msbrownthumbMay 15, 2007

We live in North Central MS We just bought our first house and have inherited a 100 year old jungle that has been neglected for a decade or so. We are trying to gain control. THe original owners were avid gardners particularly azaleas. We have a couple of dogwoods and 2 japanese magnolias. I am interested in some perennials to plant and any ideas on what to do with azaleas and camellias. We also have two HUGE conifers in the front yard that are best I can tell something in the Picea family. Also I would like advice on what I can mix in with azaleas and camellias to fill holes in the front of the house. My husband and I are pretty much clueless! Any help you can give would be much appreciated.

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You might be tempted to clear the jungle with heavy equiptment. Be careful. Wounds to tree trunks caused by bulldozers and such are forever.

As for what to mix with dogwoods, the classic thing to do is mix in redbud trees. "Forest Pansy" redbuds have purple leaves to add interest even outside of the bloom season. The azaleas and camellias should be added to AFTER you have seen the colors you have inherited from the past owners. Once you know what colors your existing blooms are, you can add something that compliments them. Visit some local up-scale gardens and see what YOU like.

Please consider posting pics of your conifers. That will help the experts. I don't know much about perennials so again I suggest a few trips to some local gardens with notebook in hand.

Try your post in the Southern gardens forum if you don't get much response here.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 11:17PM
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Thanks Terry! I was here for the azealeas this spring. They are Pink and White (mostly pink) I will try to post some picks of the trees they are very unusual.
Thanks again!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 10:09AM
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I spoke to my neighbor who grew up in my house and she told me that the conifers in my yard are cunninghamia trees.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 9:23AM
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I assume you're going to stay in this house for a while, so here's what I'd do. I'd clear out the undergrowth - weeds, honeysuckle, whatever it might be - but I'd get the garden down to its bones - the existing trees, camellias, and azaleas. I'd then put down pine straw - or some other ground cover - and live with it for the rest of the summer and maybe even until next spring. I don't mean ignore it, just get to know it. What needs pruning (and azaleas have to be pruned in the next couple of weeks if you want blooms next year - so you might want to wait until after they bloom next year to prune them). Are any of the plants sick and in need of treatment? If you spend a little time in the garden every day for months just watching it, it will start telling you what it needs. You'll notice what you want to move, what you want to keep the way it is, how heat and rain and drought affect it, and what kind of light each part of the garden gets. You'll also start to get an idea of what you want - you might not know exactly what plant - but what kind of look you want. If you know you want a drift of something to bloom in the spring, for example, you can then figure out which plant to use.
So I guess my advice is to clean everything out until the bones of the garden are visible, then give your self plenty of time to decide what you want next. I hope this made sense. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2007 at 4:29PM
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I wonder if that is Araucaria cunninghamia which is related to Araucaria araucana, the "Monkey puzzel tree"?

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 7:01AM
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Patience, patience, and little more patience. We have a 100+ yr old house/yard so it is interesting what you find. My suggestion to not remove too much until you know what you have. You may be surprised what you find in your yard each year as you clear some and then let some grow.

We started to clear a wooded area in our yard this spring and have found trumpet vine, heavenly bamboo, two fig trees and even a pear tree. The yard was left to grow wild for at least 10 years before we bought it. After 6 years of living here I'm still discovering new plants. I even discovered a wonderful little pink flowering bulb that grew in a area that we always walked through. We rerouted the path this year and up it popped! Your yard will probably surprise you each year for many years to come.

Enjoy your new yard and sit back a observe it well.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 1:01AM
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