Newbie seeking suggestions

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by frozen tundra, Dec 22, 2020.

  1. frozen tundra

    frozen tundra New Member

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    Hi All,

    Started a major front yard project, built a retaining wall, water feature (still in progress), and laid out a dry creek. Looking to create a spectacular "exotic" garden. Finding out Zone 4 (Chanhassen, MN), appears to limit many types of plants I find appealing, e.g., Japanese Maples. Looking for shrub and plant suggestions. Prefer the more spatial look Vs packed together appearance. Started the process but long way to go. Appreciate and look forward to being guided along. Thanks in advance.

    P1230167 (2).JPG P1230066 (2).JPG
     
  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Good evening and welcome to the forum, I would like to reccomend Acer palmatum var dissectum 'Crimson Queen' for the upper area. This would cascade down the wall and give a wonderful focus point when approaching the garden from all aspects and for all 4 seasons due to the wonderful structure of the branches.
    I've posted a couple of photos of the leaves of mine this year if it helps.
     

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  3. frozen tundra

    frozen tundra New Member

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    Thanks Acerholic for beautiful photos and suggestion. Just Love Japanese maples, apparently zone 4 isn't recommended for such beauties. There is a new one call the Velvet Viking that has found "some" success here in the frozen tundra of MN, which I plan to seek out come Spring.
    If anyone has had success with Japanese Maples types for zone 4 please advise as I like Acerholic's location suggestion.
     
  4. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Sorry this won't do for you, zone 4 is on the outer edge of maple survival, but with Winter mulching and protection from winds they can do well. Velvet Viking is very similar to Crimson Queen and would look lovely at the top of the wall. But I'm afraid I don't have this one in my collection so cannot advise. Looking at the info it states zone 4-9 but so many do.
    I would also give this one protection especially from heavy snow and late Spring frosts.
    I hope others will come up with some suggestions for you.
     
  5. frozen tundra

    frozen tundra New Member

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    Thanks very much for your diligent follow-up and advice.
    Also hoping some adventurous gardeners have attempted and had success planting JM's in zone 4 to give me the courage to also give it a go.
    Envy your being able to enjoy a JM "collection." I'd be grateful for one or two surviving.
     
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  6. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    You have one of the finest arboretums for your zone just a few miles away, where they also do trials of new shrub cultivars. I hope you're spending some time here! Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
     
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  7. frozen tundra

    frozen tundra New Member

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    Actually was a member 30 years ago and will be signing up come spring.
    It's only a couple of miles from my house just past Paisley Park.
    Back then they cultivated a Rhodi called Northern Lights. Tried them but didn't survive. Probably was too soon to manage the frozen tundra.
     
  8. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Were you planning to keep the plastic sheeting there?
     
  9. frozen tundra

    frozen tundra New Member

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    Hi Wendy,
    Not plastic, a fabric holding graded soil in place and allows moisture through.
    However, will remove once plants are in and mulch can be applied.
    Dry creek will get another fabric layer before rocking.
     
  10. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Hello @frozen tundra. I really like the layout of your new garden landscape. Since personal taste is so much a part of the plant choices you will make, I would start by reviewing those that are hardy in your area and then short-list my favourites. You don't need a huge variety of plants - repetition of only a few can be more effective. I would be looking at daylilies (Hemerocallis) if your garden were mine.

    Besides visiting the arboretum Daniel Mosquin recommends, cruise around the neighbourhood to see what plants you like in other gardens and then adapt them to yours. It can take several years to discover and choose the best landscape plants - that's the fun of it.
     
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  11. frozen tundra

    frozen tundra New Member

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    Hi Margot,
    Wonderful to meet you and thanks for suggestions and garden layout comment.
    Indeed, it's all about personal taste and mine tends to the exotic (think Lamborghini, Bugatti, Ferrari, etc.), which I'm finding is more difficult living in Zone 4. One of the reasons for signing up to his forum. Hoping others in zone 4 with experience might provide specific recommendations.
    Trying to find and learn about the more uncommon plants is my challenge. Also willing to take some risk whereby a gardener here may have had success planting a zone 5 plant in zone 4.
    RE: Cruising neighborhoods, we do, especially upscale ones, thinking we'll find the WOW specimens. Most times it's the creative layout that's impressive vs plant material selection.
    Yes, Daylilies are in the plan as we have a soft yellow color one that will be split and inserted somewhere. Will be staying away from the all too common tall orange ones.
    Agree, one should take time in selecting and placing plants; hence, we started visiting various nursery's for ideas which will continue this Spring.
    Also planning to introduce at least one bridge (first pix), which I haven't fabricated yet, to walk over the dry creek. And "maybe" a simple second one (zig Zag bridge), to walk out from the far side of the garden over the dry creek.
    Will allow one to stroll past the falls\pond and through the garden to view smaller plants up close. Progress will be slow, it's a very large area, not including the area around the house itself.
    Stay well, stay safe and stay in-touch.

    bridge edit.jpg P1230337.JPG zig zag bridge.jpg
     
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  12. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Love the Zig Zag bridge @frozen tundra, that would be my choice. It is all about slowing down progress through the garden and not rushing through, hence the Zig Zag.
     
