Don't be tempted to go for "instant landscaping." That's the message
in this comment from a reader and the response to him from my wife,
COMMENT: "3 years ago we moved to a new house on a 25 acre lot. I am
sure it will take us years to figure out what we are going to do with
it all. However, 2 years ago we planted our first plants. My neighbor
mocked me and said, "Nice sticks," and would yell over the fence..."Gee...
I think your trees are growing!" and then laugh. Having lived on a
much smaller lot, the thought of planting "sticks" would have never
occurred to us. But with so much area to cover, we thought..."what the
heck, let's try it" so I ignored her remarks.
Now, two years later, my weeping willows are taller than me and my
Carolina Spice bushes and Burning Bushes are growing beautifully. So
now I wonder, why did I ever spend $30 on a plant that I could grow
myself in 2 years for $5 each! I used to be all about instant
gratification - but now find the gratification is quadrupled when you
watch it grow from a seedling!" - Paul W.
ANSWER: Thank you so much for your note. Only a small portion of
homeowners have the financial ability to install instant landscaping
and, chances are, they have a knowledgeable person who regularly cares
for those plants. Not all of us have nor want that advantage.
My thoughts are that a landscape should take years to grow into
itself. Just as you and your family are new to your home and property,
you should take the time (be that several years) to live on the
property and see how its uses develop. Hasty planting only to get
something in the ground often leads to a change of mind a couple of
years later. The different ways you and your family will use your
property will reveal themselves over time. I always encourage people
to take that time to find out. - Cheryl Jones
Your comments and questions are always welcome. Drop an e-mail to
email@example.com and I'll do my best to get a personal response
back to you. I often include some of those Q&As in this column.
QUESTION: "I have just purchased some Rosa Hansen Hedge Roses. I am
interested in using these hedge roses to conceal an existing chain
link fence. The site directions state to plant 12" - 24" apart but my
question is how far from an existing fence? Can you help?" - Maura
ANSWER: "In order to give them enough room to grow and not be an issue
with your neighbor in the future, I would place them at least 2 feet
from the fence. That will give them a four foot area in which to
QUESTION: "We have two weeping cherry trees (used to be three) near
full grown. They are blooming, but very poorly this year. Any
suggestions as why this might be, and what we can do to produce more
blooms next year?" - Kathryne
ANSWER: Weather affects the blooming of most early spring flowering
trees such as flowering cherry and flowering pear trees. It is quite
likely that, with the flip-floppy weather that has been going on in
many parts of the U.S., the trees experienced a cool weather snap just
after the buds began to form. It's the most common reason as to why
they lose their blooms or don't bloom as pretty as in other years.
Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do about the weather!
QUESTION: "I have black fountain grass. How do I solve the problem of
it reseeding itself?" - Rosie
ANSWER: The best way, when it begins to go to seed, is to cut the seed
pods off before they can disperse. The other way is to put down an
herbicide that prevents seed from germinating during the growing
The Plant Man is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs
and landscaping to firstname.lastname@example.org and for resources and
additional information, or to subscribe to Steve's free e-mailed
newsletter, visit www.landsteward.org