Shrubs At Feet of Linden Espalier Trees - An Exploration - April 2022
This is the third in a series of shrub exploration posts that are helping me think and plan how I execute on my #1 priority for 2022: plant shrubs in a deliberate way. I started with this 20' area where I need to replace some lilacs with an evergreen layer and three Tardiva Hydrangeas. Yesterday, I looked at an adjacent spot that calls for a similar (but different) evergreen layer fronted by three dwarf Little Lime Hydrangeas that are planted in a way to NOT foreclose a potential path. Today, I'm looking at the area that lays at the feet of the pair of Greenspire Linden trees along our fenceline. Here's what it looks like today:
Orange ovals = Greenspire Lindens in a horizontal cordon espalier. Green ovals = Summer Beauty Alliums.
I've always wanted a little bit more structure in this area - but haven't done anything meaningful. There are two problems: First...the plan is SILENT here. No plantings. Second, there's a bit of an elevation/slope that is going on here that I think should be dealt with as part of plantings.
Let's first address the idea of the slope. Could I take the learnings from my screened porch retaining wall and apply it here? I could see something close to an outcropping that is set about a foot tall from the lawn grade to provide this bed with a flat surface. I've put that concept in the annotated photo below - the blue lines represent a potential retaining wall. What else is there? A combination set of evergreen shrubs. The yellow ones are (for now) something more pyramidal. With the red circles being more circular/balls. I'm not totally sure yet - but could this be a place to do something like Linda Vater's boxwoods style that includes rows AND balls? Or, just a row of them like this example.
These could be yews or they could be boxwoods. Below is a photo from Hinsdale Nursery showing their Buxus 'Green Velvet' that would certainly do the trick here.
Just like the other posts, this exploration is helping me deal with a shopping list.
So far, here's what I've come to understand for these three areas now. First the hydrangeas + evergreens:
- Three upright evergreens (Yews, Thujas, Hemlocks)
- Three other upright evergreens (different ones from above)
- Three Tardiva Hydrangeas
- Three Little Lime Hydrangeas
- And now...eight to twelve boxwoods.