Need very small tree for front porch garden

BelleIsleCottageApril 25, 2014

I've decided to put Endless Summer Hydrangeas around the front curved part and I want to put a small tree behind the hydrangeas. The back part gets a little less morning sun because of the roof line. It has to be a small tree as the roof will be about 8 and 1/2 foot above part of it. But if the hydrangeas will get up to 3'-4', it needs to be at least a couple 2-3 feet taller than they are. The tree will be in front of the porch as well as next to a red brick wall on another side.

I just want a green leafy cottage-like tree. I originally wanted some type of evergreen so that there would be something green in my garden during winter, especially since the hydrangeas get all woody and bare. But I can't find any evergreen trees except shaped boxwoods or Holly types that will do well in only morning sun. So I don't mind if it loses its leaves in winter as long as it has nice green leaves in spring and all throughout summer and early fall and then maybe a nice fall color before it loses its leaves.

I know the Japanese Maple is a natural for this spot, and I apologize for my unsophisticated taste in plants, but I just don't like the Japanese Maples that are always dark red or brown all the time - or they look brown to me. :/

I've searched the Internet for weeks and I can't come up with anything. I would appreciate any suggestions! :)

This post was edited by BelleIsleCottage on Wed, May 14, 14 at 21:34

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Cercis chinensis 'Avondale' or 'Don Egolf'...they are dwarf Chinese redbud...very pretty flowers in spring

This post was edited by greenthumbzdude on Fri, Apr 25, 14 at 21:52

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 9:42PM
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I didn't know they had small redbuds. They're beautiful. Thanks, greenthubzdude!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 9:26AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

mail order a JM from a source such as at the link ...

if all you think there are.. are red brick ones.. you need to expand your horizons ... beyond what might be locally offered ....

there are hundreds of them in just about every color under the rainbow ... well ... not every color.. lol ..

a pic would sure get you better ideas for your landscape ...


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 10:32AM
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consider a weeping redbud. they stay small and have the same flowers and leaves as the standard redbud

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 2:52PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Hang on a minute - this bed is not very big, 8' x 8', and will already have at least two Hydrangeas in it. Will anything else fit in?

Also there are a lot more criteria to think about than just the height. The hydrangeas are essentially blobs, so do you want another blob, ie JM? Wouldn't a vertical look better? Like a very thin, dwarfish conifer? And regarding the redbud have you considered the appearance of the pink/purple flowers against a red brick wall? And what colour will Endless Summer be in your soil? Blue or Pink? The tree, if there is to be one, needs to complement them.

You could even consider getting the vertical you want with a clematis or other climber on an obelisk.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 3:59PM
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Hi, thanks for your posts!

@ken_adrian: Thank you for the JM link! I DO need to expand my horizons. I'm not much of a gardener. I traveled for 15 years for a job and this is really the first gardening I've done in a long time. I would love a JM if it was green during the spring and summer.

@drpraetorius: Thanks for the suggestion. I never knew there were weeping redbuds either!

This post was edited by BelleIsleCottage on Fri, May 2, 14 at 9:24

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 7:51PM
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@floral_uk: Hi again. :) The bed is actually approx. 7 1/2' by 8 1/2'. I wondered if I was giving enough room for the plants. I did put the dimensions in a home planning program (attached), but I admit I only made the hydrangeas 42" squared even though they say they get up to 3' to 4'.

I thought about some kind of tree that is evergreen, but I wasn't sure they'd get enough sun. The back of the garden gets a little less because of the roof line. And I didn't know if they would handle all the water the hydrangeas would need and do well. I even thought about those pencil junipers.

I haven't tested my soil yet. I put the hydrangeas in the blueprint programs as blue, but I'd be just as happy with pink or mixed. I agree about colors that compliment each other. I'd like to stay with the cottage-like pink, blue, snowy white, true red, pinkish red (not hot pink), yellow and green.

You answered my question about the Zephirine Drouhin roses in the vines forum. And I do think I'm going to try to put one in the porch brick planter to see if it will grow around that column. You can't see the planter. It's behind the column. I also toyed with the idea of putting ZD in the back of the large garden this thread about to see if it would climb the black wrought iron railing. ?? You can't see the railing very well in the actual photo.

Here is a link that might be useful: GardenWeb images

This post was edited by BelleIsleCottage on Sat, Apr 26, 14 at 20:07

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 8:05PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Oh dear. I always seem to be pouring cold water on your ideas;-) I really think the space is too small for a tree. The hydrangeas alone can be 4 feet across. Your 'large garden' is actually quite small if we're talking trees and shrubs. Plus a tree would block light from your from window and obscure your view out from the porch. Something climbing on the railing would be a practical idea though. You could also have a trellis to the right of the garage door with a clematis on it.

Regarding a climber on the porch pillar - it seems very close to the steps so wouldn't you be brushing against the plant every time you went in and out? Try to imagine climbing the steps with arms full of shopping on a dark wet evening and getting a wet slap in the face from a trailing vine. Perhaps you could experiment with something like Morning Glory this year and see if they do get in the way before committing to a permanent planting.

And just to be annoying - I like the look of your weathered brick planter along the front;-) I don't think any paint will fix it. The water will still be affecting it and I'm pretty sure the paint will break down in due course and look even worse. Maybe just a few trailing perennials like Aubretia hanging down? Or get some gutters?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 4:42AM
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This post was edited by BelleIsleCottage on Fri, May 2, 14 at 9:26

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 9:28PM
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Kousa dogwood or maybe a fringe tree?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 9:55PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

I missed most of this thread, but for me, in zone 7a, for curb appeal I would stick with evergreens.

What direction does this face? To the north??

Do you really want to block your view from the window with a larger plant?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 9:39AM
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@dave_in_nova: It faces north, yes. No, I think you're right about blocking the window. Someone else mentioned that. I'm so glad I posted here because I think a tree would be a mistake.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 1:34PM
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