screening with a little peek

screening with a little peek

Oh sure, big dense laurel hedges have their place–but only if you live in English Manor. I don’t seem as interested in the total privacy I hear other people talk about. I’m more attracted to screening that allows light through, especially in the dark months, and the opportunity to see what’s going on out there. Always something, right?

This little grove in Concordia (PDX) Ranchville strikes me as just about perfect. And it’s done with one of my favorite trees, Acer circinatum, the Pacific Northwest Native Vine Maple. Although I’ll admit, it could be dynamite with multi-trunked magnolias too. Or Stewartias. Or…? (Please fill in the blank with your favorite multi-trunked tree.)

And a longer view. Terrific, no?

Longer view with Lace Leaf Maple capping the corner.

Longer view with Lace Leaf Maple capping the corner.

I love everything about Vine Maples, the undulating shape, the chartreuse spring foliage, and the explosion of fabulous fall color. Not to mention, they provide a good habitat and food source for birds, bees, and butterflies.

Vine Maples are terrific looking in winter too.

Vine Maples are terrific looking in winter too.

I guess I have a loose notion of what constitutes privacy. In our previous house, I packed a few trees into our 50X100 lot — 25+ as I recall. It was bird heaven. And since we were on a relatively busy street, the trees provided a nice buffer, while not the obscuring view.

City lot. 25+ trees. It can be done.

City lot. 25+ trees. It can be done.

Alas, all but the vine maples near the front of the house and the dogwood have been removed–to make way for lawn.

Okay, so what was I talking about? Oh right, screening versus privacy hedge. Of course, I’ve been blessed with super neighbors my whole dang life–even when I was a kid in our big Catholic Parish–so maybe that’s a thing.

Great neighbors may eliminate need for privacy. Tami, Bill, me, Missy, & Elliot.

Great neighbors may eliminate need for privacy. Tami, Bill, me, Missy, & Elliot on a crazy perfect spring day.

And maybe it’s got something to do with the Irish Girl in me: No, this is not a private brawl. If you hear that cork pop, you’re most welcome.

Cheers

  • alyse

    I love everything about Vine Maples too! A favorite favorite. It almost has no flaws, the only one being perhaps that it is so dang common that people almost tire of it…but really, it is overused for a reason. Chief among it’s attributes–its form, that perfect size between tree and shrub. The standard “shree” against which all other shrees are judged!

    • Hi Alyse,

      I know if you like it–I’m on the right track. Still think about that great garden you designed in Grant Park, NE PDX. http://lansinggardendesign.com/grant-park/ So brilliant. I’d love for my place to have a feel like that.

      Cheers.

      • alyse

        Oh, wow, Patricia, thank you so much! Next time you see me, please do introduce yourself. Would love to connect. Great job on the PlantLust, seriously one of my favorite websites.

        • Tim Vojt

          I’m so glad that Patricia linked to your garden design in her comment. That is a fantastic space. I’m a big fan of garden designs for others, but not for me – I am too addicted to plant collecting to want someone else to make choices for me. I say that because the Lansing garden is a space that I would gladly take. It looks so well laid out and it would accommodate both someone who just wants to tend a garden and someone like me who wants to continually change up plants. Kudos!

          • alyse

            Thanks, Tim! I’m seeing this on Disqus a couple weeks late (ugh–technology!), but better late than never, eh? I agree with you about changing up plants! I did not have an irrigation system for two decades (amazing to say that out loud) because of that. Helping true gardeners with their space is my favorite kind of design. I help, very collaboratively, with the spacial considerations only, and the gardener picks the plants. Of course you design your own space exactly the way I do it. But you are probably nicer to yourself than I am. I’m a darn slave driver! Anyway, my point is that Gardeners are the best. Huge amount of respect toward how you do your garden.

          • Tim Vojt

            Thanks for your reply. I re-read my comment and I hope it didn’t sound snotty. I really meant to say that what I saw shows how talented and passionate you are.
            As for being nicer to myself than you…..maybe, but I’m not too nice to my plants. I call myself a moody gardener because all of a sudden I hate a section and bam – I rip it out. People have asked me to design gardens for them and I say, ” please, please hire a professional. I’ll do it, but you’ll have to realize it will take me 5 years to catch a vision and then half of the plants will be dead in a year!” Zone denial and wanting every cool plant one sees is risky business! Cheers!

          • alyse

            Goodness, no, not snotty at all! I totally understand.

  • Tim Vojt

    Love Acer circinatum. I bought ‘Pacific Fire’ a few years back and it has been languishing from a couple of bad choices for location. I just moved it again and am hoping I’ve hit the right spot. Regardless of its poor performance (my fault!), each winter those twigs are afire with color. And those big, chartreuse-y leaves are nothing to sneeze at.