This Foundation Planting Gets Better With Age

Gracing each side of the front porch are upright rosemary that is pruned but not clipped

Gracing each side of the front porch is upright rosemary that is pruned but not clipped. Accent color for the front door comes from the planters flanking the door.

Copper colored Encore azaleas fill the space under the windows across the front and on the indented corner a weeping yaupon grow stall and an emerald Snow Loropetalum is planted under it to bring the visual mass into composition with the azaleas

Copper colored Encore azaleas fill the space under the windows across the front, and on the indented corner a weeping yaupon grows tall.  An Emerald Snow loropetalum is planted under it to bring the visual mass into composition with the azaleas.

This foundation planting has been installed several years, with some plants like the weeping yaupon having been in place for many years. The common thread through the entire foundation planting is the copper flowered Encore azaleas. While the plants can get much larger, the owner keeps them loose by pruning (not sheared or clipped) and in scale. By going into the plant and removing single shoots that will get tall, she easily keeps the Encores loose and at the right height. Since she likes the cottage look, and the home has that type feel, the loose stone edging that separates the planting beds from the turf seems just right. I especially like the combination of weeping yaupon and Emerald Snow loropetalum that gives the indented corner, where there is change of building materials, mass and makes the transition well. The height of the yaupon adds to the scale of the house, which is very tall (3 stories). What you cannot see off the corner of the house on one side is a mass of Nellie R. Stevens hollies being allowed to grow tall, and off the other corner is a Southern magnolia which was placed in a mass of existing pines and flowering trees to conceal the neighbors garage doors. Again, it is important to note that the owners do a great job of pruning the plants to help them achieve a natural look, while at the same time keeping them in scale with each other. This is a beautiful foundation planting that is low maintenance and will be beautiful for many years to come.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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