Wednesday, July 1, 2020

This Month in the Garden: 14 Low Maintenance Landscape Plants for Your Garden

14 Low Maintenance Landscape Plants for your Garden
Welcome to This Month in the Garden! With today's busy lifestyles, homeowners are looking for ways to establish a beautiful, yet low maintenance landscape. Here are 14 landscape plants I have used over the years to add ongoing seasonal interest with little maintenance needed. Keep in mind that in addition to the hardiness and growth pattern of a plant, providing the correct conditions of sunlight, irrigation, soil conditions and space will ensure your success.

Ajuga reptans 'Burgundy Glow' (Bugleweed)

Also known as Bugleweed, this low maintenance perennial is widely used as a groundcover for shadier areas. Hardy in USDA zones 3-9, and growing just 4-6 inches tall by 12-18 inches wide, greenish-burgundy foliage adorns this plant with spikes of purple-blue flowers that appear in spring. Foliage turns to bronze and burgundy tones in autumn, which may persist throughout the winter months. 
Heuchera 'Caramel' (Coral Bells)
This newer form of semi-evergreen Coral Bells is a hybrid between Heuchera and Tiarella (Foamflower), which is native to the northeast. Hardy in USDA zones 4-9, this selection can be grown in full sun to partial shade and prefers a moderately moist soil. (Note: Try to avoid full southern exposure.) Scalloped leaves emerge gold in spring, deepening to amber and finally peach with sprays of light pink flowers appearing in midsummer. This hardier cultivar grows 12-18 inches in height and will keep its color throughout the winter months! The only required maintenance is to trim off any tired old leaves in spring. 
Carex oshimensis 'Everillo' (Golden Sedge)
Sedges are grass-like plants preferring sites with full to partial sun and a moist, rich soil. This selection, hardy in USDA zones 5-10, forms a cascading mound of bright, lime-green leaves that turn yellow-gold as they mature. This perennial reaches a height and width of 18-24 inches and remains evergreen all year long. Maintenance involves a slight pruning of any winter damaged growth in early spring if needed.
Sedum spectable 'Brilliant' (Stonecrop)
This more compact form of Stonecrop, hardy in USDA zones 4-8, offers interesting perfectly clumped foliage earlier in the season, followed by a colorful display of mauve-pink blooms that deepen in color late summer and into fall. Stonecrop prefers to be planted in full sun in a well-drained soil. When the flower heads are done blooming and have turned completely brown, simply break off the spikes to the ground or leave them for winter interest. This is one of the lowest maintenance perennials I know! This variety grows just 18-24 inches tall by wide.
Liriope 'Variegata' (Lillyturf)

Hardy in USDA zones 6-11, Lilyturf is a grassy-leaved, evergreen perennial most often used as a groundcover or edging plant. This selection features leaves striped lengthwise with green and creamy white, bearing short stems of violet-purple flowers in late summer. Lillyturf will grow just about anywhere, but ideally prefers part shade (as in a northern or eastern exposure) with a moderately moist soil. The only maintenance needed is to prune off any faded or winter damaged growth in early spring.

Spirea 'Magic Carpet'
Magic Carpet Spirea is one of the newer varieties of Spirea having a compact form, only reaching a height and width of 18-24 inches tall by 2-3 feet wide. Hardy in USDA zones 4-9, this easy to grow flowering shrub displays clusters of rose-pink flowers in mid to late summer. Colorful foliage emerges as pinkish-red, fading to bright gold and then to shades of russet red and bronze, giving this plant an ever-changing look that adds interest to the landscape. Spent flowers can be pruned off to extend flowering if desired. Plant spirea in full sun in a well-drained soil and space to allow air circulation between plants.
Weigela florida 'Spilled Wine'
This newer cultivar of Weigela is known for its dark burgundy foliage and compact habit. Its hot pink-magenta flowers produced in late spring are similar to those of Wine & Roses, but on a smaller plant (only 2-3 feet high by 3-4 feet wide). Hardy in USDA zones 4-8, plant this shrub in full sun with a moderately moist soil. Prune to shape after flowering if desired. 

