Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Shrub Bed - Almost Done

Well, for all intents and purposes it IS done... except for the colorful perennials which I'll add in the spring.  But the hard part - the hard work - is all over.  The holes were dug (and the digging bar was utilized - darn that Alabama red clay!) and the happy hummousy composty earth was mixed.  Then the plants were released from their plastic bondage and set free to root deeply.  They were all a bit root-bound, which is to be expected for a fall planting.  I took especial care with the camilla.  At the last minute I decided to go with the sasanqua instead of the japonica.  The sasanqua variety is a little less formal, but more importantly it is more cold hardy.  And seeing as I live in north Alabama, you can never quite be sure what the weather will do.

My biggest worry is the crape myrtle.  The three main trunks were taped together, and it looks as though they'd been that way for a while.  When we took the binding off, the tree didn't relax much - you can see in the photo how tightly the trunks are bunched together.  If it doesn't relax this fall, over the winter I'll stake them separately (after pruning, but NO crape murder!) and see if I can gently encourage them to grow a bit more spaced out.  In the long run it will make the tree happier, and prettier too.

So here's the whole bed - the picture was taken from the sliding glass doors facing the yard.

The row of hollies is probably close to 40 years old, as is the big holly tree in the back.  It's hard to see, but at the far end of the bed is one of my grandma's rose bushes.  All the rest is the new plantings.

This is a close up of the three gulf stream nandinas and the tea olive (osmanthus).

This is the sweetspire, the crape myrtle (see how close the trunks are?) and one of the gardenias.

Finally, this is the other gardenia, the camellia - and did I mention it already has buds? - and the barberries.

I am really proud of this project.  I designed it, and we implemented it perfectly (well, I suppose I can't really say that until the plants survive the winter, can I??)  So I'll pamper my new plants this winter, water and talk to them and encourage them to grow.  As Tom Bombadil said, "Eat earth!  Dig deep!  Drink water!"... though I hope none of my trees grows as angry as Old Man Willow!

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