They Came Back, Can I Keep Them Awhile Longer?

The spirea along the walkway, Spirea japonica 'Limemound', that I cut back to the ground in early spring came back all nice and springy-green. They look so pretty and I love that color of foliage. That's why I bought them, for that pretty foliage.

When I posted about cutting them back completely to the ground, the comments to my question about whether or not I should let them grow back were all, "no, don't let those grow back there". I know it was a bad design to line them up along the sidewalk like that. I know that bed has more potential without them there.

But look how pretty that foliage is! Can I keep them there awhile longer? Maybe I can keep one there and move the rest in the fall?

The shrubs I really wanted to see come back after cutting them back were the St. John's Wort shrubs, Hypericum frondosum 'Sunburst', on the side of the house. But they are still just stumps with ivy growing around them. (Don't ask about the ivy, I know it was dumb to plant it, but I couldn't help myself.)

And next to them are three Deutzia shrubs, Deutzia gracilis 'Nikko', that were killed off by the awful winter weather we had in April.

I found one little tiny Deutzia bloom in that bed.

But that isn't enough, I'm afraid. They just aren't going to make it.

So I think I need to spend my time cleaning out this bed of St. John's Wort and Deutzia and English ivy before I get too concerned about the poor design in the front bed. I want to remove all of these dead shrubs and the ivy, then add new soil and replant it.

And if the fact that there are dead shrubs there isn't a good enough reason to work on that side bed instead of the front bed? In the front bed is the crabapple tree and in that tree are the baby robins and oh my, did I hear it from mama robin when I took this picture this evening.
She squawked and hollered at me like nobody's business. I'm sure she wouldn't like it if I did too much in that bed right now while she still has her babies in that nest! I'll just have to wait until the robins grow up and fly away before I clean up the mess of black-eyed Susan's, bee balm seedlings, sedum, daylilies and water sprouts growing around that tree. Or dig out those shrubs.


  1. Ok, fine, leave them this year!...I agree...they actually do look nice in that photo. Hopefully having been knocked back so far they won't overtake the sidewalk in one year anyway...and they really are trying so hard to look presentable.

  2. I like how they look, Carol. By all means, leave them!

  3. What a lovely garden you have, and I love those robin cute! Congratulations on your mouse and trowel award.

  4. I think the shrubs look just fine, and they seeme to be trying so hard to behave. I would leave them for now and concentrate on getting rid of the dead wood.

  5. Leave them---they're so pretty! As long as they keep trying to behave, I'd say they can stay :-)

  6. I think you're right about the priorities. But if it were me, I would pot up that deutzia that's attempting to bloom when you clear out the rest of the bed. Maybe you can bulk it up enough to replant it. I think the spirea is a good accent plant for your front bed, but you need to relocate it further back so it won't overwhelm the sidewalk. Use the other ones elsewhere in the garden to draw one's eye, or contrast with a really dark-foliaged plant.

  7. I have the spirea 'Magic Carpet' similar in growth to that one but it does require severe cutting and the color is much more intense on the new growth. I think I will have to get some of those spirea 'Limemound'. They look like flowers from a distance! Thanks for the nest update! I'm sure Mom Robin will forgive you when she sees her babies are famous!

  8. I think, by all means, you need to spend your time digging out the side bed - but please, bring me the ivy - nothing will grow in the front yard under the big skarlet oak and the sugar maple. Maybe your persistent ivy would take hold and grow there?


  9. I'm always of a mind to leave plants where they want to be. Sometimes they become too overgrown by self seeding, and I get rid of a few, but if a certain plant likes being in a spot, I leave them be. I think the spirea looks lovely there, softening the edge.

  10. I love the color of the spirea, too, Carol. Do they get huge? I think I agree with Kathy about moving one or two further back into the bed and putting the others somewhere else. Maybe in the fall? At least here moving something that big at this time of year would spell certain death.

    -- Susan from South of the River

  11. Spirea - I think if you are stern with them and can keep them in line, then let them stay.

    However, I think as someone else mentioned, some contrasting dark foliage would look great with them . Maybe take two out and make an alternating lime green/dark foliage plant combo? Of course, now I can't think of one dark foliage plant - what about Euphorbia "Chameleon" (spurge)? Needs very little care, and gets tiny yellow flowers to offset the maroon-purple leaves.

    I am not recommending this site - I have no experience with it -they just had a pic of the foliage -

  12. What an amazing photo of the robin chicks. Just breathtaking to see nature so close up.
    Sara from farmingfriends

  13. What a great color! you definitely need something dark to provide contrast. Then they'll really pop. You had better figure out a good gardening schedule around the robins. They'll be back next year. When I was a child, we had a spruce tree that robins nested in every year. It was wonderful for us kids watching the nest from eggs to fledging.

  14. that lime green color is my favorite of all colors in the garden. i love it more than red rosees or orange bougainvilleas

  15. I must have little design talent because I think the spirea along the walkway look very nice.

    I, too, love the color.

    I vote to keep them.


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