Gardening Articles: Landscaping :: Lawns, Ground Cover, & Wildflowers

Low-Maintenance Gardens (page 2 of 3)

by Jane von Trapp

Plants for A Low-Maintenance Design

Here's a list you might receive from a nursery professional if you asked them to suggest plants for a low-maintenance landscape. Two spruces- bird's nest and dwarf Serbian spruce --grow so slowly that they never need pruning. Japanese holly and Korean boxwood are upright, broad-leaved evergreens that grow to 9 feet and 3 feet respectively, and stay that way. The holly's convex, glossy leaves contrast nicely with the Korean boxwood's flat, oval, lighter green leaves.

Dwarf Japanese garden junipers will spread and grow together, forming a bright green mounding carpet. All of the evergreens on our list (see below) retain their color well during the winter months, and in summer they will appear as a quilt of many shades of green from the lightest and brightest to the very dark and glossy.

Deciduous cinquefoil has long been used for borders and ground covers in cold-climate gardens. It grows into a 1-1/2- to 2-foot-tall, 3-foot-diameter mound that flowers continuously from early summer to frost. Flowers are commonly cream, bright yellow, or white, but pink and red-flowered forms are also available. Gardeners in warmer zones can substitute an everblooming, compact plant such as Lantana camara 'Feston Rose' (zones 9 through 11), which produces mostly pink blooms with touches of yellow.

Finally, no fence is ever really perfect until it has a vine growing on it, and to me the perfect low-maintenance vine is climbing hydrangea. Not only does it bloom all summer, but it spreads quickly and vigorously, providing an excellent backdrop for the evergreens. Of all the plants listed here, it is the one you may need to prune, but until then, let it ramble and do its job of covering the fence.

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