The New Hedge

The Problem

Ah, the joys of suburban gardening.  As you can see, here is my very narrow hot colors garden.   I am standing in my driveway.  Slightly uphill and about 20 feet away, is the neighbor’s driveway.  I own all the flatland between our driveways, and they own the hill.

My neighbors have constructed five raised beds for vegetables in this narrow space, which backs onto my 10 ft x 20 ft Hot Colors garden.  Before they moved in, I had used this space as a garden, but never knew what to do with it, and I had a stunted lilac hedge behind it.  This area gets massive runoff from both of our houses, and all the houses up the hill, so was constantly swampy.  Needless to say, the lilacs hated it and stubbornly remained 3 feet tall.  Last fall, I pulled the lilacs out with the intention of putting in a real hedge that would conceal my view of the neighbor’s vegetable garden and the one billion driveways you can see throughout the alley, as well as create a backdrop for the hot colors.  I also decided to re-landscape the area to create a raised bed to reduce the swampage on those poor plants, thus, the photo you have here.

I used my usual lazy method for soil preparation: the Financial Times, Compost, garden waste, etc.  It will also have other great organic matter, if I’m ever around on a weekend to run to the store.  Once prepared, I will have the perfect area to plant five non-xeric plants of some kind.

I had originally intended to plant evergreens.  But which will like the flooding best? Arborvitae? Yew?  I want something that is tough as nails and can stand up to winter wind without coddling: maybe cedars?

To that, my mother suggested Forsythia.  They do like water- but don’t like pruning (if you want flowers, that is)

I want something that will take pruning and won’t get too tall or wide, so my husband (Mr. Romantic) suggested rugosa roses, in particular, ‘Therese Bugnet’ (and no, he didn’t actually name it, he just said, “like the one we have by the garage”).  This is a great suggestion: right height so that my neighbor’s vegetables don’t get too much shade, but I don’t have to look at the beds the rest of the year.  And the sticks of Ms. Bugnet’s rose are bright red in winter.  Only one problem with this suggestion: Japanese Beetles love Ms. Bugnet.  So that’s a no.

So now I’m back to evergreens.  Maybe with Clematis growing through it.  Or maybe one of those great yellow-leaved evergreens like ‘Fernspray Gold’ or ‘Sunsprite.’  I really cannot make up my mind: a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, indeed.

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