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  13. frozen tundra

    frozen tundra New Member

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    Thanks for your support for zig zag.
    Reason for possible second bridge is once inside of the dry creek area, only way out would be to double back.
    Thought having a low slung, non descript but interesting way out of the inner circle might create further interest.
    Some might find this narrow bridge intimating and watch their footing Vs slowing down "to smell the roses!"
     
  14. Nik

    Nik Rising Contributor

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    ??? I don’t get this. What exactly do you mean? I always thought being subtle in garden design is so much better than.. the other way. But I understand different people have different opinions. I just don’t quite get what your idea for an exotic garden in MN is.
     
  15. Nik

    Nik Rising Contributor

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    Japanese style bridges just don’t go well with the carefully arranged stones you already have in place.
     
  16. frozen tundra

    frozen tundra New Member

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    Hi Nik,

    Thanks for the question.
    Not sure where in CT you live, we lived in Huntington, CT (Fairfield County) which is Zone 7.
    Zone 7 allows for a far greater selection of exotic type plantings, i.e., Tropical types, Holly, Umbrella Pine, Alberta Spruce, Japanese Lace Leaf, and the list goes on "forever."
    In other words, plants that are focal point, i.e., specimens having the WOW Factor; hence, like one stares at exotic cars.
    Of course the more common subtle regional fare will be the basis to highlight the focal point plantings.
    Hope this better helps explain my comments.
     
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  17. frozen tundra

    frozen tundra New Member

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    What would you suggest for bridges? Stones can be rearranged thoughts?
     
  18. Nik

    Nik Rising Contributor

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    Ok, now understand a little bit better.
    The bridges are great, they just don’t go well with the stones, as they are arranged right now.
    I would suggest grouping the stones in a more ‘random’ way, or in other words, more natural way, then it would look great. But again, that is my way of thinking and my esthetic, you have to ultimately do what seems right to you. It is your garden and all that matters is that it is great to your hopes and expectations.
     
  19. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Whatever you choose for bridges, I think they should be complementary in style - not so different from each other as the ones in your photo #11 above.
     
  20. frozen tundra

    frozen tundra New Member

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    Nik,

    I signed onto this forum because "I don't know, what I don't know." Trying to learn and execute a spectacular aesthetic. Open to all suggestions even if it requires altering what's in place while meeting my hopes and expectations.
    Appreciate your input and any further thoughts and comments you wish to share.
     
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  21. frozen tundra

    frozen tundra New Member

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    Hi Margot,

    Obviously, based on yours and Nik's responses I've started down the wrong path. pun intended. Sounds like I need to study natural stone formations and complimentary bridge designs without overwhelming the garden layout.
    Thanks for the input. Fortunately, being in the frozen tundra I have until July thaw (just kidding) to seek alternatives.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2020
  22. Nik

    Nik Rising Contributor

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    @frozen tundra , if you like the look of Japanese maples, you may want to try one of these from Iseli nursery. They are only wholesale, so you will have to research local nurseries that carry them, or perhaps they can be shipped from a nursery that is further away.
     

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  23. frozen tundra

    frozen tundra New Member

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    Nik, thanks so very much for the links as we love JM's. Had two Weeping Lace Leaf's, one red and one green in CT. Prefer weeping Vs upright, nonetheless Ice Dragon was our first late summer purchase. And we are spying a new one discovered in Edina, MN called Velvet Viking and cultivated by Monrovia (https://www.monrovia.com/velvet-viking-japanese-maple.html), which weeps. Look forward to your continued support and suggestions.

    ice Dragon-02 (2).JPG
     
  24. Nik

    Nik Rising Contributor

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    That is one happy looking maple! It is doing great!
    Here is what I have in mind about the stones lining up the dry creek, I found this in a Google search. In this example, only one or two stones are out of place, but that makes all the difference. I would actually suggest going much further than that. Push as many as you can into the creek bed before filling it. But again, personal taste, just do what feels right to you.
     

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  25. frozen tundra

    frozen tundra New Member

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    I hope it's happy and survives its first winter in the frozen tundra with the upcoming below zero temps and about to be buried by 5" of snow today!

    Thanks for the dry creek visual. "Pushing" stone into the creek is a great idea and can easily be accomplished after the thaw.

    IMHO - I have a blank canvas that's pregnant with possibilities. Figuring out and choosing the best possibilities is where I fall short.

    Like the aspect of creating the illusion of motion in the creek similar to:

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     

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