Thursday, April 3, 2008

Project Privacy

Last Friday I shopped. I hate to betray my gender, but frankly, I don't like to shop. The one exception to that rule is garden shopping. Since I'm chomping at the bit, I called around to see which of my favorite nurseries were both open and have shrubs available. I didn't get too far, as the ones that are open don't have much yet, and others aren't open for a few more days. I ended up at the local big box home improvement center. They had weeping cherries, a few evergreens, and forsythias. Since forsythias are on my wish list, I got one! It's nicely branched and nicely tall. For the rest, I'll have to be patient until the nurseries start opening and the stock starts rolling in.

Of course I had to prune it. . .

Even after pruning our new forsythia is about 6' tall. It's a start. A pussy willow or three or four is next on the list, maybe another forsythia, a red twig dogwood or two, a winterberry, and a river birch. I'm eying a blackhaw viburnum that suckered - a freebie if I can dig it up.

I'd like to transplant the baby, since the rest of them are in a hedge that DH likes to keep nicely trimmed. In the 4 years I've lived here, I've only seen one flower cluster on the entire hedge. I'd like to put one in the back in our newly-naked area so it can get to it's full natural size and bloom.

Blackhaw viburnums tend to get rather unkempt looking when they're mature, which is why DH likes to keep them trimmed. As an individual shrub in a mixed border all the way in the back of our property though, I think it will be fine. It will be dense and tall, great for privacy, they're beautiful when they bloom, they make excellent cover for birds, and birds enjoy the berries. I know it will be fine in the wet soil where I'd plant it, since the viburnum hedge ends at the back of our property where the drainage swale begins.

The new forsythia is in the ground already, and I'll post a picture when it blooms.


  1. We have forsythia here. Might you be able to dig up or cut a piece and root it for eventual placement in your garden? It would be free and might provide a carrot for bringing you up to visit. (Not that you really need one.)

  2. How hard it must be to want to be out doing gardening tasks and those darn stores are not cooperating. You did well, it sounds like, though. We are on a bit of a viburnum kick here, adding more all the time. I want more berries for the birds and for the gardener! We love our winterberry hollies, but last year they were zapped with the late freeze when in bloom, no flowers means no berries. Better luck this year we hope. They are just now starting to show some new growth.

  3. Excellent buy, I love forsythia. They are easy to grow and flower at a time when little else is. And the branches look good in a vase too.

  4. I love viburnums, favorite is Rusty Blackhaw. Can you prune the Blackhaw to grow in a tree form? I mean the babies that you move?

    Forsythia is a beautiful spring blooming shrub and I find the fall coloring is nice, too.


  5. Mom, I just might be able to do something like that! And you're right, no carrot needed!

    Frances, yep, it's hard to be patient sometimes! But little by little I'm making progress. Knowing what I want to plant is a good start, now I just have to find it all. I'm glad to have the opportunity to make our yard even more bird-friendly. I hope you have better luck with the winterberries this year.

    Yolanda, I'm so happy to have the forsythia, and the blossoming branches on our dining room table. I love it!

    Gail, I can prune it to tree form, but I want the fullness of the shrub form for the privacy. As a specimen it would probably look best in tree form, but as part of a mixed-shrub border I think it's natural shagginess will look just fine.

    I'm really happy I got the forsythia. They're such a bright, cheerful, showy shrub in early spring.

  6. I'm not much of a shopper either, but put me in a garden centre and look out!

    I love forsythia and hope to get a few this year too.

  7. I know what you mean about shopping and for me, too, the most enjoyable shopping is for plants. Planting something means we have the ability to dream.
    Forsythia doesn't do well for me in California; my plant bloomed only that first year, but my numerous oriental lilies are 4 inches tall and thriving and full of promise.

  8. Amy, I added some rooting hormone to the water for my forsythia branches. I'm hoping they'll root, we'll see. I've never tried starting new shrubs from cuttings. I hope it works!

    I'm trying to start a couple other shrubs from cuttings too - red twig dogwood, and purple-leafed elderberries (sambucus nigra.) The dogwoods and elderberries look promising so far. I can't tell if my cuttings are rooting yet since I have them in vermiculite, but they are starting to leaf out. My fingers and toes are crossed!

    Terra, I work at garden center part-time, and it's a challenge not spending my entire paycheck on plants!

    I tried lilies my first year here, but squirrels dug up every single bulb. They don't mess with daylilies at least. I guess I could plant lily bulbs in cages, but I think our rabbits would just eat the tops like they used to at my previous house. I love lilies but the critters around here love them too, and so far they win. Sigh. . .

  9. Hey Lady, how is the painting going?? Any new and lovely creations??

    I love forsythia, I have a bush ini my side yard and I'm looking forward to it blooming. Good idea to bring some in the house, I will definatley do that.

    I'm with you, I hate shopping for clothes and girly stuff...I however, love the nurseries and buy plants like crazy. I make all kinds of trips back and is so much fun.

  10. Garden Girl,
    Thanks for the reading suggestion you left on my blog, about the Nora Roberts trilogy about gardeners. Oh no, another book for my reading list (smile).
    I grow lots of Oriental Lilies and Asiatic Lilies and ALL of them grow happily in large pots. The gophers can't bother them, and when done blooming, I put them out of sight til next spring.
    Containers are so ideal for Oriental lilies. Try one pot of lilies and see. Let the adventure begin.

  11. Have never seen pleasure in shopping for anything except stationery.

    If ever I were to buy too much of anything it would be reems of paper, piles of envelope folders, coloured card, pens, paints, envelopes.

    Never seen why anyone would want more than one pair of shoes for a purpose - but, if I were rich and had money to spare - I'd buy rows and rows of laptops.

    I've been wanting forsythia too.


  12. Ruth, There's nothing like forsythia branches in a vase in the late winter or early spring. You can even bring them in early and force their bloom. It's a good reason to have more than one - more branches to force!

    Terra, I know what you mean! I've got a pile of backlogged books here that I've either started or am planning to start reading soon. Blogging and blog reading definitely cuts into my book-reading time.

    I might try your lily suggestion. I might interplant a few with some other things in a container for longer blooming. I might have to cover the container, as the squirrels dig up the bulbs and eat them. They dig in my containers too. They are evil ;)

    Esther, but what about seeds?

    Wow, rows and rows of them? Sounds like a kitchen laptop garden!

    I hope I can root some forsythia cuttings. Now that I have one, I want more!

  13. You are right . . . seeds!

    But seeds are painful too.

    I have to discipline myself.

    I used to have a bigger garden.

    Pouring over seed catalogues was a pleasure.

    I can't get out of the habit.

    If I see a bank of seed packets at a garden centre, I work my way along until I have a fist full.

    Then I put most of them back.



  14. Esther, I can understand that! You must miss your bigger garden.

    I used to have beds in the sun, and beds in the shade. Now I have only shade. I can't plant so many things I love because they need more sun. I miss my sunny beds.

  15. I also hate shopping. The exceptions are Ikea (which is more like a modern art museum!) and garden centers. I do admit to lusting after power equipment I don't need (Chipper/shredders? Oooh! Saws or any kind? Aaaah!) :)
    ~ Monica


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