Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mr I~ Tear Down This Hedge*

Let's imagine a sunny border in place of Hedge. I so can! It might be like this planting at a rather delightful store that sells pottery, garden accessories and brewing supplies. It's where I found the Bottle Brush Tree that came home with me earlier this week. The designer has done a great job of planting for late season bloom...and for critters! Bees of every kind were busy on the Blanket Flower and the Blackeyed Susans

But they were especially busy buzzing around the large planting of mint.
The bees were everywhere and reminded me of the extensive mint planting at the Lurie Garden in Chicago. (You can go here for a late summer or here for our Spring Fling visit.) Did you know that you can smell blooming mint on the air? It was at the Lurie Garden with it's vast mint planting that I noticed the sound of happy bees and a the hint of spearmint on the air. It was delicious! So surely any full scale sunny border would have to have a mentha or two! I'm imagining the possibilities right now...

Or, perhaps, you might enjoy this planting of Mexican Bush Sage at Cheekwood Garden...It was close to noon and with no clouds it looks even more fluorescent. Salvia leucantha is spectacular in a fall garden and it's still fall here. It was covered with bees; a buzzing frenzy.

I love the mixed border in Cheekwood's Perennial Garden
It was a lovely grouping of grasses, annuals perennials and shrubs.
A good mixture of natives and exotics.

It was a Pleasant Interlude. An October day in the middle of November~~Now, back to reality!

Tearing down Hedge and planting a sunny border is wonderful to imagine~ There is a fly in the otherwise pleasant ointment of imagining! Hedge's main job is Noise Abatement and Privacy Maintenance! Perhaps we need a very tall
holly hedge, or
a fantastic wall. I have always wanted a walled garden~~ You know, one of my favorite books was A Secret Garden. To build a wall, I would certainly need the backing of folks like the Cheeks! This wall is the official gated wall to the former home of the Cheeks~~of Maxwell House Coffee fame. Cheekwood was opened in 1960 as an art and garden center. From their mission statement~
"Cheekwood is a 55-acre botanical garden and art museum located on the historic Cheek estate. Cheekwood exists to celebrate and preserve its landscape, buildings, art and botanical collections and, through these unique means, provide an inspiring place for visitors to explore their connections with art, nature and the environment."

They do a pretty good job of it.

I want to thank Peter Robinson, one of Mr. Regan's speech writers for inspiring the post title. Thank you all for indulging my little play on words; a segue for the the garden tours....Well, we hope!

I leave you with this last photo of a tattered Autumn beauty.



  1. Whoa, Gail! Is that last gorgeous mixed border at Cheekwood?!! If so, it's obviously been too long since I was there! I love going over when I'm back home visiting, especially (I confess) to see the Christmas tree display. I enjoy the greenhouses, too, but too seldom get out into the grounds. But when I was a small child, I thought the most fascinating thing about Cheekwood was their collection of Oriental snuff bottles! As for your hedge, er, good hedges make good neighbors, and provide lots more shelter for wildlife than a wall, however imposing!

  2. My goodness, am I the first one here today? I'd better type fast before someone else hits enter:)

    Is noise abatement a big issue for you? If not, I love the idea of the sunny border of perennials, which would also give passersby a peek into your beautiful front yard, Gail. The wall at Cheekwood is gorgeous, but "there's something about a wall"....and I forget the rest of the line:) Anyway, the perennials would be so much more inviting!

    Hope you are enjoying lots of sunshine and have a great weekend!

  3. Oops, in my haste--and I wasn't first anyway--I forgot to add good luck in getting Mr. I to take down the hedge. I have several projects that require Mr. Procrastinator's help, and well...I'm still waiting:)

  4. I'd vote for the stone wall -- I love the element of stone, brick, etc. in a garden. It makes a grand backdrop for any bloom, though it would be a monumental project, I suppose. Your photos are lovely -- our weather has been so mild of late that I've actually seen some buzzy bees myself. :)

  5. Hi Gail!

    Love the blooming photos, I've been thrust into the climate of PA gray.

    I adore a plant loaded full of bees. Takes on a life of it's own. Have you ever seen Mountain Mint? Attracts more bees to it than I've ever seen a plant do. I counted 9 different pollinators at one time.

    Take care of the wee digits!

  6. That is one of my garden fantasies too, a walled garden. But, like you, I need financiers for that.
    The perennials border you showed are very lovely!

  7. Oh Mr. I, do tear down that hedge! There are so many other plant choices that would be better. But if you really want to be a great guy, build a wall like the one at Cheekwood. :-) Can't wait to see you both.


  8. OFB, Yes it's the long perennial border that over looks the field and lake. The design has greatly improved over the years! Cheekwood is fascinating, we'll have to talk about it sometime.

