The Q&A Archives: Suggestions for replacing bushes and a tree?

Question: My husband and I just pulled out the 21 year old yews we had in the front of our house under the living room windows. Our house faces the Northwest. We want to put something else there that will be hardy and durable with snow falling off the roof in the winter time. I'd like to have something with color all year and is low maintenance.
We also pulled out a crab apple tree on the west side of our house. The area gets late afternoon sun/shade. It's on the side of our garage and our neighbor's dining room windows are there. I'd like to put something in to look nice, again, low maintenance or no maintenance. I was thinking of ornamental grasses to put in there. I have some ageratum (? spelling) around where the tree was and would like to fill it in to look appealing.
Any suggestions would be wonderful.
Thank you.

Linda Rektorski

Answer: A few of the shrubs you might choose from include Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis) which grows 4-8' tall and 2-3' wide. It produces clusters of small blue or blue-purple flowers from late summer into autumn; gray-green foliage; light brown seedheads can add mild interest in winter. Burkwood Daphne (Daphne x burkwoodii) is another outstanding shrub. It grows 4-7' tall and 3-5' wide. Small fragrant flowers (pink in bud, but white upon opening) in spring; blue green summer foliage; small red berries in summer. A final suggestion is Glossy Abelia (Abelia x grandiflora). It grows 5-9' tall and 3-5' wide with pale pink (almost white), funnel-shaped flowers from June-frost. Cultivars: 'Compacta','Sherwoodii' and 'Sunrise' are all smaller versions, growing only 3-4' tall.

Ageratum is beautiful but is an annual so you'd need to replant each spring. Ornamental grasses are typically perennial and for the most part carefree except for annual cutting back to remove the dead foliage. Sedums are a natural for sunny sites and they are easy to maintain. Sedum 'Lynda Windsor' has dark purple fleshy foliage accompanied by large heads of hundreds of tiny flowers that bloom June through September. Grows 15-20" high.

Sedum ellacombeanum (a.k.a. Sedum kamschaticum var ellacombeanum) The leaves of this species are vibrant green, forming a dense carpet on 4 inches high with bright orange fruit. It is a vigorus ground cover but is easily controlled and should not be considered a pest. Produces clusters of lemon yellow flowers and grows about 8" high.

Sedum spectabile 'Neon' This upright variety sports brilliant rosy-magenta pink flowers and light green leaves. A sport of 'Brilliant' with broader flower clusters and most consistent color. Grows 24" tall.

Hope you find just the right plants for your landscape!

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