May 11, 2012

I See Clouds

I had visions of clouds when I planted these boxwoods under a small Japanese maple.

These four mini boxwood balls in a little line are Buxus suffruticosa, the true dwarf boxwood, and if left unpruned they will form interesting undulating mounds of tight foliage.

I was hooked by the description --- a cloudlike effect.

Yes, please,  I would like a line of cloudlike foliage bordering my Japanese maple.  I planted four round buns close together and waited to see clouds.

Just like this, which I saw at Missouri Botanical Garden a year ago last May.  I don't make these things up.  I see real examples of achievable garden designs, and want to try to do the same in my garden.

These dwarf boxwoods were indeed soft, cloudlike, undulating.

But instead of clouds, I am beginning to see a rectangular green wall.  These are merging into a solid mass and starting to look like you could sit on them.


Could I have made all three of the most basic mistakes a garden designer can make?  Did I plant these dwarf boxwoods too close together?  In too straight a line, without staggering the plants?

And to finish the trifecta of basic mistakes, did I plant too few?  Just four?  Really?

Never mind.  You may see a short straight wall of dense green blobs, but I see delightful clouds under the richly crimson 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple.


 

18 comments:

  1. Sometimes One's dream just takes a little more time to achieve. Maybe you just clipped them a little more than they did at MO Bot. Dreamy clouds are usually fluffy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa, I do need to be patient and see how these keep growing. I'm not pruning them at all, just letting the natural boxwood shape develop, cloud-like or not!

      Delete
  2. The eye of the beholder rules, you know. And, I'd guess time will cloud them up if you don't prune them. For my part, none of that matters if they have that English boxwood smell that I love (I know that smell isn't for everyone's taste).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lee, I do like the way the stiff green blobs go with the rich maple, so it makes me happy, even if I am not achieving the original goal. The smell has never been much on these. Maybe with maturity they'll have the fragrance you love, I'll have to see.

      Delete
  3. All in how you look at it

    I had the pleasure of going to what I still think of as Shaw's Gardens a couple of years ago at a family reunion-- now that was blissful! Family and a world-class botanical garden! I hadn't been since I was a tiny tad and it was interesting to reconstruct some of the views I remembered, like the reflecting lake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Larkspur, It was my first trip to MoBot, and I learned about Mr. Shaw and his sassafras grove and his work. what a place.

      Delete
  4. I love the combination of boxwoods and Japanese maple. You never know. I certainly have made the mistake of planting too close together! My dwarf yaupon hollies are similar to boxwoods and grew twice as large as predicted, and I eventually had to remove some of them. So when I planted true boxwoods in my lady garden, I made sure to plant them far enough apart to give room to grow. Now, they are taking forever to fill in!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deborah, plants are so perverse. I have had the same experience --- if I plant too closely they get much bigger than advertised. The plants I spaced far apart take forever to reach enough size. Always a challenge!

      Delete
  5. I think they look great but maybe that's because I have a similar planting in my front garden near the sidewalk!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ann, I'm glad to know you had the idea of this maple and boxwood combo too. The colors and the forms are just so good together.

      Delete
  6. What type of clouds do you want to see? Cumulus? Nimbostratus? I agree with Lisa that they might look the way you want them to if they were a little fluffier. The ones at MoBot are really close together so I don't think that's an issue. Plus, moving them would be a huge pain in the butt. I think they need time to fluff out a bit. They're very cute, like chubby puppies. I keep seeing them with floppy ears and a wagging tail. :o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tammy, oh no, now I am going to think of tail wagging chubby puppies every time I look at these boxwoods : )

      Delete
  7. Laurrie I think yours look quite nice actually. Could be my eye but it seems the growth on yours is a bit more vertically inclined than the ones at the botanical garden. Your branches seem to be growing up and theirs are growing out? Could that be how they were pruned?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marguerite, thanks. The small boxwoods at Missouri Botanical are probably a different variety, I didn't see the name. So they may just naturally have a different growth habit than my "clouds".

      Delete
  8. Is there room to add three more on the birdbath side to give the mass look you are seeking? Just a thought ...
    I agree with Lee, time and judicious but minimal pruning may cloud them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joene, I actually have a plan for expanding the little area of gravel where the boxwoods meet the maple. With expansion and redesign of the hardscape around these plants, I could definitely add 3 more boxwoods!

      Delete
  9. Hi Laurrie, I was working on a new garden bed earlier this evening and I know darn well that I am planting things too close. I know I am going to have to move a few things and maybe even edit a few out. It is a case of a sparse looking bed for the first few years or a bed that needs some adjusting. I'd rather adjust.
    I think a garden like a room should evolve with things carefully collected and arranged over a space of years. So you got it wrong the first time with the boxwood. Lots of us make the same kind of mistakes. One of the fun things about gardening is figuring out what to do about the problems.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer, there have always been two schools of thought --- plant close and edit later, or use the appropriate spacing guidelines and look at a garden for several years that is sparse. I'm probably in the first category and it sounds like you are too!

      Delete

Sorry about requiring code verification -- I experimented with turning it off to make commenting easier, and I got too much spam. Thanks for taking the time to comment, and to type in silly codes. I appreciate hearing from you.