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Wham, Bam, Hedge

October 2nd, 2017

Last week, we went to our local hardware store to grab a few items for a project. As usual, I wanted to “just look through the plants to see what they had”. All the boxwood was 50% off, which means the small ones were only $4.50 each. Even though I take box cuttings myself, they take a long time and a decent amount of labor to get to the place that these inexpensive plants are. We went home and I thought about where I’ve been planning box hedges and figured up how many I would need. Then I deliberated some more. I’m not a big spender, in general I will save money rather than spend it, do without rather than have. I have been this way since I was a small child.┬áMr Chiots finally convinced me to just buy the plants and have the hedge planted and growing out.


It will cut 2-3 years off of the time needed for the garden to reach completion. So we loaded up our car with loads of box…. This hedge consists of ‘Green Mountain’ box, one that will grow about 3-5 feet high and 2-3 feet wide. It will be perfect for this hedge, which I want to be between 3-4 feet high and about 2 feet wide. The following day, we scraped up the sod in the area in front of the main garden. It will be layered heavy with compost, lines strung, and the plants lined up. I’m thinking we will space them 18″-24″ apart.


This process gave me an instant 5 feet of extra space at the front of the garden. Behind the new hedge there will be a 5 foot bed that will house tall blooming annuals each year. In front of the hedge there will be space for low growing annuals like allysum. Overall, it’s going to be a lot of work to get this all planted, but it will be wonderful in a few years time.

What big projects do you have going on in the garden?

A Fresh Look

February 2nd, 2017

I love it when a fresh layer of snow falls. this is when I find myself looking over the garden, thinking about structure. The boxwood hedge around the front and side of the house is fantastic, every time I see it I am reminded that I need far more hedges and winter structure in the garden.



Boxwood is definitely a favorite of mine, partly because it’s evergreen and looks fantastic in winter. I also love that it’s so low-maintenance and so easy to propagate yourself from cuttings! Every summer I take a few cuttings to make new plants and hopefully some day new hedges. Perhaps this summer as I scale back the vegetable garden a bit, I’ll be able to start hundreds of box cuttings for future hedges.

Hydrangeas are another favorite in winter. Even though they’re not evergreen, they still provide some much needed interest in the winter garden. I find myself seeing a glimpse of their summer glory when I see the dried blossoms covered with snow.

What’s your favorite plant that adds winter interest in the garden?

New Cornelian Cherry

April 21st, 2016

Last week I got a new tree for my front flowerbed. I’ve been reworking this bed, if you remember I added a hedge of box that brought with me from Ohio.
boxwood hedge 2
boxwood hedge 3
Behind the box hedge is a rock wall with a raised foundation bed. It was filled with various perennials, annuals, and lots of invasive weeds. Last fall I dug up the entire bed, removing all the plants and as much of the weed roots as possible. Most of the plants were completely infested with invasive weeds and couldn’t be saved. The good thing is that none of them are expensive plants and they can all be replaced if I want to.
cornelian cherry
The truth is that the bed needs structure, it needs shrubs, not perennials. It’s needs something that will have presence in the winter. I planted three ‘Annabelle’ hydrangeas in the area under the front window and was looking for a small flowering tree to put on the corner of the house. Originally I was thinking I’d add a crapabble, but then I spotted a Cornelian Cherry at Fieldstone Gardens last week and knew that’s what would be perfect in that spot. Not only is it beautiful and flowers very early in the spring, it will provide berries for birds later in the year. I’m always trying to add plants that maximize habitat and food for wildlife, especially birds and pollinators.
Front Flowerbed
I wanted a tree that was crooked because it needs to grow out away from the house. I found a perfectly imperfect specimen. Another lovely things about the Cornelian Cherry or the ‘Cornus Mas’ is that the bark is quite interesting as well. This will be a nice addition in the winter.
cornelian cherry bark
corns mas
If you’d like to read a little more about this lovely shrub, head on over to the Missouri Botanical Garden website to read more. This easy to grow, flowering beauty, should be a wonderful addition to my garden.

