I followed up with Anne Little on some garden advice. She came out twice and gave me enough good ideas to keep me busy for years to come. She kindly said that my garden was wonderful, by which I think she meant that the elements were good, they just need to be re-arranged a bit. There’s nothing like having an outsider who doesn’t really know you looking at your garden and seeing it without the history and emotion you bring to it yourself.
Idea I didn’t like at first, but now I do:
In the front garden, instead of edging it with the coral bells (as Mom advised me twenty years ago, so this is close to my heart), weave them into an S curve that goes the whole length of the garden. Move the hakenachloe towards the front. Take out the balloonflower and plant it along the back edge of the walkway garden.
Things to move, for which I will likely hire someone:
The boxwood to the left and on either side of the steps to be planted along the fence line in back. Feathery yews to be planted in their place. The lone aucuba along the back fence was frizzled by last summer’s drought. Move into the erstwhile white garden?
Farewell to the vegetable garden:
The one in back, here when I came, gets so much shade now that it doesn’t really work except as a bulb cutting garden. Anne recommends three shrubs in that corner, such as itea, Beauty berry, or viburnum (Arrowood, doublefile, cranberry, Korean or leatherleaf).
Filling in the gaps:
Three shrubs to go between the newly transplanted boxwoods along the fence could be abelia (tho I’m not crazy about them), forthergilla gardenii, or cherry laurel Otto Luykens. Where the line of day lilies is now (move them somewhere or give away), plant a small tree. She recommends a trident maple (full sun, 20-30′ high?), Kousa dogwood, witch hazel, hawthorn Winterking (which sounds terrific, but does it need full sun?),
or redbud ‘forest pansy,’ ‘hearts of gold,’ or ‘Oklahoma.’ Plant St. John’s wort in front. Put a cherry laurel skip or abelia grandoflora (6′ x 6′) where the aucuba was. Finally, in the corner of the white garden, between the back of the shed and the fence, plant a sweet bay magnolia. I do need to check on light needs for all of these. No one ever believes me that the back gardens are part sun at best.