    Rose, I posted late! Yes, privacy and noise are both issues. Mr I doesn't care if i take Hedge down...he just want s something completely mature in its place and at very little cost! Catch22!

    Nancy, A stone wall is fantastic and completely out of our budget. But, a girl can dream!

    Donna, Those wee digits are close to having ,surgery on them...I'll find out next week!

    Rosey, They are inspiring gardens...both attended by multiple under-gardeners!

    Frances, Perhaps we need sign carrying protesters! I can sell pieces of it like they did with the Berlin Wall! Can't wait to spend time with you and The Financier!


  9. No wonder you are dreaming of a sunny border with all that inspriation. A wall would be marvelous. I love walled gardens. They are so cozy.

  10. Aw the potential that area holds is unlimited! Can't wait to see what you do with it. Looks like you have alot of inspiration... :)

  11. this is a huge task...i usually have to wait to be inspired to attack such a feat. i can see why you are admiring some of these borders...they are beautiful.
    i so need to do this in my front yard.
    the weather had been delightful these last few days. i was finally able to cut our acres yesterday without too much troubling damp areas.
    happy gardening in autumn.

  12. A stone wall would be lovely, but if that's not feasible, how about some fastigate shrubs or trees? It's too bad that most of the really nice ones are slow growers.

  13. This is why I end up with so few points on Blotanical. I end up reading all the comments, get ideas, and then find myself searching for examples on the Internet for an hour. By the time I get back to comment and Pick, I've been logged out, and a courier is at the door. Sigh.

    More to your point, Gail, there is certainly a better approach than Hedge. But do it all at once? How about if Mr. I took Hedge out in stages, so that you could interplant with something more to your liking. That would give you some noise abatement, and possibly also privacy, depending on what you chose to plant.

    Alternatively, and this is what sent me looking for examples, you could put fencing panels in the gaps, or more likely staggered back from Hedge, where you would plant climbers. They wouldn't have to be a uniform width or height. The picture below is a gate, but suggests something of the effect I had in mind:


    Yow, that's a long URL. Hope you can access it.

    Between the panels, you could eventually add taller things, like a Japanese maple, that would be prettier than Hedge, while fulfilling some of the same duties.

    Anyway. Good luck with that. It's like getting a whole new toy to play with.

  14. I do enjoy forsythias with their early spring bloom. But I can sure understand how you'd tire of so many of them Gail.

    I love the title of this post, and stand with you in solidarity that it's time to tear down the wall, er, hedge. I hope you're more successful at convincing Mr. I than I've been at convincing the Lawn Man to get rid of the huge, ugly yews in our foundation 'landscape.'

  15. Helen, That was a splendid comment and quite possibly the worlds longest url! Thankfully it was easy to copy and paste. I think your ideas are right on target! Thank you! I read the comments on other posts, too. Sometimes that's where the best action is! Gail

  16. Such a timely title with the 20th anniversary of the wall coming down! Good luck with the plans and hedge removal! I think a mixed border would be lovely too!

  17. I thing the stone wall and a sunny mixed border would be beautiful. Stone always adds such great structure to a garden. Good luck with this and keep us posted.

  18. As someone who's cut down a LOT of thicket this year, yes, by all means, get rid of the hedge! I just have to add, even though it's not relevant, that that quote of Mr. Reagan has always bugged me. Not only was Mr Gorbachev not German, and therefore had nothing to do with the building of the Berlin Wall, we was FOR ending the Cold War/opening borders (you know, glasnost and perestroika), so that was like "preaching to the choir." He .should. have said, "Mr. Honecker" (then head of East Germany, very pro-wall), "tear down this wall." (The only way Gorbachev could have been addressed properly with this would have been had Mr Reagan given him a sledgehammer and asked him to make the first hit. But Reagan said it to urge East Germany to take down the wall and he did so to the Russians.) Thank you and sorry!

  19. Beautiful gardens. Rip out those hedges.

  20. Very nice flight of fancy! I love the borders at the shop where you bought your tree and at Cheekwood's. They are beautiful.

  21. Monica, No problem...I totally understand~~gail

  22. Hi Gail! I'm sorry I've not been over for awhile... can't we get so busy?? I love what you're doing... dreaming! As long as you're not in a hurry, isn't it fun just to think of the possibilities?? Oh, Mr. Shady isn't such good help around here, either. But, I love your ideas. Keep 'em coming! Have a great weekend!!

  23. Very pretty borders! I definitely want to buy some blanket flower to add to my garden. It is very pretty in the photo. I like your Kat King...Coal. I love black cats. We used to have 2 ...Mosby and Madison :)

  24. Oh, I love the Mexican bush sage - it was so pretty all over the place near our home in California. Spokane winters wouldn't be kind to it, sigh. Lovely pictures, though.

