Monday, April 21, 2008

Forsythia meets Arborvitae and Dogwood

We had a rainy Saturday and a gorgeous, perfect, warm, sunny, and productive Sunday. My dear husband tried out his new chain saw and cut down the Washington Hawthorn.

Here are the first three in what will be a mixed shrub border. Forsythia Lynwood, meet Emerald Green Arborvitae! Arborvitae, meet Bailey Red Twig Dogwood.

(Dogwood Bumsted is just starting to leaf out.)

My nursery trip earlier Sunday netted, in addition to the arborvitae, two Japanese dappled willows (Salix integra Nishiki - the taller variety, although these are definitely not tall yet, and are also dormant, so they look even more insignificant!) The willows will be gorgeous. They have a lovely shape, almost weeping when they are more mature, with bright pink stems, and beautiful, colorful foliage. I would like to have gotten larger ones, but no one had them larger. I have it on good authority that they grow fast. I hope so. They're puny now!

I should have taken a picture before my Beloved cut down the hawthorn so you could see how pathetic and sad that poor tree was. It's hard for me to imagine that tree ever being pretty. With the hawthorn out of the way, I planted the River Birch on our beautiful Sunday. Still dormant, it doesn't look like much now. But one day it will be a beautiful, peeling cinnamon barked, multi-trunked pretty-leafed, sturdy tree. This one is over 6 feet tall, and nicely branched. I could have spent more and gotten a larger one. Considering the mature Cornelian Cherries right behind the birch and all the woody roots from those and from the hawthorn, I opted for a smaller one. I didn't want to cut up too many existing roots to get the birch's root ball in the ground.The nurseries are all open and teeming with stock. Next up, I'll be looking for pink pussy willows. I'll make phone calls first. (Have you seen the price of gas??? They weren't kidding when they said it would be $4.00/gallon by summer.) I think I might dust off my bike and strap shrubs to my back! . . . Or maybe I could buy some saddlebags. Make those 3-gallon size please!


  1. Linda, How wonderful you are getting out in some beautiful weather. You are a patient one and smart one really... I have to consider root ball size when planting under my oaks too. It isn't a fun thing running into roots just when you thought you knew just where you wanted that new plant. All your choices sound wonderful even though I don't own a single one of them... I'll be waiting with you to see them when they mature. Have a great day!
    (oh the bike comment was something to consider- only I can barely fit my finds in the SUV as it is... ha-ha)
    Meems @Hoe&Shovel

  2. linda - wasnt sunday just beautiful? I'll be out shopping for shrubs myself either monday or tuesday. where did you find these? I'm always on the lookout for a new garden center that i havnt visited.

    lol @ strapping the shrubs to your back. that really cracked me up.

  3. Meems, we LIVE outside from April to October!

    I have some 'unusual' spacing between some of my perennial groupings. I try to space them evenly, but the maple root just don't cooperate.

    I have a compact car. It's a good thing the rear seats fold down. The forsythia, arborvitae and the birch had to be ever-so-gently bent to fit them in my car. The arborvitae was still a bit cockeyed from being folded into my back seat after I planted it, but it's nice and straight again this morning.

    Gina, yesterday was Glorious! I haven't been there yet, but I found this place in Minooka on the internet this winter: I must check it out! I think it will be worth the trip since I'm in the market for more shrubs for myself and a couple of my gardening clients.

    I buy almost all my perennials and annuals from the nursery where I work on Governor's Highway in Flossmoor. We grow a great selection of beautiful, healthy perennials sold in gallon pots, as well as a wonderful selection of annuals. We also carry a nice variety of blooming shrubs.

    I found the forsythia and arborvitae at one of the big boxes, and the dogwood and willows at Saunoris Bros. on Harlem Ave. in Tinley Park, a little south of of the I-80 Harlem Ave. exit. They have a nice selection of shrubs and trees. I also like Sloans nursery on 169th on Cicero Ave. They have lots of trees and shrubs. Unfortunately they were closed yesterday so I couldn't check out their selection.

