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M.Clark
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Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:30 pm
Location: Grand Rapids, MI

Landscape design, 1890’s style.

I am in the process of trying to figure out a landscape design plan for my 120 year old Victorian and want to try to make the front and sides of the house look similar if not the same as they did back in the late 1890’s.

After talking with some local historians in the area, they gave me a list of plants that were commonly used during the time period. Most of these were not a surprise and including hydrangea, hockey suckle, viburnum, lilac, cotoneaster, spirea, ivy, and a hand full of flowering perennials. One also mentioned wisteria.

Does anyone have any links that might be helpful regarding placement of these around houses? I have an interesting situation in that the front of my house is almost total shade. It is a very tall north facing wall and is only about 20 feet from the sidewalk. It would make a great landscape bed though.

bullthistle
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Location: North Carolina

All the plants you named are deciduous except for a variety of viburnum and in order to bring the house into scale, which they did not do in the late 1900's, you will need some evergreens that gain some height so your landscaping looks three dimensional. I am surprised they did not include Rhodys or azalea or spruce but then historians are not horticulturists either.

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M.Clark
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Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:30 pm
Location: Grand Rapids, MI

Over the weekend, a friend was cleaning out a bunch of plants from his yard and gave me two very large rhododendrons and to very small ones that had rooted themselves. I planted the two larger ones along a fence line that is empty other than a few very tall maple trees and the two smaller ones in the front of the house.

As for the dimension question, that is interesting that you mentioned that. I already have a full size blue spruce that is on a corner, a flowering crab that is in quite a bit of shade, and the rest of the front yard is in dense shade. Because the door is actually on the side of the house, the very middle of the front of the house is a blank wall that extends about 35 feet into the air before any trim/ detailing starts. Difficult part is the gas line runs right up to that spot, through the center of my front lawn, preventing anything that will require deep roots.

I also planted wisteria vines along the back fence line which is full sun and will someday put a pergola back there with benches.

cynthia_h
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It might also be helpful to read up on Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932), an "influential British garden designer," according to Wikipedia. The period you're trying to emulate would be at the height of her influence.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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tomf
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Location: Oregon

Do not plant ivy it is a bad weed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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