she who keeps this diary

24 January 2006 - 12:11 PM


I have, in all likelihood, much too long a list of wants, most of which are unfulfillable.

But here is a simple want. I want a shrub. Actually I want a pair of them, but if I know what sort of shrub I'm looking for, finding more than one is usually the easy part.

It is, of course, not just any old shrub I want; it has to have certain characteristics. The brace of shrubs I want are to go in the two pots which flank my front walk. I am tired of cycling through pansies-begonias/impatiens-dead on a seasonal basis with the pots, and so I am seeking hardy shrub life. Here is what I want my shrubs to be:

dwarf (ideally no more than 3 feet at maturity)
suitable for planting in a container
shade tolerant (which is to say, it will do well in the same light conditions impatiens and begonias like)
upright in habit (so that I might plant, say, impatiens about its feet in the summer, or perhaps an ivy to drape down the pot)
low-maintenance (meaning that while I'm happy to do a bit of work to keep it tidy, I'm not looking for a topiary project or anything that requires artifice to keep it alive)

Now I know there are some boxwood cultivars which fit this description and I've nothing against box. I'm just hoping for a wider selection of choices.

I don't want those dwarf Alberta spruces, which remind me of a styrofoam cone rolled in that flocking stuff model railroaders use to imitate grass. I need this shrub to strike a balance between formality (I have a hopeless preference for formal gardens) and lack thereof (let's face it, my 1974 cedar-sided split level is not Versailles). The dwarf spruces manage to look too formal and too fake. A little web scouting suggests Juniperus communis 'Compressa' might be a good choice, but I don't know that I've ever seen one in a local nursery. Of course I haven't been looking specifically for such things, so I could well have walked past legions of them.

Anyone know any good shrubs?

verso - recto

The WeatherPixie

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