Good Gardens make good neighbors

Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)March 19, 2009

Well, today I began a new property line flower bed in the front yard. Hubby put up the stakes, I ran the line. Then I took the adz (or pick ax as I was raised calling it)and made a tool-width strip through the grass on our side of the line, laid old Mobile bricks in it so the neighbor could run his lawnmower wheels on the bricks. And I stuck into the ground up against that line of bricks, a very pretty low scalloped aluminum edging, with two spikes and a loop connecting one to the next. They are matte black, and came from Lowes. Then I got the water hose and used it to define the curved shape of the bed from near the street to near the 7' privacy fence. The fence has an arched arbor in front of the gate, and this fence parallel to the street, is even with the front corner of our white stucco house.

To make sure I don't crowd things and allow each plant to have good air circulation, I am in the process of placing their pots on the ground where they will be planted. When I get it dug out, I will post a picture of the basic setup. I have five 3-4' Italian cypress to space almost in the middle of the bed's width, to allow them room to expand as they one day will become very tall. I have 7 of the dwarf boxwood 'Green Velvet' in the front line. All my bush roses are going in between the cypresses but not lined up with them. Sort of zigzag, you know. Up by the arbor, I have for each side a Zepherine Drouhan thornless pillar rose which will share its space this year with a quick-growing annual moonflower vine. The white wisteria may not get planted here, since I don't want the arbor to be torn apart by this strong vine. Maybe a couple of the star jasmine will live amiably with the two roses. At the street end of the bed, it ends with a big round area where I can put a Natchez crape myrtle. I'm figuring to border this bed (except the back next to the neighbor) with leriope. Perhaps behind the Italian cypress I'll put the short growing nandina domestica. I don't believe in high maintenance plants, but I suppose the roses are an exception. To fill in, I would love to put a lot of rosemary or blue salvia, or maybe a native perennial that can take the intense heat. This bed will get sun from morning to very late afternoon when the trees across the street finally provide a little shade. Our street runs N/S, and the bed is on the north boundary of our lot.

I cannot wait for the Italian cypress to grow tall and thin. They will balance the neighbor's trees just outside our south boundary. Since that strip beside our driveway does get some shade,I've trimmed back to the ground the ancient azaleas so they will regrow fresh and full. I've also put in a tropicalesque mixture of plants such as windmill palms, cannas, white bird of paradise, dwarf split leaf philodendron, 3 bananas, several large varieties of alocasia and colocasia, hydrangeas transplanted from our river house. And waiting to go in the ground is a couple of confederate roses, 2 more exotic bananas, 2 clumping bamboo which are hardy here but need a little shade, and about 3 more giant elephant ears. This area is visible from our new sunporch. This last winter was severe, but I only lost one banana.

Oh yes. Why do I say good gardens make good neighbors? Well, my neighbors keep giving me plants because they know I love to grow things. Then the bed on the north boundary line is built to look good from both sides, since our only problem neighbor helps himself to our yard and driveway, but will have no beef since this bed will look like it is as much his as ours. He has no landscaping, just cuts the grass, burns leaves, puts trash in front of other neighbors, parks his car in other driveways, etc. No vehicle can cross his lawn, even his own, which is why he had the tree removal folks put their truck and trailer up our drive way and across our lawn to his gate--but never across HIS lawn! So I suppose I am going to kill him with kindness. :)

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Sounds lovely! YOu need to put up some before and after pictures so we can ohh and ahh!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 11:51PM
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Thanks, idig. Except for the smaller "trimming" plants such as the salvia and rosemary, maybe the roses if they like being transplanted, the "after" will really take a couple of years to look good. The Italian cypress and boxwood are more structural plantings which must mature to give their intended effect.

And th row of plants on the SOUTH border, well, I am much more comfortable with these tropicalesque types. They grow very quickly to become massive, and will screen our side sunporch very nicely from traffic coming up the street. Those old azaleas did screen that exposure, but mercy they were ragged and dead in the middle. The ones I cut back last year are ready to bloom this year.

Our cross-street neighbor brought over another rose for us to plant, her third such gift. The first one she gave me is now tall and graceful with new red leaves and beaucoup of buds getting fat and tinged with deep red.

Many people are cheerful givers, like my husband, but do not know how to receive graciously. When folks do not have much to give, accepting their offering becomes magnified in importance. It would be easy to say, "I don't need that in my garden," like her latest offering of thornless blackberries, but giving her a place in our garden seems the thing to do. She has bad health, cannot work in the yard any more, yet each spring she gets the itch to plant something. I hope someone does the same for me in a few years.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 10:27AM
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catbird(z7 AL)

Do post before and after pics this year so we can see how you set it all up. You can post an after-after picture each year to show how it's growing in.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 5:01PM
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yeah, do post. All good gardens have to grow into their full glory. That is part of the fun and the reward!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 6:39PM
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