New house

Jadebf700August 3, 2012

We just bought a new house and I am beyond frustrated with the landscaping already. I feel like everything they planted is invasive and hard to kill! I don't even know what to do with it and I don't know what most of it is! If I link pictures from my FB account, can someone help me out? I know I have 4 different types of vines and know what 3 of them are.

Just in case anyone wants to have a look...

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardening album

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spedigrees z4VT

Congratulations on your new house! I'm not familiar with most of the plants in your photos, but I think that the green and white ornamental grass is pretty. The bindweed, aka wild morning glory, is beyond invasive! I'm sure the previous owners would not have deliberately planted this weed. I'd rip it out and plant annual morning glories in its place next spring - same pretty flowers in any color you like, but it doesn't take over. I'm sure others will be able to identify your other plants.

Congrats again on the new house and don't get aggravated with the gardens. You'll transform them to something you will like better in time.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 3:11PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Congratulations on the new house! I can't see your photos at the moment (got a message saying content is unavailable) but I'll try again later. Sometimes it's a long process, and you have to do what you can when you can.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 4:26PM
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Thanks! I know the bindweed needs to go. I need to try to figure out where it starts. I already cut back the trumpet vine that they planted next to the house because it was ripping off my shutters. (Feels good to call them my shutters!) I know I have some azaleas. Are those super invasive up here or easy to maintain?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 4:30PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I wasn't able to view your photos either. You have to have a Facebook account to see them, I assume. If you notice where it has the 'Post a Follow-Up' at the bottom of this thread, it allows you to post a photo with your response. Just click on 'Choose File'.

Happy for you that you are a new home owner! If you are new to landscaping, one thing that we all had to learn, is to have patience. Changing the landscape is a slow process most of the time. Right now is not usually the busy season for landscaping. It is much too hot and dry for doing much. In about 3 weeks, when the weather starts to cool some, hopefully, it will be a great time of year to do all kinds of landscaping tasks, so hang in there.

Azaleas, are very easy to maintain and will give you bloom in the spring. They are usually evergreen which is a plus, and slow growing most of the time, which means less trimming.

Congrats and welcome to the forum!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 8:03PM
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Only those who are facebook members can see your photos, so if you want more info, you may want to post phots directly to this thread so more folks can see them. See the FAQ photo thread for help on how to post photos.

A couple of general comments. Live with it for a year before cutting back most things too severely or removing too much. See what the plants look like in all seasons. For instance the gray-green leafed plant has a fountain of beautiful gold flowers for a few weeks in the spring and the grayish leaves provide foliage contrast for much of the season, including winter. Whoever planted this garden really seems to have worked to provide more than just a few pretty flowers, working to create a garden with nice foliage, though many plants seem to have gotten a bit out of control. It would be very expensive to replace much of this, so before doing too much ripping and tearing, see what you like and want to save. Many of your plants can be improved with proper thinning or pruning. Spend the year looking at other gardens to see what you like, either by wandering around neighborhoods with nice gardens, online or getting books out of your public library.

If something is in the way, for sure prune it back, but since you will now know the names of most, look them up to see how to best prune them. For some plants it doesn't matter, but for some, poor pruning can ruin them.

Invasive - often used to mean a garden thug, one that will smother other plants in the garden. Legally (as in invasive plants that are illegal to sell) and the way I use it means that it will seed into wild areas and replace native plants. I remove these types of plants.

1 is a bit blurry, but looks like a Chamaecyparis. Slow growing, easy care, and not invasive.

2 can't ID without a closeup

3 weed that I have, but don't know the name of. remove before it goes to seed; Rose top left; on the right gold Alyssum, with yellow spring flowers. Sedum of some type with the bluish needles-like foliage by the rocks

4 Spirea will seed some, but not invasive. fewer seeds if you trim after flowering. If needed can cut back to 6" or so in early spring and it will fill back in quickly (a couple of weeks and you'll have a mound of foliage if it's warm enough for foliage to emerge.)

5 Hosta doesn't need dividing now unless your HVAC person says that plants need to be farther from your AC

6 gold Alyssum, with yellow spring flowers. Mine never seeded around at all.

7. Rose.

8 Sedum drought resistant ground cover. Yours looks like it is one that spreads, but it's easy to rip out where you don't want it. Wait to see if it has attractive flowers before removing all of it.

