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Need bush suggestions for beginning project

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

I bought an investment house, remodeled, and moved in my elderly (85) mother last month. The front yard is well on the way, but the back is packed dirt, beautiful old 200-year old trees and a massive deck. There's little room for a true grass lawn, so I've decided to do paths and gardens all the way...let the grandkids play in the huge front yard! ;-)

I'll post pictures soon. I decided to go ahead and post this to MAKE me take pics of the ugly back yard so I have my "befores" for later.

I need help deciding what bushes to plant. I know of shade-loving flowers...just need help with bushes....the bones of the yard. There are NO bushes around the deck nor around the perimeter of the yard. And this house is 20 years old!! Being a gardener, I can't understand people who can't afford to buy at least one bush a month and plant it! Oh, well....

Thanks for suggestions for shade-loving (abiding?) bushes.


Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

This was the front of the house with 2 huge, overgrown Texas sage bushes...that's all they had. Those got ripped out (sage gets leggy and gappy if you don't drastically trim) and I redid this bed last summer. I amended the soil, continued the stone edging, and placed a new bed where there had been a deck right up next to the foundation...so...no bushes next to the house, which I hate.

Thumbnail by Connie_G
Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Oops...this pic didn't send.

Thumbnail by Connie_G
Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

This is the beginnings of a new shed I added for gardening tools, etc. This is my brother, who did all the work for me. You can see the neighbor's huge tree in the back. I have 2 like this (liveoaks) and 3 more that lose their leaves in winter. LOTS of shade.

This message was edited Jan 26, 2013 11:46 PM

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Somewhere in, MD(Zone 7b)

Good morning Connie! I guess I'll wait for pics of the area of the back yard where you want to put the bushes, but while I'm here, how many are you thinking of, and about what size are you thinking of? (height and width?) One shrub that comes to mind that I absolutely ADORE is the Otto Luyken (aka: Schipp Laurel, Prunus Laurocerasus ). You can read about them here: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/100667/

They tolerate a wide range of sun/shade conditions: We have them growing at work in FULL shade, and I have them growing in front of my house in FULL sun. In both instances they are thriving really well. In the Spring they have loads of gorgeous white flowers that the bees flock to... one thing to consider when thinking about proximity to the house; don't want to plant anything too bee-friendly too close to the house with Mamma popping outside onto the deck. < =/

Looking forward to more pictures and info so we can help you decide! =)

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Connie, I have some nice Golden Accubas, two different kind in the shade, they are slow growing, but it is a sturdy plant, nice leaves.

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Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

You need to consider your heat in the summer when planning this too.


Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

I'm trying to get pics to my computer from my iphone without uploading all 3000 of them! My "delete pics already copied" does not seem to work! Anyhow...

speediebean: LOVE the Cherry laurel idea. I'm going to see if I can find some at one of the big boxes here in Austin. I've used their plants for about 15 years and am very happy with all I buy.

kiseta: I also love the colors in the plant you suggested. Need to check and see if it freezes.

postmandug: BOY, how right you are. But then, I'm a waterer...so that might make all plants work that would otherwise not... ;-)

Here's what I've bought and put in thus far...

12 e japonica/ loquat/ Japanese plums along back fence (copied the idea from the Texas Governor's Mansion grounds, which were just totally replanted due to our fire ;-( ...I'm a docent there)

7 silver leaf bushes...can't remember the real name...backs of leaves are silver

5 conical junipers (also along the back fence...in the half-moon area)

3 fragrant tea olive trees

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Kiseta, I just went to the plant files and didn't find golden accuba! Does it have a different name?

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Hi Connie, I guess I always used my way of naming the bush, but it is Aucuba , the correct spelling, I have found it on Google. If you checked it out, they have lot's of pictures of it. Sorry, hope this helps. Etelka

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Speedie: I'm intrigued by your recommendation of Prunus laurocerasus Otto Luyken - Dwarf English Laurel. Is it easy to propagate? I am on the hunt to plant a lot of shrubs this year, and it would be great if I could just buy one and then take stem cuttings to make some babies.... I was to keep a handle on the costs!

Somewhere in, MD(Zone 7b)

Oh goodness gracious, I'm sorry I'm late about answering this question Happy!!! Yes, Otto Luykens are very easy to propagate from cuttings. You'd want to use a seed starter mix and some rooting hormone to dip the cuttings in. Make sure your mix is very moist but not drippy. Poke a pencil-sized hole in the mix, dip your cutting in the rooting hormone, drop it into the hole, and firm the mix around the cutting. Keep it in a warm bright spot (but not in direct sunlight), keep the soil moist but not soggy, and in about 4 weeks, give it a tug to test for roots. Should be ready to transplant in about 6-8 weeks.

Personally, I'm going to try my own test on one of my laurels later this summer -- end of summer/beginning of Fall. I plan to take a cutting or 3 from one of mine and just directly stick 'em down into my loamy soil, water, and hope for the best. < =D (I'm lazy and tend to think positively) ;) ... and I'm also very forgetful. HA!!

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)


Somewhere in, MD(Zone 7b)

You're welcome, and again, I'm so sorry for being so late to answer this! I think I mentioned something about being forgetful.... ;)

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