Don't you just love going for a ride? Whether it's on a bright, sunny Sunday afternoon or a soft spring evening, it's just fun to hop in the car and go! Sometimes our rides take us out into the country, where we see the new leaves gently coloring the trees; and sometimes we just "take the long way" on our way from here to there in town. It's so interesting to see the many and varied plantings that people have in their yards!
While many new homes seem to be getting bigger and bigger, the yards seem to be getting smaller and smaller, and it seems to me that poses a very unique challenge to gardeners. How do you get beauty, shade, and color in a small space? Keith mentioned that one day, and I thought, now there's a topic that deserves some research! How can we beautify a small space?
From all the information I read, the first and most important piece of advice seems to be that we have to look at the size of the yard realistically. It's as big as it is: no bigger. Wishing won't make it so! And planting inappropriate plants won't magically expand the dimensions of your yard. That cute, fuzzy little spruce will one day be towering thirty feet in the air, and taking up an astonishing amount of space at its base. Do you really have room for it?
So take a deep breath and look, really look, at your yard. Decide whether you want your planting to be a backdrop, or do you want shade in your yard. And don't forget about color: blooming trees or shrubs will add interest to your yard. Here are some trees that I learned would be suitable for smaller yards: mountain ash, amur maple, cornelian cherry, certain flowering crab trees, Japanese maple, and paperbark maple. If you are looking for flowering shrubs, there are dwarf lilacs, potentilla, spirea, and many other exciting new shrubs that can boast beautifully colored leaves, which are just as showy as flowers. As we've talked about before, take your wish list and head to our greenhouses. The great people who work there have their fingers on the pulse of the newest and most hardy plants for our area, and they can give you the best advice.
If you have a more diminutive yard, please don't plant spruce, or poplars. One will take all your space, the other will take all your moisture. There are other alternatives that will grow quickly and provide you with shade and privacy, so ask a knowledgeable plants-person at your local greenhouse, and they will be able to help you.
Be sure that whatever you choose, it is in proportion to the height and width of your house. And remember that it will take time and effort to get the effect you have in mind. You'll have to water your new trees and shrubs, and perhaps brace them against wind. But it will all be worth it in years to come!
While doing my research, I found an old newspaper clipping from July, 1992. That article described the weather as being wet and cool, setting gardens back at least two weeks from normal. In fact, that year, the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society had to cancel their Rose, Lily and Perennial Show because of the gardens being so far behind. I wonder what kind of year we will have this year?
Have a good week, have fun planning your yard, and the weather has warmed up sufficiently for me to be able to say, be sure to wear a hat!