locations of the other six Viburnums along the north and west sides near the back.

This post shows the locations of both the Little Lime and Tardiva hydrangeas.  The Tardivas require the removal of some Lilac shrubs that have never worked due to lack of sun. 

None of that addresses the concept that I raised in this post from last year when I ran through the idea of putting EVERGREENS behind Hydrangeas - as you look at them.  That means...for the house...put evergreens BEHIND the Hydrangeas.  And along the fenceline, it means putting evergreens in the very back, then fronted by deciduous shrubs like Hydrangeas and Viburnums.  That would mean planting a row of Hicks upright Yews or something else upright like Thujas/Arborvitae or even the Sky Pencil Holly (that I've posted about before) first, then the shrubs I listed above.  

I think that means that I need to amend the list above and add these - but they need to be upright:

  • 3-4 Hicks Upright Yews or upright Boxwoods for the deep shade
  • 3-4 Thujas/Arborvitae/upright Junipers that can tolerate part shade for behind the Viburnum on northside.

I posted about this new for 2022 Arborvitae - Cheer Drops - that might be a good candidate for some spots. 

There's also some other things on my mind in terms of shrubs this year:  First...cloud pruning. I suppose I need a full post just on that topic - more to come on that soon - but that needs to be included here on my priority tracker.  And I'm thinking about it two different ways:  pruning what we already have AND thinking about planting something evergreen that can grow and be cloud-pruned over time.  I planted that awesome Japanese White Pine last year, but it didn't make it.  Womp, Womp.  (More on that in a separate In Memoriam post...).  I'm thinking of something similar that would take its place.  And, I need to take a close look at the Gold Cone Junipers that are a little more lollipop-shaped currently.  Could I wire these up bonsai-style?

When I put the full list together, it is pretty daunting and very likely budget-busting.   However, this year might be the year where I focus my acquisition away from trees.  Last year, I planted 13 new trees, so this year, I can shrink that number (and maybe focus on just ONE or TWO high-quality trees along with some Belgian Fence replacements) and make way for these shrubs.  Here's the list for this Priority #1 for 2022:

  • 5 Oakleaf Hydrangea.  
  • 8 Viburnum.
  • 3 Tardiva Hydrangea. 
  • 1 Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea.
  • 6-8 small Hicks upright Yews.
  • 3-4 Hicks Upright Yews or upright Boxwoods.
  • 3-4 Thujas/Arborvitae/upright Junipers/Sky Pencil Holly.
  • An evergreen to feature and cloud-prune like a Juniper or Cypress that can tolerate part shade.
I'll be including this on my 2022 to-do list in the coming days/weeks, but this will serve as a good scorecard on how well I did this year at the garden center.


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