TheLorax
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The photo of your home helps a lot! All of the trees I suggested are simply too big. You have an adorable home that should stand out and every tree I suggested is going to be too big.

I'm not surprised to learn your home faces northwest. In looking back, you posted a photo that indicates the area is getting a healthy amount of sun. Good for you, you won't be nearly as limited.

The western exposure of my home is much easier to work with however it has its limitations too.

I personally like evergreens because they provide birds with much needed shelter. I've been planting Pinus resinosa, P. banksiana, and P. strobus here. None of which will work for you but I love them and have been planting them in one particular area of our yard about 80' from the house to multi-task for me. I wanted a wind break to hopefully help reduce some of our utility costs some day and those species will work well once the trees I have planted establish so I can fill in with other species to that area. Cone bearing evergreens provide food in addition to shelter. I do have some very nice lower growing evergreens at the beginning of my driveway. Another area I need to work on so it's sparse down there.

I see a fireplace chimney on the right side of your home. Any way you can plant a vine to run up that or is the area paved for your driveway?

Need some time to think about this but there are a few more Viburnum cultivars and also several critter magnet shrubs that are now screaming at me to suggest so you can look them up to see what you think.

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brian
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Location: Ontario, Canada

Hi there,
I was wondering what you know/think about hibiscus syriacus, do you think something like that would work in this location. I was also leaning towards putting in two cedars or similar in a dwarf type that will stay below the windows if they are maintained. If I do that then I would need something colourful in a ground cover in front of them. What do you think? God bless and have a great day, Brian :D
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brian
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 9:21 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Oh yeah I almost forgot, I saw a picture of an oriental red japanese maple and it was beautiful, can these be kept small through pruning and shaping? O r is that a dumb tree question? :oops:
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MaineDesigner
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Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b

Brian, I'm going to deal with your questions in kind of scattered order. In response to several of your questions it would really help to know when direct sun hits that area.

First, regarding Japanese maples if you can find an Acer palmatum var dissectum with a very low graft height you should be able to keep it below the window but those are not always easy to find. They may be marginally hardy in your area in your area but if they are so low that they will have snow cover that would help. The sun situation is not ideal for Japanese maples, they do better with AM sun going into shade in the afternoon.

Cedars, actually they are not true cedars, want 2/3 to full sun. Unless the light gets there very early in the afternoon I don't think you have enough light for "happy" cedars. Ditto Rose of Sharon. With some some minor exceptions that are not really germane here the only needled evergreens that will fairly readily break new growth on old wood are yews and hemlocks. That ability is important if you are trying to keep the shrub/tree a confined size.

Ground cover recommendations would also be greatly assisted if we knew how much direct light that spot gets. My knee jerk impulse is epimediums but that is partly because I love epimediums and they are adaptable. They are subtle rather than most peoples sense of colorful.

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brian
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Location: Ontario, Canada

Brian, I'm going to deal with your questions in kind of scattered order. In response to several of your questions it would really help to know when direct sun hits that area
The area gets direct sun from 3:00 pm to 7:30 pm or maybe a bit later as the days grow longer
The sun situation is not ideal for Japanese maples, they do better with AM sun going into shade in the afternoon.

This was just a thought
My knee jerk impulse is epimediums but that is partly because I love epimediums and they are adaptable.
I will look these up , thankyou so much for the info, God bless, Brian :D
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MaineDesigner
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Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b

More scattered thoughts about possible ground covers:
Epimedium these still strike me as a good choice
Polygonatum a taller ground cover but another personal favorite
Geranium macrorrhizum or maybe G. phaeum
Some grasses might go - maybe Deschampsia*
Ditto some ferns - maybe Dryopteris would be a viable option
Hosta maybe
There also are number of bulbs that should work

with more substantial reservations:
Convallaria majalis Lily-of-the-Valley
Lamium
Viola

*not strictly a grass but Luzula, Woodrush, might be a possibility. TheLorax may have other good suggestions for ferns and grasses, sedges and rushes.

