Centerpiece suggestions

Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake, FNovember 14, 2012

Back in the spring, I had planted three Pygmy Date Palms in the locations where the circles of dirt are in this picture. Problem was, this is the north side of my home and those spots are well within the winter-time shade line. So I moved the Pygmies to the other side of the house where they will get more sunlight during the winter and hopefully will be a little protected from the cold winds.

So then, I was stuck with three empty spots and I was trying to figure out what to put there. When I had planted the pygmies, I found out from Park Manager, at the time, that the septic line ran along Point A. So I had to keep that in mind while planning what to plant in that particular spot. After going through my options, I finally settled on putting Walter's Viburnums at close and far spots since they have fairly shallow root systems and are not considered a problem plant in regards to the roots trying to break through water/septic pipes. I also planned on putting an Elderberry in the center spot to act as a sort of focal point for a future bed (got to plan for the future, not just the now). This spot is also right outside the dining room, so we would always have nice, white Elderberry flowers to 'entertain' us while we ate.

Then yesterday I got my two Walter's Viburnums. I set them in their spots, looked them over, turned them to put the 'ugly' spots toward the house and generally made up my mind that yeah, that's where I wanted them. Then, for some reason, I still don't know why, I decided to verify the information that the old Park Manager had told me. I pulled up the skirting at Site A and looked. There was the septic pipe for the house, but no connection to the septic line that runs down the hill. So I grabbed a flashlight and started pulling up other sections of skirting until I finally found the connection. It turns out that the septic line actually runs along Point B, right where I wanted to put my Elderberry. While I wasn't worried about the Walter's Viburnum breaking into the septic line, the Elderberry has me worried. Elderberries love moisture and as such I can see the roots homing in on the septic line and trying to get in.

So now I'm stuck with trying to figure out what to put in that center spot again. I am looking for something evergreen or semi-evergreen that provides visual appeal as well as wildlife appeal. I would also like it to stand 10-25 ft at maturity with the closer to 20ft the better. I briefly thought Dahoon Holly, but looking them up, I find that hollies in general (nothing about the Dahoon specifically) are considered nuisance trees around water pipes. The wildlife aspect is really important to me. I don't want to just sit at dinner and see pretty flowers or foliage, I want to be able to say, "Hey kids, look!" as some critter or another climbs, floats, flutters, hops or flaps among the branches. Another important criteria is that I would like it to be native or, at the very least, non-invasive. Native is better for me. I am trying to get my yard/garden/landscape to the point where I don't really have to worry about irrigation as everything will happily exist on our normal rainfall and weather. I am in Zone 9A at the north end of Lake County and pretty much dead center of the state from the east and west coastlines, so choices will have to be somewhat cold hardy to handle 'bad' winters without getting much sun until they are about 4-5' tall. The distance to the wall of the house is @4' as well, so that will have to be taken into consideration as well, though I am not afraid of pruning, if needed. And while this area is deep in shade during the winter, during the summer it gets baked hard by the sun pretty much from sun-up to sun-down.

As I delve back into searching for possibilities, I would happily entertain any suggestions that any of you might have for options. As always, thank you for your time in this.

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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake, F

Okay, I think I have it. Looking over my options, there's not many with everything I want in consideration, I think I am going to go with the Florida Privet x 3 and two Sweet Viburnums to go along with the Walter's Viburnums since they look a lot alike and, from what I can see on UF/IFAS, they have bloom times that will coincide with the Walter's maybe blooming before the Sweet. I will put them in a staggered pattern so that each Privet will be flanked by two Viburnums. This should make for a very lively insect show during the spring and hopefully birds will be hopping along the branches grabbing the berries at other parts of the year. Unfortunately, this will create a sort of hedge look until they get big enough that pruning will create the canopy look that I like.

Such as:
Walter's Viburnum Florida Privet Sweet Viburnum

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 8:12AM
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