Along one side of our property there is a narrow strip of land between the house and our neighbors' properties. There isn't much room to do a whole lot of gardening (or so I originally thought) and this side of the house felt exposed when we bought our home in 2007. This is how it looked a couple years ago just after I planted a short row of hemlocks as a privacy screen:
And this is how it looks today:
You can't even see the hemlocks now. I planted the crape myrtles in between each hemlock. We later lost two of the hemlocks then I replanted one then promptly lost it. The two that remain are doing great now. They get protection from the summer sun by the fast growing crape myrtles. In the winter we'll have evergreen color on the border. I added the stone border a couple years ago and began planting the 'Longwood Blue' caryopteris. With the exception of 4-5 plants (and some of those are in other gardens) most of the caryopteris came from cuttings.
The crape myrtles all came from seedlings or cuttings. The light purple ones were seedlings that sprung up in my parent's yard from their neighbor's crape myrtle trees. The watermelon colored crape myrtles were from cuttings. Had I been thinking at the time I would have color coordinated the trees better, but they still look good as a mix! I enjoy crape myrtles for their fast growing abilities and their natural beauty when grown as a tree. Many people lob the tops off the crape myrtles when pruning which will completely eliminate the beauty of the mottled tan and brown bark that appears on older trees (see Crape Murder or How a Crape Myrtle Should Be Pruned). Plant breeders have now developed smaller dwarf crape myrtles for those gardeners who prefer their crape myrtles as shrubs - much better than committing Crape Murder!
It's amazing how fast a garden can transform!
Labels: Border Garden, crape myrtle, shrubs, trees