Monday, July 20, 2015

A Proper Wall

Hot and humid. We've had some cool days and some chilly nights, but more typical July weather has finally arrived I think.

The stonemason who put in our bluestone steppers in the grass around the Blueberry Garden came back last week and built me a wall.

It borders the strip of plantings on the east side of the house which has always been a problem. That side of the house is a flat, wide expanse. No one ever goes around to this part of the yard, and my only intent here was to hide the black waterproofing line that ran along the concrete foundation just above the soil line.

My first attempt was a line of dwarf forsythias that did not work out at all. They came out. My second attempt was a low line of dwarf groundcover willows, Salix yezoalpina, which were striking plants but never flourished and they came out.

Then I tried mixed plantings and finally settled on dwarf deutzia 'Nikko' to hide the waterproofing line, and some taller plants for vertical contrast -- a 'Dawn' viburnum, a Rose of Sharon, some boxwoods for density. It looks better now.

But it never looked finished or even intentional. The plantings bled into the lawn along a raggy edge. All the other foundation plantings around the house are bounded by walkways or the patio, so there's a finished edge to where the house meets the lawn.

This strip of foundation plantings needed a similar defined transition from the long side of the house to the lawn. So when I had extra fieldstones left over from a low wall I built in 2013, I used the extras to edge the strip. But there weren't nearly enough and you can see how paltry that looked below:

I finally decided to do it right, and hired someone to bring in an entire pallet of stones and build me a proper wall. A professional job with an adequate amount of material. What an improvement when it is done right.

It's hardly a wall at all, only a few courses high, just enough to define the edge of this strip along the house.

Now the plants need to do their job to complement this new stone wall. The dwarf deutzias were all rooted cuttings I took from my original plants and they need a year or two to fill in.

I planted a golden Japanese plum yew this spring for some bold foliage color and vertical height, but it is only a funny stick so far, standing among the still small deutzia cuttings.

And the bane of my gardening existence, the wildly out of control 'Dawn' viburnum, has to do something other than flail about looking deranged and spastic. I've pruned it severely and this is what I got.

This viburnum is supposed to be narrow, upright and vase shaped, reaching maybe 10 feet tall. Elegant and vertical. Lovely in all seasons. Does this eruption of exploded shrubbery fit that description in any way?

With a proper stone wall dressing up the scene, the plants in here now need to step up their game.


  1. That wall is fantastic! It completely defines that area beautifully!!! Hope you stay cool and happy gardening! Nicole