suggestions needed for shrubs along a deck

sandyinva(7A)March 17, 2012

I have pulled out the original shrubs that required ongoing hedging maintenance. I just need a few suggestions: I first considered placing a limelight hydrangea on either side of the deck steps, but that leaves empty unattractive spaces during the winter. The back yard by the deck recieves mostly sun. I was thinking of the medium sized encore azaleas. My back yard is not very deep, so I do not want shrubs with a wide spread. I am open to any ideas.

Thanks in advance.

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Sandy, you recognize the name of the southern hero Robert E. Lee. In my estimation there is a second hero from Louisiana by the same name who hybridized the Encore azaleas in the 1980's. They are a real gift to the landscaping business; evergreen, variable sizes that tuck into special situations with a long bloom period spring and fall into winter in mild climates. Probably your best selection to plant by the steps as you have described the situation. Suggest that you select your color choice when they are in bloom as further hybridizing has produced some colors that appear 'muddy' to me.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 10:41AM
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oath5(z6b/7a MD)

Lol limelight would be a lot of maintenance in staking and pruning. Dwarf oakleaf hydrangea would be better.

Best to do a mixed shrub border.

Encore azaleas are poor performers in 7a MD, not worth the money here and I doubt VA too. They were bred for the Gulf Coast down south and are imo a scam outside that area. People seem to want them due to rebloom. Their rebloom isn't even that great. Don't fall prey, every one I've seen are anemic plants in the garden. My cousin fell prey and planted them and she's hated them ever since.Winters even if mild still beat them up here.

There are other azaleas that CAN repeat in the fall and are hardier. Contact the Mason-Dixon chapter of the American Rhododendron club for advice. 'PJM Elite' the early purple rhododendron has small azalea like foliage and I've never seen it get very large and always has a distinct upright form.

OH if you want fall bloom, get a fall blooming sasanqua camellia. Sasanqua camellia are not hard to take care of once you plant them (just watering) and bloom in the fall. Some can be quite skinny and stay compact.

Camforest Nursery has a great selection that can help decide if you want some beautiful camellia. Look up 7a fall bloomers and cold hardy Ackerman hybrids that are either sasquana and bloom in the fall or are japonica hybrids and bloom in early spring. Camforest itself has many hardy introductions including their "April" series of cold hardy spring bloomers. I have the Camforest introduction 'April Tryst' blooming right now which has striking red flowers.

Evergreen mountain laurel can handle full sun if it's not too dry a spot. They tend to be taller than wide.

osmanthus 'goshiki' does very well for my cousin in a sunny north exposed spot and is a slow growing variegated osmanthus, tight balls of green and pink splotched cream leaves. Eventually gets big but not very fast. More cream colored and has fragrant flowers in fall when mature. You can't see them but you can smell them.

Clethera 'Hummingbird' and 'Sixteen Candles', virginia sweetspire 'Litte Henry' and itea ilicifolia are nice summer bloomers that can fill in spaces.

The clethera stay stout, as does little henry. Ilicifolia could be the centerpiece/focal point.

There really are many many many things you can combine to have interest all year round. Just PLEASE do not waste your money on the encore azaleas!

For plain evergreens native inkberry holly bushes 'Shamrock' are very beautiful shrubs as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: camforest nursery fall bloomers.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 3:54AM
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