Picea pungens 'Montgomery' (Globe Blue Spruce)
Picea pungens 'Montgomery' (Montgomery Globe Spruce) is a slow growing dwarf conifer hardy in USDA zones 2-8. The dense vibrant blue-green foliage of this evergreen shrub provides year round interest. Picea pungens 'Montgomery' thrives in full sun and prefers a moderately moist yet well drained slightly acidic soil. Montgomery Blue Globe Spruce grows to a mature height and width of 3-4' and requires little to no pruning. (Tip: This shrub is best watered from the bottom. Avoid allowing water to remain on foliage for any length of time.)
Chamaecyapris obtusa 'Aurea Nana' (Dwarf Golden Hinoki Cypress)
Chamaecyapris obtusa 'Aurea Nana' or Dwarf Golden Hinoki Cypress. This species of slow growing Golden Hinoki Cypress is dwarf in size, only reaching 2-3' in height. It is hardy in USDA zones 4-8 and displays luxurious golden twisted compact foliage throughout all the seasons. Chamaecyapris obtusa 'Aurea Nana' prefers to be grown in full sun in a moist but well-drained acidic soil. The two low to no maintenance varieties of this evergreen are Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Aurea Nana' (seen here) and 'Verdoni' which displays a deeper yellow foliage and grows a bit taller to 6-8 feet.
Picea abies 'Pendula' (Weeping Norway Spruce)
Weeping Norway Spruce (Picea abies 'Pendula') is hardy in USDA zones 2-8, exhibits dark green cascading branches and requires little maintenance. Picea prefers a moderately moist well-drained soil and will tolerate a range of soil pH's from strongly acidic to mildly alkaline. Weeping Norway Spruce will tolerate some partial shade but does best in full sunlight. Being one of the more compact varieties of pendulous trees, this specimen tree ranges in height and width from 4-15 feet. Remove older inner branches when bare. This tree can be pruned (if desired) to keep a more compact shape.
Pinus strobus 'Pendula' (Weeping White Pine)
Weeping White Pine (Pinus  strobus' Pendula') is a larger weeping evergreen in the conifer family displaying graceful soft blue-green needles on cascading branches. This tree thrives best in full sun and is hardy in USDA zones 3-8. Weeping White Pine prefers to be grown in a slightly acidic, moderately moist, well-drained soil. Height at maturity varies from 5-10 feet and width from 4-10 feet, so supply this specimen a location with adequate space. Little maintenance is needed; however, if desired, candles may be pruned in spring to keep this tree more compact. 
Buxus sempervirens 'Variegata' (Variegated Boxwood)
Hardy in USDA zones 5-9, Variegated Common Boxwood is a compact, slow-growing evergreen that reaches an eventual height and width of 3-5 feet high by 3-4 feet wide. Variegated foliage has white margins that turn cream and finally light yellow during the growing season. This compact plant is good for smaller areas and requires little pruning to keep its shape. This plant prefers to be located in an area of full to partial sun with moderate watering.
Taxas 'Repandens' (English Spreading Yew)
This low growing evergreen with arching branches displays dark green foliage which emerges light green in spring. Hardy in USDA zones 5-9, 'Repandens' English Yew prefers to be grown in partial shade and reaches an eventual height and width of 3-4 feet tall by 8-12 feet wide. This low maintenance shrub can be allowed to grow to its full potential or pruned occasionally to keep a more compact shape. Red fruit may appear from early to late fall on female plants.
Juniperus squamata 'Blue Star'
Hardy in USDA zones 4-8, Blue Star Juniper is a slow-growing evergreen with a low, mounding shape. Silver-blue foliage is displayed in a compact 2-3 foot tall by 3-4 foot wide shrub that remains attractive year-round. Plant Blue Star Juniper in full sun in a well-drained soil and prune to shape only when needed.

I hope you enjoyed This Month in the Garden for July, and be sure to stop by on the 1st. and 15th. of each month as I continue to share gardening tips, information and horticultural adventures! (Linking with: Floral FridaysMacro Monday 2Ruby Tuesday, Friday Photo JournalImage-in-ing Weekly Photo Link-Up and Dishing It & Digging It.)

For gardening info and tips: Visit my Author Page/Purchase My Books  😊
Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2020. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up June 2020: Welcome to my Long Island Garden!