  25. Hello there Gail girl !
    I would adore a wall garden .. totally private, muffling all annoying noises .. the ability to wander around in my pajamas without a care ! Ah to dream of that privacy .. back to reality YES ! a sunny border mixed with all of those wonderful plants : )
    I'm so sorry for that poor tattered butterfly .. hope it makes it "home" ;-)

  26. Oh no Gail! I will call you soon....

    I just wanted to comment that we are also going to be in the market for some hedge-like planting along our very long driveway here in New Hampshire. When we put a contract on this house back in September the leaves were still on the trees and we did not notice the trashy boat-dump-yard right next to our property! So at first I thought maybe a giant invasive forsythia bush but then we changed our minds - we need something EVERGREEN - so maybe giant fur trees of some kind instead...

    Love you Gail and hope your thumbs are better soon...

    xxoo Lynn

  27. Great pictures and suggestions. The combination in the flower beds give me ideas. I admit to having a one hedge on one side of my rowhome, but in the city where my neighbor's door is 10 ft from my own, it is more appropriate. The rest of my yard is viewable for all.

  28. She is a beauty and would be welcome to my garden any day.
    I had a walled garden at my last house and loved it. I still miss it now.....but space was the reason for moving and you can't have everything. Walls offer shelter for all sorts of creatures and little plants and ferns appear from the crevices.....do I sound like I miss it??
    I adored 'A secret garden'....I am just reading 'the forgotten garden'...can't remember the author and the book isn't to hand.....

    I am sure Gail that whatever you do it will be wonderful and the bees and butterflies will benefit.

    Enjoy your lovely weather....we are in the middle of a gale....pots are blown over, leaves everywhere....the rain is torrential, not good on this exposed site......

  29. Hi Gail. Love seeing the Mexican sage. Here in So. Cal.it is a common garden plant. I use it instead of putting up hummingbird feeders. It flowers when few natives bloom and the hummers just love it. We eat our breakfast on the back porch with them. Good luck with your new garden bed!

  30. Hey Gail, I'm sure you know you need to watch mint or it will take over. I do have it in my garden and love it very much. I also love the catmint, and it doesn't wander quite as much. Also have the Mexican bush sage, which sometimes overwinters here. I have a large stand, and it's done really well. If you do come to Oklahoma, I'll give you a start of each to take back home.~~Dee

  31. I vote for the wall, but they sure are expensive. Poor tattered monarch. I had one here last week too, and I don't think he'll make it to Mexico on time!

  32. Hmm yes I agree so many opprotunities to plant if you remove the hedge.

    The salvia looks lovely.

    yes I like a walled garden but prefer brick, in fact we have walls down both sides of our garden but so covered with rambling roses clematis and ivy you can hardly see the walls.

  33. I love Cheekwood and went there on my one and only Nashville visit. I was attending a horrible convention downtown and decided to play hooky. I had a much better time there than I would have doing what I was supposed to be doing.

  34. Privacy and noise abatement is key to enjoying your piece of nature.
    Poor little butterfly, hope he makes his journey.

  35. Good luck with your mighty hedge and dreams, Gail ... lots to consider ... privacy vs. sun! But your forsythia hedge looks like it might have seen its better days ... perhaps a staggering row of hemlock or arborvitae to block the street with shade plants/ferns/wildflowers to view on your side.

  36. My Franklin friend often mentions Cheekwood Garden. The mint plant is impressive and the Mexican Bush Sage even more so.

  37. I can imagine why you might want to tear down the hedge but privacy and noise abatement are to very strong reasons to keep it! A wall would be very cool though, just think of all the climbers and hanging pots you could do...

  38. These are great borders! I would love to have a stone wall as well. They make fantastic backdrops for the garden.

  39. Gail, I love the idea of a sunny border. And your examples are certainly tantalizing. But as you say, reality steps in and loss of pricacy plus the removal of said hedge makes it seem all a nice dream.

  40. So nice to dream of the walled garden with the sunny border. Your photos are great. So is your dreaming.

  41. I'd love a walled garden too Gail. Go for that! I understand Mr I tho ~ giving up privacy is hard. Especially when it takes a while to establish a replacement. It will be interesting to see what you decide.

  42. What a dilemma, Gail - guess the privacy and noise abatement would win out over the sunny place for flowers, as welcome as they'd be.

    Glad you fit some visiting and nursery strolling into your November!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  43. It was fun to follow along with the options you're exploring, Gail. This was a great follow-up to your post Hegemony. Thanks for sharing both links for the Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop this month. Have you made any progress on finalizing Hedge's replacement?


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson