Hydrangea for Fondation

whaas_5a(5A SE WI)April 17, 2010

Any suggestions for a grouping of hydrangeas for a fondation...under a bay window, front yard?

I've struggled with this location, this would be my 4th planting, lol. I just haven't been happy with what I've planted.

Need to maintain to 4' tall x 3-5' wide. I was thinking of Tickled Pink paniculata or even Invincibelle Spirit...not sure if the latter would look too loose and informal.

I have White Meidiland rose as the border shrub, Lil' Wine Cup Daylily to the left and Vernal Witchhazel as the anchor.

Gets about 6 hours of sun.

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ostrich(3a AB)

whaas, the critical thing is, it that 6 hours of mostly morning sun (i.e. eastern exposure) or mostly afternoon sun (i.e. western exposure)?

What is the color of your house? I am thinking that if it's white or very pale, it may not work with white blooms.

Do you mind having just ugly sticks and not much else over winter in the front yard, where everyone will see? Or do you have other evergreens there so that it will not look just like sticks and nothing else?

In fact, a photo will speak volumes here... do you mind posting one please? Then we can really be more helpful here. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 1:14PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

This is an older photo but should give the idea. I thought about putting boxwoods in there and I am still considering but they just seem so boring.

This is an eastern/southeastern exposure.

I guess I can be talked into anything since I screwed up 3x already.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 3:20PM
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Hi whaas - If you are looking for 4' Hs for the back of the foudation - I just read about a 'Mini Lime Light' ... have you also considered Oso Easy series of those yummy named pretties (Strawberry Crush, Peachy Cream, Honey bun, Paprika & Cherry Pie) ... sorry, I know you desire Hs, not roses ... I wish I have room for some of them! Sigh! Â:(

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 1:17PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Oooooooooh! Ditas beat me to it! Whaas, I was also drooling over the photos of these mini Limelight the other day, and I thought of you! They are called "Little Lime" and you can find the photos at the online stores! They are supposed to grow anywhere from 3-5 ft only, so maybe that will suit you fine? I also find that the "skeleton" of the paniculatas to be a bit more decorative than the macrophyllas, so there is actually some degree of winter "interest" too...

Otherwise, if you heart is not set on hydrangeas there, how about having some evergreens next to the windows, and then grow some colorful perennials or very low shrubs in front of those evergreens? Then you will have your winter interest and a robust backbone for your yard?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 7:18PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I actually have Twist and Shout to the back (under the bay window) and then White Meidiland rose in front of those. I think the Twist and Shout are cashed out though.

Paniculata may be a better choice...to your point I think they have a more interesting winter skeleton.

I'll definitly check out the 'Little Lime'. I don't even own the original Limelight!

Worstcase I go with boxwoods under the windows.

When you say evergreens next to the windows do you mean a taller, narrower plant to the left and right?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 11:09PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

whaas, no, I was referring to anything that is evergreen! Boxwoods are evergreens too....

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 8:25PM
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I am not a big fan of the oakleaf hydrangeas, but might be good for what you are looking for. The new Little Honey and Pee Wee oakleaf get 3' by 3'. My number one choice would be the Invincibelle!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 8:41PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

ostrich, sorry I thought you meant next to vs below the windows. You bet, boxwoods are evergreens.

I would opt for oakleaf but based on my research the flower buds die off around -12 degrees...I don't really want to protect anything.

I've already gotten burned on the twist and shout mac...I'm still amazed that all three are struggling...unless they are just very very very slow to put on any green growth. Clethra and rose of sharon are about to beat this plant out.

With Invincibelle being an anabelle its likely to be a good performer...but yet 'Jane' (little lime) looks pretty nice too...ahhh too many choices!

