I had decided on a patio garden ( that's when you surround the patio with plants ) and needed a great specimen for the very front. I fell in love with a Viburnum Plicatum 'Mariesii ' and she was my first purchase. I was a beginner back then and Marie as I like to call her was a itty bitty thing. I had no clue that she would grow so wide and tall ! Oops! Live and learn. After she blooms each year I have to prune her back. Even though deciduous, viburnums have a lovely framework that looks attractive when not in leaf.
My next purchase was an Olga Mezzitt rhododendron. I love it's cheerful pink blooms in April and the fact that it is very hardy for the Chicago winters.
I know a lot of people will disagree with me or say oh those evergreens ( Japanese yews ) are as common as spit. I HATE them. Well I love the particular cultivars that I have - Taxus x media 'densiforma.' It reaches about 4 feet in height and 6 in width unless you give it a haircut every now and then ( they grow slowly ). I don't mean shape it - I like mine to look very natural. And so I used two of them. I heard a lecture by an well-known English garden writer and he said that Americans don't know how to properly use Yews in their gardens and don't use them enough. I was the only one who begged to differ. The English love the Yew and use them liberally, not all pushed together and poodled to death.
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Notice that the placement of the shrubs next to thepergola block the entire view of the garden and the pathway creates an inviting walk.
On the left is my Chinese Wisteria Standard next to the fence. Next to it are the Oakleaf and Limelight hydrangeas. I also have a Pink 'Knockout' rose in that area, as well as ornamental grasses near the pond.
In the narrow bed on the right I have a wonderful Forysthia, Dwarf Magnolia and Rose of Sharon.
All of the abovementioned plants provide year round interest and structure in my garden.
Next : The fillers.