For the background on this project, please refer to:
After positioning and planting all of the plant items in D & J’s front bed and realizing that something was missing, I went back to the shrub search at Selecting Shrubs for Your Home by University of Illinois Extension. J wanted something different from what we’d already planted - something with a bit of color. Our soil conditions had improved with the addition of the mulch, so with that in mind, I entered our new specifications into the search fields.
Zone - 5
Size - small/medium
Soil Condition - well drained
Color - from the choices listed, I chose ‘purple’
Exposure - full sun
Use - specimen
The search came back with four results:
- Common Ninebark
- Japanese Barberry
- Purple-Leaf Sand Cherry
On my next trip to D and J’s, I took the list of results and J and I went to the garden center. We found all four shrubs and out of the bunch, J decided to go with the Purple-Leaf Sand Cherry. We dug through a pile of the sand cherry shrubs until we found one that had multiple branches and a nice shape. Immediately upon our return from the garden center we planted the Purple-Leaf Sand Cherry. It was positioned just off-center with its best face forward. As soon as it was in the ground we knew J had made the right decision.
Here is a picture of D and J’s garden before its makeover.
And this is a picture of D and J’s garden after its makeover. Keep in mind that we left room for plants to grow and fill out.
Has J realized her dream of a maintenance-free and drought-tolerant front garden? I think we’ve gotten pretty close. She will have to water until everything is established. Most importantly though, at this point in time they are both pleased with the end result. We’ll know more next summer, and the summer after that, and the summer after that…