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Discussion in 'Home Improvement' started by Ken Anderson, Aug 6, 2019.
I love the smell of fresh clover. Too bad COVID stole that from me.
I am considering something to plant in the back of the backyard, that being the area between my yard and the abandoned railroad track. I've thinned it out quite a bit but there are still going to be trees there, plus I have a storage shed in the back, so the area is partly shaded, at best. I want something that doesn't require a lot of pampering. I planted a bunch of wildflower seeds out there this spring but, in my experience, wildflower seeds are hit and miss. If you throw enough of them out there, some of them will stick but most of them never go anywhere and the bulk of them are so tiny that they don't really serve my purpose. I'd love for it all to be a blackberry patch because that would keep people from taking a shortcut through my yard to the tracks, but I don't want to spend any more money on blackberries that don't survive the winter.
Barring that, I wouldn't mind something that would put some color into the area, and there's nothing wrong with attracting birds and butterflies, either. I'm thinking of bunchberries. Where I live, the hardiness zone is 4 but we are very close to hardiness zone 3, so a particularly cold winter might kill something that couldn't handle zone 3. Bunchberries aren't for eating but they look pretty and they can handle the weather since they're zoned for hardiness zone 2-7.
Any other suggestions? I've thought of hydrangeas because there are varieties of hydrangeas that can tolerate zone 3, and we had a large hydrangea in our front yard when we bought the place. I had a heck of a time getting rid of it because my wife didn't like it there.
Using Shrubs with Thorns and Other Nasty Surprises
Wild roses keep popping up in my front and side yards, despite being mowed down, but I've never seen one growing in the back. I've planted four roses in the same area where the wild roses grow but only one has survived, while another survived the first winter but not the second. As for yucca, I had always equated it with desert-type climates but I see that there is a variety of yucca that is zoned for hardiness zone 3, but it likes full sun. I've spent all the money I am going to spend on blackberries. I had considered barberry, but it's zoned for 4-8, meaning it might not survive a cold winter.
I would transplant those rose bushes to the backyard at least one of them. Also I'd take some Miracle Grow and put it in the hole before covering it up. That's something I've been doing and I'm amazed how well my flower beds are growing.
Bougainvillea prefers warm climates, zones 9-11
Pyracantha, similarly, zones 6-9.
Blackberries are still worth thinking about, although I didn't have good luck in planting them in the exact same place in the past. Blackberries, in fact, are perfect for what I'm looking for if only I could get them to survive the damned winter.
Hardiness zones 1-3, maybe 4
Fruit or flowers
Preference for shrubs, although I am considering other perennials
Something that proliferates on its own would be nice
Barbs or thorns are a plus
Low maintenance is always a plus
So far, I'm thinking of bunchberries, although they don't meet all of these criteria. Another possibility is periwinkle.
The part of the yard that I'll be planting has been overgrown with scrub trees for more than a century. Although the ground is largely coal ash, as is most of Millinocket, leaves and brush have been composting there for more than a hundred years so there is some soil before getting to the coal ash. It seems like the kind of ground conditions where blackberries would naturally grow in the wild.
You might give the Josta berries some consideration, @Ken Anderson . They do not exactly have thorns, but the vines are prickly. I looked online, and it said they can grow in zone 3.
I got mine from ebay, and can give you the name of the seller if you are interested in that.
Here are a couple of pictures so that you can see what the vines look like. I planted mine in a large pot for the summer, and they have been growing good, and this fall, we will transplant them into the long planter box that Bobby made for them by the front fence.
I started a thread on Josta berries if you want to see more about them.
Since we have never tasted one, I am looking forward to next year and hopefully having berries to try. I think that the birds and squirrels are less like to eat these than the blueberries, since they are prickly.
Jostaberries are a cross between a currant and a gooseberry, and both currants and gooseberries are illegal to plant in Maine, so I don't know about jostaberries. I would love to plant currants there because I like the taste and they should do well, even on my land up north, but growers won't ship to Maine. I've considered driving to Massachusetts or somewhere that they are legal, and buying some because I'm too old to care about stupid planting laws. At least on my land up north, I'll be dead before anyone notices that I have currants growing there.
It says some counties, but if you order from eBay, they would probably ship to you more likely than an established nursery would. It does not mention Jostaberry.
“European Black Currant, Ribes nigrum prohibited state-wide
The sale, transportation, further planting or possession of plants of the genus Ribes (commonly) known as currant and gooseberry plants, including cultivated, wild, or ornamental sorts is prohibited in the following Counties in the State of Maine, to wit: York, Cumberland, Androscoggin, Kennebec, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox, Waldo, Hancock, and parts of Oxford, Franklin, Somerset, Piscataquis, Penobscot, Aroostook, and Washington”
I'm in Penobscot County. I've tried ordering currants, even on a site that didn't state that they couldn't ship to Maine but, as soon as I entered my address, that notice came up. I haven't looked on eBay.
The clover is growing nicely !
I just ordered some more blackberry plants, and these are fine in Zone 4, @Ken Anderson . It said in something that I was reading that they are good to over -20 below zero, and I think one article said even lower than that.
Here is what I am ordering.
Well, I did suggest another raised bed yesterday. Guess now I’ll have to own it and build it.