General Discussion:

yew hedge against the foundation


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From:Date:Zone:
Lori20-Sep-04 03:54 AM EST 5   
Gail R30-Sep-04 03:33 PM EST 3a   
Wendy P01-Oct-04 12:24 PM EST 7   


Subject: yew hedge against the foundation
From: Lori
Zone: 5
Date: 20-Sep-04 03:54 AM EST

I have a yew hedge against the foundation and it is really taking over. I want to plant perennials in the front of it, can I prune it drastically? Also, what type of perennials could I plant? I really don't like Hostas, and would like perennials that flower for a long time in deep shade, or maybe you could guide me on the best ferns to plant. I thought of planting hydrangeas "Annabelle" in the deep shade. What do you think? Thanks for your help.


Subject: RE: yew hedge against the foundation
From: Gail R
Zone: 3a
Date: 30-Sep-04 03:33 PM EST

Lori, Hydrangeas do not flower in the shade. They need full sun. At least mine do. My daughter got one with the house that she bought and it was in the shade and she never had any blooms until she moved it. I do have only one Yew plant (I just wanted it for greenery) I had to cut it back because of winter kill and its doing great. There is a pic & article in Lois Hole's trees/shrub book on Yews. Ostridge ferns are the most common & will probably do fine in front of your Yews. Hope this helps


Subject: RE: yew hedge against the foundation
From: Wendy P
Zone: 7
Date: 01-Oct-04 12:24 PM EST

Lori... Shade gardening is one of my Favs! You don't have to worry as much about watering and the beds don't look "done in" by the end of summer. True deep shade limits your choices for flowers but you get to play with some of the best for foliage color and texture. First off, before you plant any perennials [and now is the best time of year to do so] ammend your soil. Dig in well-rotted manure, professionally prepared compost[from your local gravel supply yard] and a little bark mulch [to increase friability]. A little extra care goes a long way as you will not be digging up your beds every spring anymore.

For flowers, check out the extensive family of perennial geraniums. There is one - 'phaem' or Merry Widow - which perforrms best with no direct sunlight at all. It's leaves are blotched and the flowers are purple-brown in early spring and again in fall. The only consideration on this variety is that it will take over if you do not remove every extra seedling - and I mean EVERY one. Well worth the trouble tho. Some of my other favs are 'Biokovo'- compact with light pink flowers mid-spring; 'Wargrave Pink'- med pink rambler for summer bloom; 'Pink Spice'-dark foliage with tiny pink flowers and good olb 'Johnson's Blue'- one of the prettiest and the one that drew me to this group to begin with.There are countless others so check out your local garden center.

Any of the Astilbes [false spirea] are good choices. Their basic need is extra moisture - it's usually wetter on the "dark side". I have a couple of plants growing under a big red twig dogwood that get no light at all. Various heights, flower shape and colors to choose from.

Some well-behaved evergreens that also flower are: Pachysandra [Japanese spurge], bergenias [very early pink bloom], Alchemilla mollis [lady's mantle - watch for this one's seedlings too], and Pulmonarias [lungwort - another very early bloomer and prefers it's foliage kept drier] Pretty much any fern'll do the job. Look for Japanese painted fern, Osmanthus regalis [royal fern], autumn fern [foliage changes color] and crested lady fern. Check out one of the smaller specialty nurseries for the best selection.

There's grasses that would be happy too - hakenakloa is especially pretty with it's short, droopy stripey foliage [the shadier it is, the more yellow the coloring], 'Bowles Golden' - these two also prefer more moisture. Alot of the Carexes will do well - 'Frosty curls'; 'Ice Dancer'- needs good drainage; and Carex Glauca- evergreen grey-green foliage that will fill in a unmanagable space quickly.

There are many others to choose from as well. As soon as I submit a posting, I always think of some other great performers. I hope you enjoy your shade gardening experience.

PS - Hydrangeas do their best in a part-shade and MOIST situation. I have a 'Lemon Wave' and a dwarf blue lacecap that get only a couple hours a day. Poor bloom performance can sometimes come from improper pruning. Hydrangeas are similar to clematis in that there are specific pruning techniques for different varieties.


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