  4. I've been past (& looked fondly at out the window) your workplace when DH & I visit his aunt & uncle in Olympia Fields. Everything is looking good, you've already got a lot done. Isn't shrub buying fun? When you go to strap the shrubs on your back, don't forget to take them out of the pots & remove all the soil 1st - that will make them much lighter. :^)

  5. MMD, very cool! It is a small world, after all. Our little nursery isn't fancy, but we have wonderful plants, and have been a staple of the community here for 22 years. The owners are the nicest people you'd ever want to know, and it's a pleasure working with them. Apparently the 'mom' of this mom and pop and I look a lot alike, and I'm always mistaken for her. We both have similar ethnic origins, and that might be why. I'm her taller twin, or so I'm told!

    I have gardened in Olympia Fields many times. There's a lady who lives there that has one of the most spectacular gardens I've ever seen. It's my favorite place to work. I could get lost in her garden.

    Thanks for the hint - I do like to travel light, and bare root shrubs might be just the thing to strap on my back! Maybe that's why I've seen people pull plants out their pots and take them to the register like that for purchase. I guess those folks are smarter than I initially thought!

    Our greenhouses are still crammed with plants, but we did get a lot of things out last week. It's good exercise, and hopefully will help with those extra few pesky pounds I put on over the winter!

  6. I've been to 6 different nurseries and all they have for sale is pansies. I want more flowers, but I just can't do all one variety. Sounds like you were busy little bees!

  7. Cinj, even last week it was like that here. Just as it's been at the nursery where I work, every nursery I've visited seems to have exploded with plants and activity. It's exciting to go to work check out what's new after a day off. As quickly as the greenhouses are being emptied of winter-grown perennials, annuals take their places. It probably won't be long before your WI nurseries are as teeming with selections as ours suddenly (and finally ;) are here.

  8. Awesome plant choices! MAybe it's because I've most of the same things, though.... Yes, I've been calling nurseries first now, too, this year. $50 for a tank of gas, even in a small city, is quite large!

  9. Benjamin, you have good taste! ;) I'm very happy with the choices so far, and happy with the way the shrubs look together. I also like not having them in a straight line.

  10. I like your plant choices. That Emerald Green is one of my favorites. I planted two in my new yard already. It beats the Leyland hands down and so does the Cryptomeria. I know what you mean about gas. I was driving an hour to one nursery they had me working for--I got switched to one near my home. We are getting 7 semi trucks of plants tomorrow--do you think I'll have any saddlebag problems?

  11. hai Linda!

    The photos you are keeping on your blog are simply superb. As I wrote you previously, here in our area no one take care of gardening. But, I must say in our area big nursery plantation fields are there and it is biggest in India and you can find any plant or herb here. You must see them. Next time when that place I will send you some photos.

    thanks and keep blogging


  12. Anna, I'll probably be going back for another arborvitae.

    We have a hedge of mature arborvitae that borders the west side of the garden. I'm not sure what kind it is. It's darker than the emerald green, and not as dense, but maybe that's just because it's so much older, or maybe because it gets so little sun.

    Ravi, I'm glad you enjoy my blog and the pictures. It's fun for me, and it gives me pleasure knowing others get enjoyment from it too.

    I enjoy living in an area where so many people garden in their yards, and even hire gardeners like me to design, plant, and maintain their gardens.

    It's surprising that you have nursery plantations yet so few people garden. Do the nursery plantations grow most of the plants for export?

  13. Hi Linda,
    great choice of plants. I have also Hakuro-Nishiki willow and I prune it 3 times in a season to make it more dense and round shaped. I bought it as a little tree. It really grows fast.

  14. Ewa, I'm so glad to hear that about the willows! They are so beautiful, it's hard to be patient waiting for them to start showing their leaves.


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