9. A different sedum, probably Autumn Joy, which has pink flowers in late summer, early fall. Easy.

10. Nice rock! Barberry is invasive, and that one may have been planted like so many . . . a bird eats the berry, but the seed goes through the digestive tract untouched and get deposited with a dose of fertilizer wherever the bird lets loose. Prickers, so remove it with gloves. This is one you can remove and not feel guilty.

11. Groundcover Juniper. If mulched under, easy, not invasive, though it will get larger. Can be pruned, and is nice for late fall early spring green color.

12 More hosta-does best in shade

13 Rose does best in sun

14 another Chamaecyparis (with ivy underneath it looks like), perhaps Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Crippsii'. It looks like it has several trunks. The gold color is another thing that will add interest when there aren't flowers during the growing season and in the winter when most things are gray.

15 I think Ilex glabra, common name inkberry. The shiny green evergreen leaves are the interest for this plant - berries are black and flowers basically invisible.

16 creeping euonymous AKA wintercreeper. Evergreen. might be invasive in some areas, not sure. Feel free to prune back as much as needed since you can't hurt it.

17 More Alyssum

18 ivy will spread forever, so decide if you want this as a ground cover or get rid of it. It is invasive in some areas. If you decide to remove, do a wev search on how to remove ivy (Hedera species). Rhododendron in the upper left corner. spring flowers on rhodie

19 rip out bind weed, as often as it sprouts. don't let it go to seed or you'll have even more. invasive

20 common name ribbon grass. Put some in a container in the middle of other plants for a highlight. I have it in an old chimney tile standing on end in a perennial garden. Looks great, I don't let it go to seed, and it doesn't spread

21 More juniper - a green kind and a bluish kind. Behind a dark green globe of Chamaecyparis. Small reddish barberry. On the far right at the back the leaves and shape look like it might be burning bush, an invasive Euonymous. If so, you'd so well to remove this as it will see around.

22 This is the barberry on the left and the Chamaecyparis on the right as mentioned in 21

24 another form of wintercreeper Euonymous, this one variegated. See 16

25 The" little green bud" are the seed capsules. This is either a deciduous azalea or an Enkianthus campanulatus. Either one has spring flowers and colorful fall foliage. Easy care as long as they like the soil and have a few hours of sun.

26 Pieris japonica, common name andromeda. Spring flowers, evergreen foliage. sometimes new foliage is brightly colored.

Happy gardening and welcome to the New England forum. Congrats on having the foresight to post pictures and ask before doing too much.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 8:59PM
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Welcome to the forum! Lots of good advice already from the regular members, but I took a very quick look at your photos to see if I could add anything.

I think #8 (" this is also everywhere and I don't like it") might be winter heath. Please let it grow through this winter before you cut it back or remove it; it's wonderful when it blooms - IN FEBRUARY!

I'll look some more when I get too hot out in the garden.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 9:20AM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Welcome to the forum, to the world of home ownership and to New England gardening! The help you've already received from earlier posters is very typical for this forum.

I agree that you should wait before tearing out anything. I know it's annoying to look at all the things you hate about your yard, but before re-landscaping you should understand the conditions in your yard. Pay attention to the kinds of trees, which suggest the ph levels, and to the soil conditions. For example, is your soil more clay or sand or is it rich in humus? Also watch the sun's track over the seasons because the amount of sunlight your yard gets will determine the kinds of plants you can best grow --- though for many of us New Englanders the word "best" is seen as a challenge!

You also have to think about what will grow on the type of lot that you have. From the photos your home seems to be in a wooded, rocky area and that the yard slopes down in the front --- is that correct? You may want to look in your neighborhood at other similar yards for things you like. August is a great month for "planning" the garden because it's too darn hot for planting. You could take this month to research all of the plants that have been named for you and learn how they grow and flower and what conditions they prefer. Also, many garden centers have great sales in the fall.

Later on when you need specific advice or want to float some ideas, you could post some photos of your home taken from several points on the lot to show how the house "sits" on the land. Have fun!


    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 11:02AM
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I took another look through your photos - can you modify the settings on that album so that "non-friends" can leave comments? The previous poster who identified #8 as a sedum may have been right. If it has wiry, woody stems it's probably heath, and if the leaves are "fat" or juicy when squished and the stems are light green and break really easily it's probably a sedum.