Have you added any new trees to your garden this year?

Final Resting Place

November 12th, 2015

If you’ve been reading here for long, you know about my love of boxwood hedges. If you’ve been reading here since I moved from Ohio, you’ll know I planted a box hedge in Ohio the year before we moved. You’ll also know that the new owners of our home didn’t want the hedge and I brought it with me. They were moved in December of 2012, planted in my main vegetable garden here in Maine, then they were moved the following spring to a nursery area where they have been patiently waiting.
boxwood hedge 1
This week I’ve been moving to their new location, their final location where they can finally rest peacefully. They won’t all go in this space, I now have twenty shrubs, each about two feet around (both in width and height). I’m debating on placement for the remainder, I may be able to move them yet this fall if the weather continues to cooperate. These are the variety ‘Wintergreen’.
boxwood hedge 2
I planted the boxwood 34 inches apart and 26 inches in from the garden edge. At the moment, I’m thinking I want to prune into loose balls that are about three feet around in all directions. They will barely touch and should provide a semi formal hedge, not the crisp angular edge of a square hedge. I may or may not keep this look when it’s mature, if I decide I want a clipped hedge, I’ll simply root cuttings between these plants to fill in the gaps.
boxwood hedge 3
On the end of the hedge there’s a ‘Green Mountain’ boxwood that will be allowed to grow taller, in more of an oval shape to form an end cap to the hedge. I have already tied it up for winter because it was a little misshapen from the 12 feet of snow we got last winter.
boxwood hedge 4
The garden area behind this new hedge is a new space, it was grass last season. It has wonderful southern exposure and it fairly hot during the summer. I’m thinking of planting hardy figs against the rock wall and filling the remainder of the bed with masses of globe alliums and ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint, this photo from Pinterest is what gave me the idea. I’ll propagate the catmint this coming spring and buy the alliums next fall, the following year should be garden perfection!

Have you ever taken plants with you when you moved?

Friday Favorite: Hedges

October 30th, 2015

Continuing with our tour of Heronswood garden in the Pacific Northwest, I had to post about hedges. I must admit, that a beautiful hedge makes me go weak in the knees. I’ve always dreamed about having beautiful hedges in my garden, but have yet to make that dream come true. I planted a short boxwood hedge in my Ohio garden (16 plants) and it was starting to grow out when we moved. Thankfully, the previous owners didn’t want the plants, so I dug them up and brought them with me. There are still in the nursery area, waiting until I have their final garden area finished. Most likely, they will be moved next spring to a new garden area right below the house.
Heronswood formal garden 2
Heronswood formal garden 1
Heronswood formal garden 10
On Wednesday, I talked about the scalloped hornbeam hedge at Hersonwood, behind this garden is a lovely formal garden with box lined triangular shaped beds. These beds are filled with a riot of colorful perennials that grow up and out and spill over the box borders. Here are just a few of the lovely flower spilling out of the box borders.
flowers at herons wood 1
flowers at herons wood 2
flowers at herons wood 3
flowers at herons wood 4
flowers at herons wood 5
flowers at herons wood 6
The beauty of a box hedge is that it contains some of the chaos that can happen in a perennial garden. It provides structure that grounds all the other plants. I can only imagine how lovely this garden looks in the winter, when all the flowers have faded but the bones of the box remain, it must be stunning!
Heronswood formal garden 3
Heronswood formal garden 4
Heronswood formal garden 5
Heronswood formal garden 7
Heronswood formal garden 8
Heronswood formal garden 9
I will never have hedges to this scale in my garden, at least not unless I hire a gardener to help me maintain them. There are still things I can take away from a garden like this. Even on a small scale, a hedge can something beautiful in the garden. So often we look at grand gardens like this and feel like we can never achieve anything like it. The truth is we can, we just have to look work within our boundaries. Even a five foot box hedge will provide the same feel in your garden.

Do you have any hedges in your garden? What’s your favorite hedge plant?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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