41 Slices
Medium 9780253009319

4. Superb Shrubs Absolute Essentials

Carolyn A. Harstad Indiana University Press ePub

One of the great pleasures of gardening lies in that basic promise of a garden—that each is its owner’s attempt at creating a personal paradise on earth.

—Allen Paterson

Sweetfern

When homeowners plan their landscapes, they usually begin by creating a want list. As noted in the previous chapter, the first item on that list is a usually a tree. The next item is invariably flowers. But let us not hasten to the consideration of annuals and perennials.

Are trees and flowers important? Of course, but shrubs are even more so. In fact, they may be the main component necessary to unify your home landscape. As the chapter title states, they are absolute essentials. Some will question that statement, so pause for a moment to decide whether you agree. What qualities can a shrub bring to your yard? Do they really serve any function other than to disguise the foundation of the house?

Begin by imagining a typical affordable ranch-style house set on a plot of green grass. The entire street is filled with similar houses planted squarely in the middle of each rectangle of turf grass. Except for the house, the grass stretches nearly unbroken on both sides of the street.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253219763

One An Inviting Garden

Moya L Andrews Quarry Books ePub

Won’t you come into my garden?
I want my roses to see you.

Richard Sheridan

Those of us who love flowers, to an extent that other people might find hard to understand, have an intimate relationship with them. This relationship deepens as we ourselves mature and learn more about their distinctive features and how they impact us. We may start out responding to their colors, shapes, and forms, sensing that we feel something quite special in their presence. Perhaps we then begin to recognize the other attributes that particularly delight us, and yearn for flowers that have special perfumes, or ones that evoke memories of people or of places that were meaningful to us in our childhood or times past. At some point in our evolving understanding of the significant part that flowers play in our existence, we realize that flowers really are an essential aspect of our identity, and they can affect how we actually feel day by day.

We realize that they serve as our symbols of the seasons. We wait to see the first spring flowers each year and we feel a deep need to mark each event by savoring the flowers that are associated with special times. We look for the daffodils in the spring, Easter lilies at Easter, poinsettias at Christmas, and so on. Also, instead of just waiting hopefully for someone to give us flowers, we come to the understanding that they are essential to our well-being. So we become more proactive in seeking out opportunities to have flowers. At this point we usually give ourselves permission to buy flowers for ourselves. Fortunately, nowadays flowers are available year-round, and it is a happy thing for us since we can so easily pick up our favorites and pop them into our grocery carts as we shop for food. Flowers, we have come to understand, are indeed food for our souls.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780874217094

Chapter Three. How to Water Native Landscapes

Susan E. Meyer Utah State University Press ePub

Mountain lover and Bigtooth maple

The next step in the process of designing and installing a native landscape is to deal explicitly with how your plantings will be watered. Your completed planting plan shows the species that are to be planted into each area, as well as the spatial configuration of the planting. Each planting area has been designated as belonging to one of the five watering zones: minimal, low, medium, high, or very high. Now you will decide the most efficient and best way to provide water to each watering zone. Plants in all zones will need to be watered during establishment, so there must be some way to get supplemental water into each area, at least initially. But only areas representing watering zones that will receive supplemental water on a regular basis will need more permanent irrigation systems. These are the zones that represent plant communities from places that receive more annual precipitation than your site and that cannot be situated in sufficiently favorable microsites to preclude the need for added water.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780874217094

Chapter 6. Native Landscape Pioneers Tell Their Stories

Susan E. Meyer Utah State University Press ePub

Utah ladyfinger milkvetch

Return of the Natives

Phil and Judy Allen, Orem, Utah—Semi-desert Zone

Personally, my choice to “go native” was as much about reconnecting with favorite childhood plants and memories as it was about art or philosophical ponderings related to environmental stewardship. Still, ripping out what remained of our front lawn in 2004 felt strangely awkward. (Every other front yard on our street had copious quantities of Kentucky bluegrass, and my PhD in horticulture focused on high-maintenance turfgrasses). That said, the journey from a solid carpet of lawn to the creation of a Wasatch Front canyon landscape has been worth it in every way.

We purchased our brick rambler in 1992. At that time, the completely flat landscape was dominated by lawn that reached from the house to all property lines. The trees included exactly one of each of the following, growing as “lollipops” in the grass: Norway maple, sycamore maple, quaking aspen, flowering plum, cherry, apple, and Douglas fir. The only shrubs in the yard included four dwarf Alberta spruces (located in the front yard at the corners of the house and sides of the porch), a single lilac, and a row of pfitzer junipers along the fence in the back yard. We immediately removed the flowering plum, which was located in the center of the back lawn and conflicted with soccer.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780874217094

Chapter One. Native Landscapes of the Intermountain West

Susan E. Meyer Utah State University Press ePub

Leo penstemon

To design beautiful and functional native landscapes, the first step is to learn to look at landscapes in nature and to begin to understand why they look the way they do. Even intuitively obvious truths about intermountain landscapes need to be given some thought. For example, all westerners know that, to escape the heat of summer, a picnic in the mountains is generally a good approach. In the winter, we know that we can head for the desert to escape from the snow. Plants respond to these climate differences at least as much as people do. The native plant communities in high mountain valleys are completely different from the plant communities in the desert country, where people often go to seek winter sunshine.

As you drive up into the mountains from towns nestled in the valleys at their feet, first the low sagebrush steppe vegetation gives way to foothill communities characterized by small trees like gambel oak and bigtooth maple, or to a pygmy evergreen forest made up of juniper and pinyon pine. Further up, patches of quaking aspen and white fir or lodgepole pine start to appear, interspersed with meadow communities of grasses, low shrubs, and an abundance of wildflowers. If you are driving up a canyon with a year-round stream, you will see the difference right away between the streamside vegetation, which is very green and lush, and the hillsides above, which support shrubs and grasses found in much drier environments. Often, arriving in the aspen/white-fir or lodgepole pine zone is enough to relieve the heat of summer, but if the road continues to wind upward, it will pass through evergreen forests of sub-alpine species of spruce and fir, until at last it reaches timberline and breaks out into alpine tundra, the dwarf community that lives on the high, windswept ridges that are too harsh to support trees.

See All Chapters

See All Slices