Need northern exposure idea

misobentoApril 28, 2014

Hello everyone. (cross posting this in another forum too)

Looking for help with a northern-ish exposure in the front of our house.

The true direction is probably north/east We are a zone 5b.

As you can see, there is high shade from a pine and then the house. Not sure if you would call this a true shaded area?

I would love to find something to hide the meter year round. So am hoping you might have ideas for something taller. Currently I have hostas, ferns, astilbe, coral bells, ginger, bleeding hearts etc. which are all nice, but come winter, everything goes dormant so the front looks incredibly boring.

Sadly, the two rhododendron that I planted four years ago did not do well this winter (-50 wind chills etc) ...we also had our porch redone and more branches snapped off (sigh). I can't decide if I should take them out or let them live as only a few branches are alive.

Anyhow, I hate the landscaping so much that I want to rip it all out, ha! i appreciate any shrub/taller plant ideas as well as what I can do to make it look fuller and more inviting as an entrance.

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I should mention that I tend to like cottage garden style....nothing overly formal. Thank you!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 2:22PM
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Thuja orientalis 'Franky Boy' or Thuja plicata 'Whipcord' could be a nice fit for that spot. Very unique, informal conifers. They sort of looks like a perennial grass, but it's evergreen, cold hardy down to z5, and can take a good amount of shade.

If you are looking for something taller. Picea abies 'Reflexa'. This one is a weeper. You stake it to the high you want and then let it cascade back to the ground.

With temps we had this winter, you are probably asking for trouble with most broad-leaf evergreens. I'm in 6b and significant winter burn on my rhododendrons, holly, ect.. Your probably best to focus on conifers

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 9:47PM
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In the sunnier place where you need height you might consider adding an ornamental grass, as many have a lasting winter effect with their dried, standing foliage. Another winter interest plant that might work would be red twig dogwood, if cut to the ground annually so lots of red develops without too much size. A daphne for the gas meter could work but might be hit or miss. Some perennial vines (grown on a stake) can add a fair amount of winter interest by their leafless, tentacle-like forms. Some have colored fruits or berries that endure the winter for a while.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 8:25AM
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