I can't believe I spelt Foundation wrong twice!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 10:48PM
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I have seen many Oakleafs in our area bloom even after our winter last year. But we are a little warmer than your area a true zone 5b. Most say that Oakleaves only struggle to bloom in the earlier years until that get established and thats only when the get damaged by the bad winters in our area. I have heard people have had bad allergic reactions when pruning them so I have always stayed clear of them. Plus I sort of dislike Pin Oaks for many reasons, so their foilage is not that attractive to me. Although the Little Honey is getting tempting with the yellow foilage. The Invincibelle would be my #1 choice! They would be very impressive!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 11:32PM
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Cher(6 SW OH)

Have you considered some of the small Hollies instead of the Boxwood? Evergreen and if you get mostly female you have the added interest of berries. I see a new one is out also if you wanted to anchor a slightly bigger one on each side of the window with the shorter ones in between. Claims something like a 1 ft width and not very tall either.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 8:24AM
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whaas~what is there now? I take it you are referring to the two groupings of four shrubs under the bay window, right? So far, you're doing a fine job, everything looks happy and healthy from here.

But I do understand, I re-did my foundation, oh, at least four or five times, including moving the inkberry hollies *this year* in front of, not behind, the KO ro*ses, heh heh. To think, I won a village award last year for "pride in property"! Too funny. They must've thought, enough already. But I digress...

I think you will happy with a panicled hydrangea, they have a great skeletal framework. Why can't the shrubs come up to window height? Quickfire would look good with the other plants you have.

I have Pee Wee oakleafs, and was put off a little by the old leaves hanging on into winter, which I have since learned is called marcescence. It really bugged me, but it may not bother you at all.

For the record, I know inkberry holly is native, but if I had to do it over again, I would use boxwood, less leggy. I'm always trimming, trying to keep mine filled in. A little yew hedge (Taxus cuspidata 'Nana') would work in front of any flowering shrub as well.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 3:41PM
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Or maybe the yews should go *behind* the flowering shrubs?! See...:O)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 5:04PM
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I have a bay window like yours. I just bought 3 Annabelle hydranges to plant under it. Site stated you should plant 3 3-4 feet apart and they will support each other.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 12:30PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I picked up three Buxus 'Green Velvet' to go directly under the middle window. I'm going to offset three hydrangeas in front and to the right.

Most likely Little Lime ('Jane') or Tickled Pink. I was thinking about Invicibelle Spirit but I saw a more mature one via the web and it was too over the top.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 7:54PM
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If Invincibelle Spirit is too over-the-top but you like the thought of a pink arborescens, you could try h. arb. 'Eco Pink Puff':


It's definitely a more delicate pink than Invincibelle Spirit, and is not near so flamboyant.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 12:08AM
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Whaas, what did you end up planting under the bay window? I have a similar window and am considering little lime. I was going to plant knockout roses but have been invaded by japanese beetles for the second year in a row..........

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 8:28PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I used Tickled pink and Knockout rose as the flanks to the boxwoods.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 8:59PM
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Love everyone's suggestions. I have one more.... I think Little Lime would be very pretty there. How about putting a short boxwood hedge in front of it? Space them close so you don't have to wait forever for them to grow into a hedge, and keep them short---around 2 foot. Then behind them, fill in the space with the little lime hydrangeas. I see this done a lot in formal landscapes (in neighborhoods I cannot afford) and think it looks so pretty. The boxwood form the bones of the design (and I would do a semi-circle there under the window) and then the negative space inside the circle is filled with lush flowers spilling out over the hedge. So pretty! Plus, during the winter months, you'll have the evergreen, and much of the hydrangea sticks will be hidden behind the boxwoods. All of them even if you go with little lime--because you can really prune it down to 2 ft. (hidden behind the boxwood hedge) in the winter if you decide you don't like the sticks.

Last thing would be to plant something flowering and low in front of the boxwoods (even if it's just a basic annual like impatiens) to give it a 3 tiered effect. The flowers, the boxwood hedge, and then spilling out up top the beautiful lush hydrangeas.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 9:27PM
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