June Garden
Welcome to my June Long Island zone 7a garden! Although we are not yet able to visit botanical gardens during this worldwide pandemic, we can still enjoy one another's private gardens and communicate as gardeners do. We all speak the same language...that is...we share the love of all things green. As the month of June arrived, it almost seemed as if "Mother Nature" had thrown a switch transforming cooler temperatures in the 60's to a sudden jump into the 70's and low 80's. With the sudden surge in warmth and frequent thunderstorms, the garden has jumped into high gear. Although I am involved in some facet of horticulture throughout the year, I must admit that my favorite time to be in the garden is from the end of May and into mid-June. Join me and come along on the tour!
Perennial Border
The perennial border comes to life in May and peaks at the end of May and into the second week in June. The main focal point is the combination of Peony 'Bartzella' (hardy in USDA zones 4-8) with Salvia 'May Night' (hardy in USDA zones 4-9). 'Bartzella' is a hybrid variety with very strong stems that do not require staking. Giant yellow blooms are formed which contrast nicely with the deep purple blooms of Salvia. The perennial border gets southwestern exposure sun from early afternoon on. I am thrilled to announce that these very captures very chosen for the Fine Gardening Magazine Photo of the Day just this past Wednesday!
Itoh Peony 'Bartzella' June
Here is a closer view of the foliage and blooms of the peony. Even after the blooms are finished, the foliage of this plant acts as a medium-sized shrub through to fall.
Itoh Peony 'Bartzella'
Salvia 'May Night'
Here is Salvia 'May Night' as it combines with the foliage of Chamaecyparis 'Gold Mop'. We will also get a view of Peony 'Karl Rosenfeld', which lies just behind the purple Salvia and to the left of the Gold Mop Cypress.
Peony 'Karl Rosenfeld'
Along the fence line, Pink Double Knock Out Roses (hardy to USDA zone 5) are in full bloom from June until frost.
Pink Double Knock Out Rose
Roses are so nice to have in the yard and their mild fragrance can be detected when up close. Even though Knock Out Roses do not require deadheading to re-bloom, I still make it a practice of keeping the shrubs compact with regular trimming of extra long off-shoots. I also feed my roses monthly with a systemic food and fungal treatment, which keeps them robust and healthy.
Pink Double Knock Out Rose
Here is one of the individual roses up close for you to see.
Kousa Japanese Dogwood
In the back corner, Japanese Kousa Dogwood is in full bloom with Hosta 'Patriot' and 'Minuteman'. This variety of Kousa is known as 'Greensleeves'. It is a newer hybrid that produces more blooms and is more disease resistant.
Ilex Sky Pencil and Heuchera 'Caramel'
In the pool surround garden is Ilex 'Sky Pencil', which was introduced last year. Behind the Ilex is Heuchera 'Caramel' (Caramel Coral Bells) and in the backdrop the rhododendrons are blooming.
Southern Pool Garden
Let's venture around to the southern side of the property where a narrow lawn path leads to what I refer to as the "secret garden". Around the bend are Nepeta 'Walker's Low', Heuchera 'Palace Purple', Azalea 'Girard's Fuschia' (just finishing bloom), 'Goldmound' Spirea, rhododendron and 'Summer Snowflake' Viburnum.
Allium 'Globemaster'
Along the pool garden, Allium 'Globemaster' are on display with their voluminous lavender-purple blooms that rise above tall stalks.
Allium 'Globemaster' with 'Stella D Oro' Daylily
I plant my Allium bulbs so that they come up among the foliage of Stella D Oro Daylily. 'Limemound' Spirea is in the backdrop with a Weeping 'Red Select' Japanese Maple to the left and Star Magnolia to the right.
Viburnum 'Summer Snowflake'
Come see the 'Summer Snowflake' Viburnum (hardy in USDA zones 5-8). These beauties produce delicate white blooms from late spring into summer.
Viburnum 'Summer Snowflake'
Here is one of the blooms close up for you to see.
Secret Garden
Venturing from the "secret garden", we are now headed east towards the main part of the backyard. You may notice the Nepeta we passed on the way in, along with 'Goldmound' Spirea, 'Palace Purple' Coral Bells and Variegated Hosta. The whole perspective changes as one enters and leaves the garden.
Red Double Knock Out Rose
Along the northern border (southwestern exposure) are Double Red Knock Out Roses along a Western Arborvitae backdrop.
Red Double Knock Out Rose
Let's step back a little to get the full picture!
Magic Show 'Enchanted Indigo' Verbena

This is Magic Show 'Enchanted Indigo' Verbena, hardy in USDA zones 4-8. It impressed me from the start with its spikes of violet-blue blooms that last throughout summer with just a little bit of deadheading, and the pollinators love it! The compact size of just 16 to 18 inches makes its perfect for along my patio area. The original plant has doubled in size this past year.
Driveway Border
Along the driveway border, 'Magic Carpet' Spirea and Salvia 'Caradonna' are also in bloom for the month of June and will continue blooming throughout summer. I enjoy the height on the 'Caradonna'.
Azaleas Blooming Earlier in Month
As we come towards the end of our tour, here is a flash back from just two weeks ago when the Azalea were all in full bloom. The possibilities of a virtual garden tour are endless!
Mandevilla Vine
Back to today...the Mandevilla is blooming profusely! I had gotten hooked on having one of these planters by my back door ever since my husband brought one home for me years back. With the pandemic going on, it was a little more difficult this year trying to find one, but with persistence...I did! In the planter for this year is a combination of both red and white blooms.
June Garden-Thank you for Visiting!
I hope you enjoyed your visit to my June garden. As always, I thank you for being here and hope you experienced a smile along the way. 🙂Special thanks go out to our hostess Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who makes it possible to see blooms on the 15th of every month with her meme Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Also, special thanks to Pam Penick at Digging who has hosted Foliage Follow-Up for all these years, a meme I will still continue to honor. I am also linking with some other wonderful hosts and hostesses at Floral Friday FotosMacro Monday 2, Mosaic Monday at Letting Go of the Bay Leaf, Nature Notes at Rambling WoodsDishing It & Digging It on Sunday with Angie the Freckled Rose, Image-in-ing weekly photo share every Tuesday with NC Sue and Gardens Galore Link Up Party every other Monday with Everyday Living. I am also happy to join the Homestead Blog Hop  and Weekly Photo Link-Up at My Corner of the World on Wednesdays.

