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5 Low Maintenance Trees and Shrubs for your Garden

Not just our ancient gardener, but we all are looking for high value from plants that are low maintenance. We have published lists of great plants and care instructions for pruning and winterizing on other posts. But today we concentrate on five trees and shrubs that require absolutely no care beyond planting and watering to give them a head start. Our guest author today is Matt Day from www.genuinegardenservices.co.uk They have a host of interesting plant advice and gardening tips articles on their blog. For further information on garden maintenance services, please contact them. Matt and his company have some beautiful suggestions for our gardens.

Having a low maintenance garden takes careful planning and so we have tried to make that a little easier by providing a good mix of trees and shrubs that require little or no maintenance. We have included as wide a range as possible to cover a variety of colors and seasons. For instance, the Japanese Maple provides a wide range of variants in both color and size. The two evergreen shrubs in the list both provide a different appearance and color to each other and winter coverage with a fragrant summer flowering shrub to attract insects. And finally a spring flowering tree with a more unusual weeping form.

 Japanese maple (Acer Palmatum)


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Japanese maple photo by jacinta lluch valero licensed under CC BY 2.0

There are many different types of Japanese maple tree. Some only grow to heights of a maximum 5 ft (1.5m) and others will grow much taller. All Japanese Maples are slow growing and require little maintenance. They can be found in many different colors to include deep reds to orange, and lime green to dark green. An example of one of the smaller variants is the Garnet Japanese maple from the dissectum group. This has deep red leaves and only grows to about 5 ft (1.5m). Japanese Maples are hardy and pruning, if required, should be carried out late winter to early spring. Pruning is not essential, but removing dead wood, or problem sections is worth doing to maintain health.

 Juniper ‘Old Gold’

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Juniper Old Gold photo by Leonora Enking licensed under CC BY 2.0

This is a very hardy, wide spreading juniper shrub which will provide dense cover. It is ideal if you are looking for something which will not grow very tall. It is aromatic and will enhance the look of your garden and add interest throughout the winter months when everything will look very bare. It has a bright moss green color. It should be planted in full sun to gain the best color shades. Its growth speed is slow and it is frost resistant and drought resistant so little care is required.

Picea pungens Globosa

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Photo of picea pungen globosa by Mark Bolin licensed under CC BY 2.0

This evergreen has more unusual coloring than many common garden shrubs. It could be used to add contrast to an area of your garden of solid color. It is often used in rockeries due to the fact it is slow growing and its maximum size is only around  3 ft (1m) tall and wide. This attractive shrub is an evergreen and will therefore contribute color to your garden all year round, even throughout winter. It is very low maintenance as it does not require pruning and is extremely hardy.

Buddleia


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Purpleness photo by tdlucas5000 licensed under CC BY 2.0

In my opinion this is a perfect choice for any garden. This is one of my favorite shrubs. It has beautiful fragrant flowers in summer. It will attract the bees and butterflies so it is great for helping to establish an insect friendly garden. It does not grow very large, so maintenance is easy. Without maintenance, this shrub will still flower and flourish and just leaving it to do its own thing is not a problem. However maintenance is advised as it is an easy shrub to prune and this will help it flourish. It is a good idea to trim it mid spring. This can prevent it from growing too high. It will also keep the buddleia in good health and encourage the best flower growth. It can grow to 6 or 9 ft (2 or 3 m) tall. It is also available in various colors to include pink and purple shades and white

Prunus Kiku-shidare-zakura – Cheals Weeping Cherry Trees


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Weeping cherry photo by Catherine licensed under CC BY 2.0


This small tree grows pink blossoms in April/May. It is an ideal choice to add spring color to your garden when your other flowers are not yet in full bloom. It is a great alternative to a standard cherry tree, and many will find its weeping form to be a more unusual and beautiful choice. As this is a small tree, it should be easy to maintain yourself with minimum effort required.

Do you have other suggestions for low maintenance bushes and trees for a home landscape?

 

One Hot Summer Day, Then Bam! Fall

It soared into the 90’s last week with no rain. Quite characteristic of most of our summers, but not for THIS summer.

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Canna lily by the vegetable garden

This summer has been mild. Beautiful, even. Almost too cool to eat dinner on the patio!

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Will the tomatoes continue to ripen at their crazy pace?

The mosquitoes didn’t populate our dinner time until last week. I usually put out mosquito repellant candles, but have not had to until last week. Everything was wonderful. Then we got one week of our normal summer.

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Dahlias everywhere

Now, it is already smelling like fall! But it has been great for gardening.

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Cosmos

I still sweat while working, but I have been able to move into the shade and cool down.

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Black eyed susan is the Maryland state flower

I have been able to dig and divide and transplant because of the moderate rain fall to keep everything hydrated: bearded iris, dutch iris, gladiolas, asters, shasta daisies, lamb’s ears, boxwood, rhododendron, hostas, grasses of all sorts, canna lilies, and Siberian iris.

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I threw a box of dahlia tubers from Sam’s Club out in the garden this spring

I have been able to dig and weed and knock the dirt off, and get rid of things I thought might be good plants but even in this cool summer have been thugs: goose neck loose strife, for example.

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We hope this bad boy ripens before the vine dies

As usual, not enough time. Just refining and redefining. Nothing major, but all beautiful.

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One honkin’ dahlia

Have you too enjoyed a mild summer? Have you had fun in your garden this summer?

Canadian Geese at Black Hill

We told you about our drive into the local countryside and a visit to Black Hill Regional Park in an earlier post. Today, I want to share with you a few photos of the park and the Canadian geese on the water, as well as some of the geese coming in for a landing.

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Canadian geese landing at Black Hill

So we heard them before we saw them, but I still wasn’t fast enough to get fully prepared to photograph them — the geese coming into the water at Black Hill Regional Park. Our neighbor behind us has a small pond, and they have Canadian geese that summer there, so we are a bit inured to their sound.

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Canadian geese 4 at Black Hill

In fact, we have a mating pair that travel together directly over our plot of ground almost every day. The neighbors that host their nest have named the female “Peggy Sue.” So we have listened to Peggy Sue gaggle about 3 years now. (The female honk sound is different from the male’s.) Their life spans range from 10 to 24 years, so  we hope to hear her and her mate for many more years.

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Canadian geese 2 at Black Hill

They are rather large birds (the Giant Canadian Goose can weigh as much as 20 lbs and span 1 m (39 in) in wing spread) and even as small flocks, form that recognizable V-shaped formation. They have come back from near extinction in the 1950’s to 4 or 5 million birds today. They are not the prized local pet that you might imagine because they leave their poo everywhere.

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Canadian geese 5 at Black Hill

Many local golf courses hire herding dogs to keep the geese off their turf for their paying patrons. I remember as a young girl going to a local restaurant and having the geese bite me (well, my hosiery). My father-in-law said they were good watch-geese, as good as dogs to keep strangers away.

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Canadian geese 6 at Black Hill

What I found most interesting was the way their feathers deform as they land. I had never seen that before. It is amazing what a photograph catches, that our eyes just don’t see when live.

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Canadian geese 3 at Black Hill

Does the honk of Canadian geese remind you that autumn is coming? Do they migrate from where you live, or do they stay year ’round?

An Ancient Gardener Aging in Place

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