Tag Archives: pieris japonica

Blood and Sweat … lots of both!

I’ve been working on my landscape like a crazy lady this Spring. I have fairly large landscape beds all around the house. So far I’ve put down 100 bags of mulch with one more big bed yet to go. I also just finished putting in a new 5′ x 24′ bed which required just under 1000 lbs of top soil to raise the level so it would slope away from the home.

Backyard - long view

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This photo is of my back yard. The spruce and viburnums have been in about 10-12 years as has the pear tree on the right. It’s now taller than the 2nd story windows. The variegated winter creeper (front) is providing shade and hiding the AC unit.

privacy screening

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maintenance-free landscaping

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The east side landscaping was selected to be fairly maintenance-free since it’s furthest from the faucet. My son-in-law, who is a supervisor at a landscape firm, suggested the Olentangy limestone boulders to block erosion of the slope. They were costly but really make a dramatic statement. He scored points with his mom-in-law with that idea! The white shrub is a dappled/variegated willow. If unpruned, it gets quite large – above that window behind it. Each fall, I severely cut it down. It is now in the process of growing new limbs.

colorful perennials

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A few years ago, I had the builder-provided landscaping removed from the front and all new plants installed. They’ve grown quite a bit since then, plus I’ve added some perennials on my own. The red/green shrub is pieris japonica. The light green plant to the right is bee balm. It will get about 3ft tall with brilliant scarlet flowers. It only looks good for the 3-4 weeks that it blooms then it needs to be cut down. It spreads like crazy, so I’ve divided it and planted some elsewhere for the hummingbirds. Toward the top of the photo are three white phlox that also get tall and contrast nicely with the bee balm.

large barberries

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The west side has large plants to deflect the effects of weather on this side. In between the large barberries are green/white striped ornamental grasses that grow to about 6 ft with draping fronds.

new landscape bed

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Ninebark Coppertina

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My last project was to build a bed along the back of my home (above) (the brown “thing” by the tree is Murph). I am unfamiliar with two of the plant types so am anxious to see what they do. On each end of the bed are Coppertina Ninebark which can grow 8-10 ft and 6 ft wide. They are to get a brilliant bronze-red in the summer.


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The other plant is Ligularia. It will have very dark black-purple leaves then in summer grows tall daisy-like yellow-orange flowers. It will be about 30″ tall and hopefully contrast well with the Ninebark and the white Butterfly Bush in the middle.



If all goes as planned, the Ninebark and Butterfly Bush should grow up to the bottom of the windows. The only project left to do is to add a deck … so I can relax and enjoy the view!

backyard screening

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BTW, last summer I attended a neighborhood picnic. I was asked where I lived. When I told the person, she said, “Oh, you’re the lady with the landscaping!” I guess there’s worse things to have neighbors call you. 🙂

A bright welcome for hummingbirds

Do you like to feed hummingbirds? In addition to providing the sugar-water in feeders, there are several plants that they like as well. The plants have tubular flowers and usually are red in color.

Last summer I planted Bee Balm. It didn’t grow much during the summer and didn’t flower at all. However, this spring it came up over a much larger area and grew and grew and grew! It finally flowered this week and I love it. The tiny birds seem to like it as well.
bee balm
I only purchased one plant from the nursery. That small plant became the 2-foot round display in the above photo. It’s about 3-foot tall. I may have to divide it next spring if it spreads too much. Not visible yet in the photo below, are three white phlox plants that will soon provide a nice contrast. In the days since I took this photo, even more flowers have opened up and it’s proving to be a very showy plant. So far, I really recommend it.

perennial plants

The plant in the foreground is a Pieris Japonica which is an interesting evergreen plant that constantly changes color. New leaves start out red then change to green. In the fall, leaves turn bronze. Lily-of-the-valley style flowers bloom in the spring.

Spring Landscaping Ideas

pierus japonicusIf you’re making some landscape plans this spring and would like an interesting plant, I recommend the “Lily of the Valley” shrub (Pieris japonica). It’s colorful year-round and is ever-changing its colors. New leaves are burgundy and contrast nicely with the light-green older leaves. Year round it has flower fronds that resemble lily-of-the-valley flowers.

The plant in the photo is near my front door so it’s easily seen. The way it looks now is pretty much the way it looked all winter long – although our winter was very mild. If you click on the above botanical name link, you can read more details on Monrovia’s website.

Spice ViburnumOther plants that I’m really enjoying – and also in the front yard near the sidewalk – are Spice Viburnums. The flowers have been open a few days now but they’ll soon go away. As the name indicates, the flowers are a very spicy fragrance, similar to a hyacinth. I recommend putting the plants where you will be able to enjoy the fragrance. Around a patio would be perfect, since the shrubs also provide a nice screen.

Eventually small berries appear where the flowers were, but the birds will soon clean them off the branches. I have a bird feeder nearby, so the birds love to use these shrubs as quick cover because they’re so dense. The shrubs in the photo are about 4-ft tall and are several years old – so they’re slow growers. A word of caution … rabbits like to eat the lower leaves and will stand on their hind legs to do so!

There are several varieties of viburnums but the flowers on other types aren’t as fragrant. I have three leather-leaf viburnums in the backyard for high screening. They’re much larger plants and faster growing, but the flowers aren’t very fragrant. The berries are larger and the birds REALLY like them. The rabbits eat the bottom leaves on those plants as well. Wascally Wabbits!