small tree or large shrub for corner of house

fnboyd(z8 AL)September 26, 2007

Hello, I usually hang out in the Cottage Garden forum but I thought I would get some very good advise on design for the front of my house from this forum.

We added an addition on our ranch house this year and I am now trying to landscape around the new part. The existing has Indian Hawthorne and Soft Touch Holly and some ornamental grasses mixed in. Since the house is long with the addition I wanted to add some virtical height to corners but I dont want the plantings to get so big they over power the house.

It is a single story house that faces west. One corner is in shade and the other gets sun with some filtered shade.

I was thinking of a small crape myrtle tree (Acoma white) or large shrub like a doublefile viburnum.

What would you suggest?

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How about amelanchier, a/k/a serviceberry, shadblow, juneberry, etc.?

It's a North American native, grows to about 20' in height. Delicate white flowers in early spring, before the leaves appear, attractive to early pollinators. Summer berries that are edible but very attractive to many songbirds if you're willing to share. Wonderful fall color ranging from yellow through orange to red. Some are more a tree form, but usually I've seen that multi-stemmed, shrubby look. It's an understory tree, so works well in filtered sunlight, but will also tolerate full sun. Though it is usually found growing in moist sites in the wild, it is listed as having "medium" water needs.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 9:27AM
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fnboyd(z8 AL)

Nice tree but it doesn't fit my zone. It is hardy to zone 7 and I am in zone 8.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 9:36AM
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As you can see by the link, Amelanchier arborea is naturally found throughout Alabama.

Here is a link that might be useful: Amelanchier arborea distribution map

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 10:29AM
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fnboyd(z8 AL)

Thanks eshga,
I looked on a site that sold them and they gave it the wrong zone I guess. I will put this one on my list when I go to the nursery.

Any other suggestions?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 10:39AM
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Are you at the stage of trying to learn the growing conditions for different shrubs, or trying to figure out what "form" (shape, height) would look best at the corner? Because, for instance, crape myrtles, which are available in all sizes now so you can pick one that won't dwarf your home, are great for your zone but would not be for a corner described as "shade", but would be okay with say, 6-8 hrs of sun and then filtered shade.

If you post a photo, the design principles of "foundation" planting for your house would stand out more--things like shape, height, a "mass" effect or more lacy, how far from corner to plant, whether tall is good or bad, balancing door, windows or garage, etc.

The shrub and tree forums would also have suggestions just for types of shrubs that fit various growing conditions. And you could be asking yourself, do you want evergreen foliage (such as a large camellia, tall holly), flowers, fall color, what?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 11:38AM
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maro(z8 WA)

If it's hardy to zone 7, shouldn't zone 8 be more than safe?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 12:25PM
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fnboyd(z8 AL)

It said it was for zone 2 - 7. It was referring to being able to handle the heat in Alabama not freezing weather.

I have since seen it listed for this area. Sometimes the nursuries get the zones wrong.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 12:58PM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

Depends on what you want. I happen to LOVE Amelanchier, but it is no way as showy with the flower display of the crepe/crape? myrtle. On the other hand, Amelanchier looks great in the fall and has cool berries that attract birds, so maybe a little more "3 season" interest. In my experience, the best thing to do when trying to decide about plant selection is to think about the plant and how it will perform all year around, so take into account not only it's showy features but its winter silhouette, form, maintenance, etc.

I love both Amelanchier and Crape Myrtle. The myrtle has a long, showy bloom season but is ho hum the rest of the time. Amelanchier is nice most of the time, nothing spectacular at any particular time, but nice overall. To me the virbirnum are a total bore in the winter and when not in bloom or berry, but nice when in bloom and again in fall with foliage and berries. So it depends on how this plant will fit in with whatever else is going on in your garden.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2007 at 11:31AM
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