I think you have some Ilex glabra (Inkberry?) a native New England form of holly (no spikes on the leaves, which is nice!) although I don't remember the photo number - (could have been the one with the comment "wait until it flowers"). It doesn't flower, but has excellent clean glossy foliage all year - definitely a keeper.

Some other plants seem to be growing in very tough conditions, and I urge you not to be too quick with the shovel or pruners. There's a lanky shrub growing at the base of a tree; it would be very difficult to establish something else there. A sprawling evergreen cascading over the edge of a block wall did a good job softening and partly concealing the "fake rock" and seemed to be enjoying what must be a very dry corner. The "basket of gold" perennial alyssum in the (real) rock wall will be stunning in spring, and replacing it with something else to soften the look of the stone would be almost impossible.

You have a LOT of paving in your garden, and if you remove all the plants that you're considering, you may end up looking at too much hard material. It could take a long time to fix that, which IMHO the previous owner was working on.

Overall, it looks like a wonderful garden to use as your starting point. I hope you'll keep us posted so we'll be able to see what you do with it.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 12:02PM
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Enjoyed NHbabs id of everything. I would get rid of the ribbon grass or at least take some of it out. I have seen it spread in other gardens and take over.

With all the gold alyssum, I suspect there are spring bulbs in your new garden, too, and it should be very pretty in the spring.
Congrats on your new home!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 2:21PM
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I have a third guess on the plant in photot 8. If it isn't woody (which would be the winter Heath that diggingthedirt suggested) and if it isn't sedum another herbaceous plant it might be is Euphorbia cyparissias, the Cypress Spurge. I think that this kind of Euphorbia spreads a lot. Euphorbias usually have milky sap, which sedums don't. Use gloves and long sleeves in dealing with Euphorbias since their sap leaves a sort of chemical burn on some people's skin.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 8:13PM
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ctlady_gw(z6 CT)

I just saw this post and wanted to say a couple of things. First, I agree 1000 percent with posters who suggest "holding your fire" - you have some of the most beautiful landscaping I've seen in a long time in many areas, and much of it represents well established (and well chosen for the site) plants that will be hard to replace with equally suitable selections. Many of the plants have growth habits that are supposed to be flowing, cascading, etc.... those should be allowed to cascade, flow, drape. You can prune, but if you do so too drastically, I am guessing you will be so unhappy with the result you WILL have to pull it out. So live with it all for a year or two, see how it looks through the seasons. I am betting you will have a wonderful blend of colors and texture/form/shape through the seasons, and you will (I know, having done this in my earlier gardening days) regret acting too quickly, either to remove or drastically reduce and reshape. Those expanses of juniper are awesome, and indeed, were chosen, I am betting, to solve (very beautifully) a landscaping problem (rock ledge). They are a perfect solution. As for the Euphorbia cyparissias and ribbon grass (Phalaris arundinaceae), I would agree on removing them. Both are banned in Massachusetts (and CT) as as invasives. Stephanandra incisa 'Crispa' might be a good replacement for the ribbon grass. But I SO hope you will leave the rest, or perhaps have a professional landscape designer come in and advise you. As for azaleas... be thankful you have them and hopeful some are native varieties, which in addition to being beautiful in spring and in some cases summer, will fill your garden with extraordinary fragrance (Weston's 'Innocence' for example - my single plant fills my front yard with the scent of vanilla in early summer each year). I have never heard of an invasive azalea variety! Your hostas, especially the variegated ones, are also terrific, durable plants, better (at least in my view) used in masses, so you can divide them (more or less endlessly!) and fill out an area in no time. I really do think, given everything you have, that it would be well worth the money to hire a professional for a few hours to come in to tell you what you have and why it was (perhaps) chosen, as well as what alternatives will work for the site if you truly dislike what you have for some reason. I know a lot of people who would give anything for a landscape like yours - enjoy it! I agree with the poster who said it was chosen with great care (I would even suggest a professional landscape designer had a hand in the original plantings, based on what I can see).

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 11:35AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Gee, I really wish the OP would post the pictures here! (hint, hint, lol!) After some of the comments, I wanna see the yard too!


    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 2:15PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I'm with Dee - I don't have a Facebook account so I can't see the pictures.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 5:41PM
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