TheLorax
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You asked about rhododendrons. There are Northern Lights out there that might do quite well in that area. The one that comes to mind for you with the white trim on your home would be Rhododendron "White Lights". It’s deciduous and would grow to somewhere around 4-5’.

Hibiscus syriacus has become a weed down here. Don’t know that it would be a weed up by you or not though. I had received some in a plant exchange and have since destroyed them when they began re-seeding into a natural area on my property.

Japanese maples I sure do like a lot but have very little experience with them.

Convallaria majalis might do too well by you. That one is the European Lily of the Valley and it’s documented as being an invasive species-
https://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=COMA7

Since you have considerably more light, I think you might want to check out Rhus aromatica ‘Grow-Lo’. Neat plant that I have growing in full sun as well as in part sun and it’s doing equally well in both locations. The size might lend itself to front spots in your bed. Some refer to it as a ground cover. Scratching my head at that one.

Buxus spp. (Boxwood) might be worth checking into for the area directly in front of your windows. They seem to be bombproof and tolerant of full sun to part sun. Many cultivars available and most have low growth habits and you can whack at them with wild abandon.

Another plant I think might be a great performer would be Ceanothus herbaceous. It’s sold down here under the synonym of C. ovatus so look it up both ways. Height of about 2.5-3’ on that one.

Backing up to viburnums a little bit, there’s a ‘Chicago Lustre’ out there that might tickle your fancy. Nice height of only about 8’ . There are too many viburnum cultivars to list and I really think a regular old Viburnum trilobum cultivar would do very well out front and most of those would be in the same height range of the ‘Chicago Lustre’. I’m personally looking for ‘Hahs’ but I have 'Bailey Compact', ‘Wentworth’, and ‘Alfredo’ here. All are exceptional plants.

Corylus americana is a plant I like to toss in whenever I can. It fruits at around 5-6 years and many species of birds love and depend upon the hazelnuts for survival. I like its delicate blossoms in spring.

Many shrubs can attain decent heights and can work like a tree in confined spaces. I am particularly fond of multi stem forms.

Epimediums I don’t grow. Like the looks of them and think they are a good suggestion. I don’t see them out and about so why not try a few? Experiment. If they get weedy for you, waste them. I can’t see them doing that up that far north though.

I share MaineDesigner’s substantial reservations regarding Lamium. Aside from that, it makes me itch and I get hives up my arms when I remove it. I’ll plant Poison Ivy before I’d plant that. At least Poison Ivy benefits migrating birds. And yes, I leave a few Poison Ivy plants on my property specifically for the birds but I’ve got much more space than you and certainly am not suggesting you use that on your trellis.

Speaking of that trellis, I now believe you might be able to have luck with a Clematis.

Awww gee thanks MaineDesigner ;) Grasses, sedges, and rushes are by far my weakest area. I am familiar with quite a few that are indigenous to where I garden, some of the most common that are regional wetland species, and sort of so so with tall grass prairie grasses. I have been taught how to key them out and it just isn’t sinking in for me. They really all start looking alike to me after a while. When I determine which species I want, I purchase them from reputable nurseries that I am counting on to have provided me with the proper plant. I have great success propagating grasses and sedges but after that I’d be doomed. Ferns I am fair to midland with. Have done some spore propagation with them and have used them on my property here. In order to make suggestions, I’d have to know if grasses even appeal to you or not and mind you… my suggestions will be very limited.

Spring ephemerals are always a great choice. What I like best about them is that you can plant other species to grow up through them to continue the show through the growing season.

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brian
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Location: Ontario, Canada

Thank you both once again for all of the information. It willl take me a little while to researh all of the suggestions you made and then I will get back to you. I am going to hit some garden centres and tree farms in my area to see what is available but at least I feel like I am a tiny bit more knowledgeable and will be able to tell the difference between staff that know what they are talking about and those who don't. Thanks again and have a great day! God Bless, Brian :D
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