My head won't stop spinning!

Discussion in 'Garden Design and Plant Suggestions' started by suzabella, Jun 24, 2006.

  1. suzabella

    suzabella Member

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    Connecticut USA
    I've registered on this site today in hopes someone could help me... and slow down the spinning head some. I purchased a home that was vacant for over 8 years. It is nestled in the woods surrounded by pine trees. I've cleared the trees close to the house so I have a good amount of sunshine. What I would like to achieve is a natural look. So far I have planted some rhododenrones on the slope where the pine trees were and a holly bush on the sides of the deck. Any ideas of what would look natural in a pine forest. I would love to have some color year round. If it ever stops raining I will take some pics to post. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. terrestrial_man

    terrestrial_man Active Member 10 Years

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    Got any graph paper. I think you need to do a complete lay out of the entire property with all permanent features and plants so you can get a good look at it in terms of square footage. Be sure to rough in where the ground rises or slopes down.
    Then here is a link to a native plant organization in your state.
    http://www.ct-botanical-society.org/
    Check out the above site and maybe it can begin the process of helping you fill in all those blank spaces in such a way as to create that naturalistic look you are after!
     
  3. suzabella

    suzabella Member

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    Thank you for the web site. It looks to be very helpful. I will take some time researching then plotting. I am sure I will be back a few times with more questions or searching for ideas. Hopefully, I can get some pictures showing what I have to work with. I would love any and all ideas.
     
  4. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Your head may be spinning because you have a couple of conflicting goals in mind there. I'm not all that familiar with pine forests, but am no stranger to conifer forests in general, and "colour year around" is not what is "natural" in them. Furthermore, what looks natural to you or meets your colour needs may not grow where you are. Designing a garden in your setting is ultimately no different that designing one in a suburb: you identify your functional and aesthetic needs, assess your site conditions eg soil, sun, and water, establish hardscape and pathways as desired, select plants, and so on. Your decisions about each of those things will just look a lot different than those made by someone in suburbia! But a good design book will help in either case.
     
  5. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Hi Suzabella,

    Congratulations on your 'new' home!! Some great advice already so I'll try not to repeat anything you already have. No matter what anyone says, you CAN have color for most of the season. In a woodland there is a mix of trees with groups of several species together. Where the decidious trees grow is where you will usually find the spring ephemeral flowers that bloom before the trees leaf out. Once the trees leaf out the spring emphemerals go dormant and disappear. Early spring bulbs are an example. Most like it dry when they are dormant and the tree roots tend to soak up the moisture in the summer and the bulbs thrive. There are other plants that like the shade and will bloom in conditions like yours where there are evergreens. Most are not natives, but if you choose carefully you can have color all season without planting invasives. There are groundcovers and shrubs that offer berries to birds and other wildlife. Those berries can be very colorful and look wonderful with snow on them. For some plants you can leave the seed heads on for the winter and the birds will eat the seeds. The birds will add color and movement to the winter garden and the seed heads look nice with snow on top.

    The link Terresterial Man gave you is excellent. There is a very special place that I have longed to visit that may not be too far from you in Massachusettes. It's called Garden In The Woods and is sponsored by the New England Wild Flower Society. It's a wonderful place to see a naturalistic flowering woodland with respect for the environment and native flowers. Click on the link on the left here. Keep in mind that a wildflower isn't necessarily a native plant, but one that grows in the wild. Some wildflowers are invasives.
    http://www.newenglandwildflower.org/

    There are many books on woodland gardening in the library that you might want to look at. The New England Wild Flower Society has some books for sale, but you might want to look for them in the library first. Two respected authors on woodland gardening that come to mind would be Rick Darke and Ken Druse. Rick Darke has a chapter in his book 'The American Woodland Garden: Capturing the Spirit of the Deciduous Forest' about designing a woodland garden. Although his book is about a deciduous woodland, it can be very inspiring. Don't rule out other conifers as they can be colorful and have interesting shapes and textures. There are even miniatures that would be wonderful in a small bed near a window or door for winter viewing.
    http://www.miniforest.com/
    http://www.miniplantkingdom.com/

    Here's some posts about woodland books you might find helpful.
    http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/woodland/msg1223020025423.html
    http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/woodland/msg0410235411761.html

    It would be helpful for you to know your plant hardiness zone. Conn. has zones 5 and 6. Here's a zip code zone finder.
    http://www.gardenweb.com/zones/zip.cgi

    If you would like some plant suggestions just let me know. In the meantime you can use this site to check references if you decide to mailorder plants. You can also search by state and plant material.
    http://davesgarden.com/gwd/

    Newt
     
  6. suzabella

    suzabella Member

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    Thank you all for the ideas and suggestions. I am in the NE corner of CT which is in zone 6. It finally stopped raining enough to go outside and take some pictures. Remember this place has been uninhabited for the last 8 years. So far my focus has been on the deck, roof, and ridding the place of flying squirrels, grey squirrels and bats... finally the fun stuff! The iris near the driveway were already there. I've started to clean up around them and plan on using pine needles as a natural mulch. I've been told that the tree on the corner of the deck is an ornamental plum tree. The main trunk of the tree was dead. However, the offshoots seem to be quite healthy. I'll see if they get enough strenght to support the fruit. Any and all ideas would be appreciated... I have no idea where to start. The graph paper is a great idea... I just don't know which section to graph first!! It is quite an undertaking.. Maybe I should date a landscaper!! :) Thanks again... Joanne
     

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  7. terrestrial_man

    terrestrial_man Active Member 10 Years

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    What a great place!
    Graphing it. I would begin with the front porch as being the bottom of the graph paper and using 1 square to represent 2 feet and see how far the paper will take you out to.
    I agree that your focus should be in the immediate areas around the house.
    Possibly do a graph and just work on that area then another graph and then work on that area. Etc.
    A man named Robert Schuller has came out with some very cute sayings that would seem to apply to your situation:
    1. Plan your work and work your plan
    2. Inch by inch everything's a cinch!
     
  8. digital flower

    digital flower Member

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    Greetings from the Southwestern part of the state.


    I hope that it comes back. If it is grafted much sure that the new growth is coming from above the graft. If it is ornamental there won't be a great amount of fruit.

    Don't forget that you can get some color by adding to your evergreens with something like Colorado Blue Spruce, Dragon Eye Pine or Golden Oriental Spruce.


    I wouldn't do that. Trust me, I know ;-)
     

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