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Garden Design: Need shrub or small tree idea for specific site

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mango61
New London, NH
(Zone 5a)

June 24, 2012
1:15 PM

Post #9178764

I'm trying to figure out what small tree (15' tall x 10' wide -- at most) or shrub/shrubs of similar height to plant at the top of a new hillside garden (which already holds peach trees, blueberries, baptisia, yarrow, chives, nasturtium, strawberries, borage, asclepias -- in other words, mostly permaculture-recommended plants). Here's what I have:

* The space available is about 7' x 10' squarish, with a little wiggle room. There is nothing at all in this spot now except dirt.
* We're newly located in zone 5a generally (by the new maps ... we are 4b until then and we might really be 4b still ... most of us can't grow buddleias here except in protected places, and redbuds are not hardy here) , at about 1,300 feet elevation above sea level. Our town gets the most snow of any of the surrounding towns in winter, and our yard in particular gets more than everyone else. We seem to be on a ridge. But this particular little spot, being over the septic field and in full sun, melts first.
* The area is over/near the septic field so the plants need to have non-invasive roots.
* Full sun.
* Some winter wind from the NW, which is an important consideration here in central NH. But the spot may be partially protected by a very large spruce tree some 15 yards away and further up the hill, and a thick raspberry patch behind that.
* The neighbouring spruce is very pyramidal in shape, so we don't want something else the same shape ... perhaps something weeping, rounded, or vase-like in habit.
* Not an especially moist spot.
* It will be seen only from a bit of a distance, so things like bark are not of interest, but overall shape is

We love the look and dappled shade of a honeylocust but the standard locust is of course way too big for this spot. That's the sort of tree we'd like, though, just smaller. (Is there a hawthorn that would work?) Other trees and shrubs we're considering, suggested at the nursery, are

Tree Hydrangea (various varieties)
Weeping Beech tree
Rose of Sharon shrubs (maybe)
some weeping/irregular evergreen trees (whose names I can't recall and which were $300)

Other/better suggestions? I really think a tree would work best here but am open to shrubs. I don't care if it flowers or whether it's evergreen.

We already have several carefree crabapples (Tina, weeping Jade) and dogwoods (Pagoda and shrub) in the yard, which I love but I don't need more of them, and I don't want another fruit tree or a ninebark, serviceberry or a euonymus. Redbuds are not hardy here. The nursery owner said no to magnolias shrubs, Japanese maple trees and several others (can't recall which) because of the winter winds.

Thanks!

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