Looking for some gardening inspiration?-Visit my Author Page
Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2020. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 1, 2020

This Month in the Garden: Sustainable Gardening-Design of a Lawnless Landscape

This Month in the Garden: Sustainable Gardening-Design of a Lawnless Landscape 
Welcome to This Month in the garden! With today’s busy lifestyles and overwhelming schedules, many homeowners prefer to forego a lawn, yet still desire a functional and welcoming landscape. This could be a challenging task, but with careful planning, the goal can be achieved with optimum results.
Front Garden Before
I received a request for such a garden a couple of years ago from a client that no longer wanted the challenge of having to mow a lawn every week or hire someone else to do it. The client wanted to achieve a garden that could be enjoyed and also desired a place where seasonal vegetables and strawberries could be grown. As a designer, the planning of the garden took several steps and my job was to incorporate both hardscape and plantings into a functional, yet aesthetically pleasing garden. 
Front Garden After
The process started with the clearing of a large tree that was very close to the house and had overgrown its space. Afterward, environmental conditions were noted and careful measurements were taken of the site. Landscape flags were used to lay out curving bed-lines and list of desirable low maintenance evergreens, flowering shrubs and perennials was compiled along the the client. 
Front Garden After
Once the area for the garden beds was marked, I imagined a “lawn” composed of pea gravel with irregular bluestone stepping-stones, which would serve the purpose of guiding visitors from the front driveway to the main entrance, to an adjacent pond area and then towards the backyard. In the backyard, raised vegetable planters would be positioned in a central region allowing for easy access with plantings along the perimeter. Additional stepping-stones were used to access the raised beds. The lack of lawn also would create a more sustainable landscape with less watering needed.
Back Garden Before
The front gardens consist of various evergreens, such as holly, euonymus, Skip Laurel, Blue Globe Spruce, Hinoki Cypress and Japanese Garden Juniper with flowering shrubs such as Magic Carpet Spirea and Hydrangea. Various long-blooming perennials such as Salvia ‘May Night', Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ and Daylily ‘Stella D Oro’ were added for summer color into fall. Evergold Sedge and Variegated Liriope were incorporated to a add a low maintenance grass-like element to the garden and pond area.
Conceptual Rendering
The back gardens consist of Emerald Green Arborvitae and Skip Laurel along the perimeter, giving a sense of privacy, along with various flowering shrubs such as Little Lime Hydrangea, Double Knock Out Roses, Crape Myrtle and Tree Hydrangea. Assorted perennials were also added for continuous color throughout the growing season. Above is a computer generated conceptual layout of the backyard design.
Back Garden After
The area comprising the "lawn area" in both the front and back yards was cleared and prepared with a compacted RCA base. Paths were constructed of landscape fabric and edging with a 2-3 inch thick layer of 3/4" pea gravel with Pennsylvania irregular bluestone inserts added for walking. Two Railroad Tie Planter Boxes (approximately 3.5 x 7 x 26”H) were each constructed with open gravel filled bases for drainage. Drip Irrigation lines were run in preparation for plantings.
Pennsylvania Irregular Bluestone Walkway in Pea Gravel Base
Pennsylvania irregular bluestone on a pea gravel base with landscape edging makes for an informal and inviting walkway.
Back Garden After
The completed project turned out to be a huge success and created both an enjoyable and functional atmosphere to be enjoyed by the homeowner for years to come.
Front Garden 1 Year Later
 Here is the front garden one year later. As you can see, the plantings are already starting to mature...
Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit'
 and here is a view of  Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' that the homeowner sent me. 
This Month in the Garden: Sustainable Gardening-Design of a Lawnless Landscape 
I hope you enjoyed This Month in the Garden for June. Be sure to stop by on the 1st. of each month for This Month in the Garden, as I share gardening tips, information and horticultural adventures! Linking with: Floral FridaysMacro Monday 2Friday Photo JournalImage-in-ing Weekly Photo Link-Up and Dishing It & Digging It.

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2020. All rights reserved.


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