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New Back Garden Ready to Show

It’s been a while since I showed off my new front garden in Old Greenbelt, and finally, I can show off the back garden, too.  (Which in Old Greenbelt is called “garden side”.  In contrast to what most of us would call the front but here they call “service side”.  All related to the inner sidewalks that allow pedestrian access to everything.)

After seven months of workers and inspectors and three-jurisdiction permit purgatory, my life is at last quiet.  And here’s where I spend hours a day – on this 11 x 17-foot screened-in porch.  A bug-free place to work and read and nap, with my three indoor cats.  Heaven.

With the porch done, it was time to install the flagstone patio and walkway.  What’s left for me to do is to plant more plants, and to make enough concrete pavers to form a path to the storage shed door.   A DIY job right up my alley (no skill required).

Plants I brought from my old garden include:

  • 3 Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’
  • 2 oakleaf hydrangeas
  • 3 large Japanese Carexes
  • LOTS of the much smaller ‘Ice Dance’ Carex, which look like variegated Liriope.
  • Some Euphorbia amygdaloides, which is also evergreen and reproduces nicely.  Hope it likes its new home and does lots of that.

Plants already here that I’m using:

  • Not much, just a few ‘Emerald Gaiety’ Euonymus shown in the next photo.  It stays low and really brightens up dark spots with its evergreen green and white foliage.
  • Oh, and some plain Liriope spicata, which is so useful in preventing erosion on slopes like the one in the photo below.

Plants I bought this year for the back garden include:

  • 6 ‘Blue Maid’ hollies and one male pollinator (hopefully he’s up to the task) for screening along both property lines near the house.  They’ll grow fast to be 8-10 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide, and I love that they’re soft to the touch – more so than most hollies.
  • 3 Abelia grandiflorias along the sidewalk that will also afford fast screening, though not as high (they’ll be about 5 feet tall).  They grow incredibly fast and smell great.  Pollinators love them, too.
  • A ‘Mount Airy’ Fothergilla in a partly shady spot.  I’ve never grown one of these native shrubs and look forward to its bottlebrush-shaped flowers in the spring, and great fall foliage.  It’ll grow to 3-5 feet or so.
  • A Korean Spice viburnum, which I planted right next to my bench because when it’s in bloom I want to be close enough to it to take in its amazing scent.  It’ll stay nice and compact, at about 5-6 feet tall and a similar width.
  • A ‘Shasta’ doublefile viburnum, which is to my eye the prettiest of all viburnums.  I had a couple in my last garden and have GOT to have one here.  It’ll grow to 6-8 feet tall and 10-12 feet wide.
  • A ‘Ghost’ weigela – for its yellow-green, almost chartreuse foliage, and the fact that it’ll grow to about 5 by 5 feet, just the right size for my small garden.  I love the large old-fashioned weigelas but only have room for one of the smaller varieties, like this one.’
  • 6 lacecap hydrangeas.
  • 3 Cryptomerias (Japanese cedar), which is probably my all-time favorite conifer.  They’re not just beautiful but also soft to the touch, and grow incredibly fast even in shady spots.

More Plants Needed!
In the next two photos particularly, you see lots of bare mulch, where I’m welcoming plant suggestions, and free plants.  My former neighbors have offered me lots of Rudbeckias and Solomon’s Seal, which I’ll be picking up and planting when it cools down in the fall.  And a new neighbors has a few huge hostas she’s willing to donate divisions from if I do the dividing.  Deal!  Donated plants are great for filling in new gardens while new plants are still small, as is my budget.

The photo below points to another problem in search of a solution – how to hide the garden hose.  Whatever the solution, it has to look good AND be super-fast to use.

Posted by Susan Harris.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Love old Greenbelt and love what you’ve done with it! I am doing something similar in nearby Berwyn Heights, and I draw inspiration from what you’ve done.

  2. Hooray, the porch is finished and the garden laid out! Now begin those luxurious hours of watching and enjoying as it grows. I hope you are reaping a lot of rewards for your patience. Looks lovely, and so glad to see so many shrubs included. I’m already looking forward to pics of your fall color!

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