Tonight we present you with yet another episode of "Looking back on how John f'ed up in the garden this year":
I have a garden design dilemma.
Whenever I am planning a garden around an entrance way (and by "planning" I mean, planting without thinking) , I feel the need to "frame" said entrance or "bookend" the entrance with the same tree/shrub. It seems like the only viable option if I want the garden to look balanced and in sync.
I've done this successfully in the past, but quite often, the strategy backfires. And looking back on this year, it failed miserably.
Example #1 - Below, you'll see that there is a Hibiscus 'Kopper King' to the left of the landing that looks OK, but the one on the right ... not so much:
Obviously, it makes the entrance way look completely out of balance, but I had no choice because the Hibiscus on the right was brutally destroyed/chowed down on in early summer:
So "a chopping" I went:
The obsessive part of me could not handle how this looked while hanging in the backyard, so I eventually moved both of the Hibiscus to another part of the yard. I figured I could survive this tragedy knowing that the back deck was still "framed" by the two large arborvitae (more on that in a few).
Example #2 - Below is a photo of the entrance from my driveway to the backyard. In a moment of panic (why I don't recall) I planted two Caryopteris 'Sunshine Blue' at the front of this entrance. Once again, you can see that the shrub on the left gave up and threw in the towel once it hit three inches in height:
Yet the one on the right thrived:
Example #3 - Remember the aforementioned Arborvitaes? Well that didn't work out so well either.
Here they are looking OK late in the summer:
And then one got hit by the dreaded bagworm:
Losing the Arborvitaes may be a blessing in disguise but that is besides the point.
Even if the plants chosen to frame an entrance survive and thrive, if one is larger or fuller than the other, it can defeat the purpose of attempting to frame in the first place. It's a roll of the dice that they will develop and grow together in perfect harmony.
That is why I am going to attempt to NOT match "like plants" in these examples above next spring. I will still attempt to frame, but with varying plants and a little creativity. Hopefully it will still look and feel similar, without having to be the perfect match. Does that even make an ounce of sense?
Feel free to offer up advice, we are always accepting feedback free of charge.