show is a follow up visit to the Asheville, North Carolina
yard we're landscaping this year. Earlier in the year we
visited with the homeowner and Alfie the gardener, who will
be implementing the landscaping plan for this yard, and
discussed problems with this yard and reviewed Dr. Rick's
landscaping plan. Alfie has worked wonders and still has
more improvements to go. We'll review some changes he's
made thus far.
Alfie has created a path from the back of the house around
connecting with the front sidewalk. He has used two striking
one a red color the other black. The path goes in front
of the Azaleas
discussed before. The contrasting colors show the difference
pathway and bedding areas.
Alfie has saved the old Azaleas, moved some from other locations
added new Azaleas. They were in a straight line during our
According to our landscape plan the bed lines are out from
the house and they have a nice out-curve. By placing the
Azaleas in a large massed bed they make a much more dramatic
statement. You can see the difference between the old plants
and new, but by the end of the summer with fertilization,
water and care they should all match nicely.
Alfie shows us how he moved the old Azaleas. Since the best
time to move them would be late fall, early winter and because
he knew it might be some time before the move was completed
he took steps to reduce the transplant shock. He went all
the way around the Azalea, then trimmed it back to the drip
line about 12"-18" from the base, and cut the
roots with sharp clean cuts. He did not dig under the plant,
leaving those roots intact. This encourages feeder roots,
the lateral roots, to bunch up around the root ball and
absorb moisture and nutrients and encourage root growth.
It also makes moving the plant easier. Alfie used a high
phosphorus liquid fertilizer, a 15-30-15, which encourages
root growth and provides needed nutrients to the Azalea.
This was done in the spring, so the nitrogen didn't interfere
with the blooming. To now move the plant we'll cut the roots
underneath, place burlap underneath, lift it and move it.
We'll add soil amendments and the Azalea should not know
its' been moved.
Dr. Rick gives us an update. A lot of research has been
that tells us whether a plant will thrive, make it, barely
make it or
bite the dust. The number one criteria for survival is matching
plant to the site. Number two is the plant health during
does it have a healthy root system, is there stored energy
near the stem base, is the plant ready to deal with the
rigors of establishment. And number three is what happens
during establishment? Establishment is essentially intensive
care time for your plant, it's the time it takes
for the plant to feel at home in the new landscape site.
takes 6-8 weeks but that depends on the size of plant. Smaller
establish more quickly than larger plants. During establishment
important. Established plants like deep and through watering.
plants, on the other hand, don't have a developed root system,
they need to be watered lightly and frequently. If the soil
dries out and the root system dries out on a regular basis
the new young little roots, the root hairs won't establish
themselves and it will shock the plant. So use
small amounts of water almost on a daily basis. This is
important if there is heavy clay soil, since clay soils
wick the water
away from the plant. A coarse mixture of pine bark will
also pull water
away from plants roots. So water lightly and frequently
with new plants.
Fertilization is also helpful in establishing the plant.
is placing fertilizer on top of the soil. As the fertilizer
slowly percolates down the root system, the roots will grow.
Many gardeners add fertilizer to the soil when planting,
that is not a good idea. It could burn the roots but even
more importantly, roots in the south grow laterally, the
fertilizer could miss the roots.
Alfie has done a lot of bed prep for the seasonal color,
attractive bed lines. The flowers have presented a challenge
there is a range of sun to shade. The annuals were put close
house so people on the porch or inside the house could enjoy
them. From the street it draws your eye to the front of
the house. The colors and plants are fabulous, very eye-catching
and have a very different
texture. They're refined, delicate, even elegant Alfie selected
that matched the house and they're intricate plants that
need to be
viewed up close. To prep the beds Alfie used a garden soil
and tilled it
in with existing soil about 50 -50. That gave him the extra
raise the beds so they can be better presented and this
allows the beds
to drain well. The garden soil has bark, starter fertilizer
manure. Most of the plants are sterile hybrids, which means
turn to seed, and will continue to bloom. They are new varieties
have been tested in this country and around the world to
ensure success. Armesia, Candy Girl is one plant, low maintenance,
just dead head. A perennial Oxalis, Alva, has little white
flowers, does well on the edge of shade, but can take some
direct light. Lungwort or Pulmonaria spreads and has a nice
clumped, drifting area. It draws attention to dark corners,
it has a variegated leaf with a pattern. It is a nice alternative
to Hosta. Raspberry Splash has a cluster of spike like
flowers on top. Heuchera, Purple Petticoats is new and unusual.
Foam Flower contrasts well with the dark mulch. Tiarella,
Heronswood Mist, is
variegated and helps woodland plants connect with the rest
of the garden. Alfie has planted these plants in a natural,
informal way. Nothing in a straight line, more like what
you would find in the woods.
These are low maintenance plants, don't require pruning
or clipping and
are insect or disease resistant.
Both trellises and an arbor have been added to provide privacy.
arbor is welded steel, strong enough to hold heavy vines,
enough to be airy and doesn't dominate the area. On the
arbor Alfie has
put Wisteria. The Wisteria was here before, and provides
screen from the alley and street. The Wisteria is a fast
grower and has
been wound around the Arbor. In three or four weeks it's
half of the arbor. It is in full sun, which helps growth
thinks that it will quickly and completely cover the arbor.
placed a trellis nearby to screen the hillside. The trellis
a lot of space but provides an effective screen. The trellis
is also a
steel frame, but to make it stronger he's driven 18"
of steel pipe or
PVC pipe into the ground. This will keep erosion or wear
and tear from
weakening them over the years. Again he has Wisteria on
Wisteria is a naturalized plant and in some places it has
The beauty to these locations for Wisteria is that it can
be pruned with
hedge trimmers several times a year and kept in its' place.
sprouts may grow around the plant, trim them and it should
Alfie has taken the area with exposed tree roots, and the
hill, before a
barren waste land, and made it attractive. The steep hill
like a waterfall. He broke up the soil as much as possible,
soil and again added lawn soil (in spots as much as five
inches) to somewhat level the area. He then seeded with
grass seed. At
one point he had to cover the area with burlap but roots
are now taking
hold and erosion shouldn't now be a problem. It is looking
and green. One question Dr. Rick often receives is can you
and if so how much soil or other material can be placed
on top of roots. The answer is 4-5 inches, but it needs
to be well drained, so it doesn't rot the roots. This allows
you to plant something on top of the roots. It's best to
incorporate whatever you put on top of the soil into the
there isn't a layering effect. In this yard, the roots are
with one exception and those roots don't get hit by a lawnmower.
lawn now acts like a giant sponge and now longer is there
One of the things Alfie did to encourage growth in this
area was to limb
up the trees. He took four or five limbs off the tree, this
more light and takes less water. It creates high shade and
area a better place to grow plants.
Alfie has done a wonderful job. We'll be back in several
weeks and review the progress in another part of the yard.
We'll then return in a month or so to check on the job when
Citizen :: Southern Gardener
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