shrub for shady spot--Canterbury NH

rockman50(6b SEMASS)May 17, 2013

I recently acquired property in NH and I have a shady corner of the house that needs something. There was an overgrown rhododendron in that spot that I removed. I wanted to plant a shrub and perhaps a diverse collection of hosta around it. I have lots of ideas for shrubs in shade that are zone 6/7 plants that I grow down here on the south MA coast. But I am less familiar with what will and will not survive a Canterbury NH winter (about 10 miles north of Concord). I was thinking about a yew, but I am really drawing a blank here. Any ideas?

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Hi, neighbor! You probably want something that's hardy to at least -10 since we usually get somewhere in that vicinity at least once per winter, though since it's a large town with a huge range in elevation, there is a lot of variety in microclimates. In the 30+ years I've lived here, we have gotten to -22, but that was at least 15 years ago. We usually have good snow cover which helps ameliorate the lowest temps.

Since the rhodie did OK there, it must have bright shade or a bit of sun? Do you know how much sun/shade you have? Are you looking for winter interest or would a deciduous shrub or shrub-sized perennial do OK?

Unless you have a way to keep the deer out, you don't want to plant yews. They are one of the few plants I can't grow since every time they try to put out needles, the deer chew them down to stubs. They ended being simply ugly all year. I haven't had issues with deer and hosta, just voles and hosta.

I have a bunch of shrubs in part shade down to about 3 hours of sun.
-You can always choose another, smaller rhodie, something like Yaku Prince or Princess. I have several deciduous rhodies as well that I like, such as R. narcissiflora and some of the Weston hybrids like Parade.
-So far we don't have Hemlock woolly adelgid so you could try a dwarf variety of hemlock if you have really deep shade.
-Clethra do OK with a fair amount of shade, though they may bloom less, and that might make them a bit boring.
-A variegated cornus, either a small tree like C. alternifolia Golden Shadows or one of the colored twig shrubby variegated Cornus might be nice.
-My Daphne transatlantica Summer Ice is pretty much in bright shade with only a couple of hours of sun. In years like last winter where we got -5 with no snow, it arrived in spring looking pretty miserable, but it is putting out leaves now.
-Mountain laurels (Kalmia) do fine here, though sometimes there is a bit of winter damage to leaves.
-There's a native Viburnum, I think V. lentago that grows in almost full shade, though it's happy with several hours of sun also. Nice flowers in spring, berries, and red-pink autumn foliage. V. acerifolium is happy with a lot of shade also, though it suckers and isn't really striking at any season.
-If you want a large shrub, both the native fall blooming witch hazel and Hamamelis vernalis, which blooms in spring, are hardy and are fine with quite a bit of shade.
- There's a variegated Diervilla (the name has escaped me) which will do OK in a fair amount of shade.
-Spirea Ogon will probably do OK in shade and is fully hardy here.
-Hydrangea arborescens cultivars might do fine since my Annabelle is in bright shade for much of the day. If you'd like a hunk of Annabelle to try, just ask; she suckers.

That's a start anyway. If you have specific questions as to my experience with particular plants here, feel free to ask.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 7:41PM
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rockman50(6b SEMASS)

Wow...thanks for that nhbabs! My property is over by the river, not too far from Brookford Farm. Could you recommend a nursery close to Canterbury that has a good selection of plant material?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 11:02PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

You can't go wrong with an Annabelle Hydrangea. Babs has made some great suggestions. As for "a diverse group of Hosta" if you are shopping on the South Shore go to Cochato in Holbrook. If you are shopping for Hosta in NH, try Mason Hollow in Mason NH. You can't go wrong with those two nurseries.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 7:47AM
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Wow, we really are neighbors since I also live along the river( just north of the volleyball net.) Feel free to join in the volleyball game on Sunday evenings starting at about 4:30 if you are so inclined. Someone usually brings a grill for cooking supper and folks bring snacks to share.

There really isn't one nursery that I go to for all my plants. I've bought plants from all the nurseries listed below, and bought woodies from all but Ledgeview (since they don't carry woodies.) Each seems to have a different selection of plants.
-Probably the widest selection of woodies is Brochu, near the intersection of 393 and 93 in Concord. They usually have quite a range of plants including some perennials.
-Best for veggies is Murray Farms in Penacook, and they also have lots of annuals, some perennials, and a few woodies.
-Cole Gardens near 393 and 106 sometimes has less common woodies and is a general nursery and florist. For instance, they have had Wolf Eyes kousa dogwoods most years, and I noticed that variegated Diervilla there today.
-Ledgeview Greenhouse in Loudon (sort of above the speedway) is a great place for annuals including some less common ones, though they also have a few perennials that are well-priced as well.
-Black Forest Nursery is over in Boscawen on Route 4 in the center of town and is another general nursery, though mostly ornamentals and may have some woodies that none of the other nurseries have. I got my cold-hardy redbud there.

If you want to go further afield I do visit various other nurseries around NH. I haven't been to Lake Street in Salem, but it has a good reputation for woodies if you don't find something that you like any closer.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 1:20PM
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rockman50(6b SEMASS)

We are neighbors indeed! It looks like I have some work to do visiting some of the local nurseries. Thanks for the help. I am not up there a whole lot at the present time, but I will try to stop by for volleyball if I am there on a Sunday!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 2:19PM
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A hidden jewel for hosta and other perennials.....

Then there is........

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 9:06AM
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It's not convenient to Canterbury but I recently made my first visit to Scenic Nursery and Landscaping in Raymond NH. It's small but has a nice selection. A sale starts today 5/22 but their email didn't say how long it lasted. I went there looking for a Black Chokeberry but the shrubs were taller than I wanted. They are not open on Saturdays.

I second the recommendation for Brochu Nursery in Concord. I like Black Forest too but except for hosta, they seem to have a typical selection of things. Uncanoonuc Perennials has a small selection of shrubs, they are better known for their field grown perennials and seem to have a nice selection of roses. Their garden and nursery is worth the drive to Goffstown. Very nice to wander around. Stone Falls Nursery in Henniker is a little out of the way but I usually visit at least once a year.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 4:40AM
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A great thread. I live in northern MA near the NH border. Do you know if any of those nurseries grows its own shrubs or buys them nearby? Or are they all imported from farther south? I'm looking for northern-grown plants, not shrubs from NJ or the CT river valley mega-farms.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 7:38PM
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Ginny -

None of the nurseries I listed propogate their own plants as far as I know though I don't know about Lake Street. I do remember seeing tags from Bailey nursery (MN) and some that said "Northern Grown" whatever that means. The only nurseries I know that grow their own (though I don't know if they propogate or grow on liners) are wholesale.) Some mail order nurseries do their own propagation and growing and the NH State Nursery in Boscawen only sells once a year, largely plants that work well in a conservation type of setting. I think around here there may not be a large enough market for that type of specialty nursery.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Thanks for that info, nhbabs. I have friends in Loudon and I can see what we'll be doing the next time I'm there.--nursery-crawling.

Another reason I am interested in plants grown locally is some nasty experiences I've had with shrubs from mega-nurseries re pests and diseases that run thru these monoculture environments.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 11:29PM
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