Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Oh Dear--

Updated 5:10pm
After reading Zooza's and Anne's comments and feeling encouraged, I called to find out just how big that Thuja was I'd seen in the pot. Turns out it is about a foot and a half, "two feet at most"--and the helpful fellow also told me it grows into an "egg" shape--not a round shape. If I want round, I should be looking at 'Danica' or a 'Hetz Midget'. They turn into round ones. The moral of the story is still the same, though: I will have to "go slow." Small conifers grow slowly--it will take them 10 years to grow to maturity. (We may be able to afford the iron railing by then!)

Window shopping at the Nursery yesterday was an eye-opener. They want $30-50, per plant. The evergreen shrub I'm particularily interested in grows to 5 feet by 5 feet. (Thuja occidentalis, 'Little Giant') I know this isn't quite right: but that's about $10/linear foot.

I just called an architectural salvage place to see if they had any small sections of iron railing fencing. They do. It's $10 a linear foot (but he said I may be able to talk him down to $9).

My front property is 49 feet long across the front (not including the walkway) and 39'9" long to the sides of the house. (There's only two corners, in all that.)

So, my "plan" to do a 'transparent' fence of shrubs interspersed with lengths of iron railing is going to cost over $1,000.00

We can't do that. And I haven't even started on actual "pretty plants" yet. No wonder so many yards are barren wastelands with overgrown conifers.

See? I'm not the only one. Must have been a trend back when these houses were built, we see so many!

Where do I go from here?

I'm also becoming thoroughly discouraged at even being able to find any green "background" evergreen shrubs of a decent size (but less that 6 feet) that will grow in part shade in Zone 3. (Thuja does best in full sun and the shaggy, leggy bush in the front is a larger Thuja.)

Not sure what tack to take now.


zooza said...

Am I right in thinking Thuja is very fast growing? If that's the case, would getting one or two young plants and propogating lots of cuttings be an option?

You wouldn't be able to plant your boundary until next year, but at least it would be underway.

Still thinking on the iron railings issue...

Anne (in Reno) said...

Ok I just lost an incredibly long comment here for some reason, but I will try again: NEVER buy a full-sized shrub from a nursery when you can get a smaller one for cheaper. Gardening is a long-term project, not an instant satisfaction one, and that is especially true if you are on a budget. Go buy the smallest size Thuja you can find, say, 1-5 gallon pots, not the biggest one they sell because you're in a hurry. Spend the $ on the iron fence first as that is a big investment, then slowly fill it in with shrubberies as the budget allows. It's better to plant in fall anyways. So I'd put in a few now, a few in fall, a few next spring etc. There's no rush!

Also, Thuja apparently responds very well to shearing, so if that's what the big evergreen shrub is in front of your house, you might consider hacking it back to a reasonable size to see if it fills in, it sounds like it should no problem.

drwende said...

You've just experienced why I'm avoiding living anywhere with a yard. Landscaping effectively adds up fast.

You'll find a beautiful and effective solution, though -- you always do.

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