Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - May 23, 2013

From: Stamford, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Shrub to hide gas line and water faucet from Stamford CT
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a small garden ( 8'x10') in front of my house in southwestern Connecticut which faces north. It gets very limited sun and the eave hangs over it. I am looking for a shrub to plant up against the house to hide the water spigot and gas line. Desired height of no more than 4 feet (I will keep it trimmed). Any suggestions -- other than boxwood, which I am very bored with -- ? Is mountain laurel able to be trimmed into a hedge? Thank you.

ANSWER:

First a word from our sponsors: The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, will recommend only plants native not only to North America but to areas in which they evolved; in your case, Fairfield County, CT. This will help to ensure that the plants you choose will be able to flourish in the climate, rainfall and soils they experience. So, Buxus sempervirens (boxwood), native to western Europe, Turkey, northwest Africa and southeast Asia would not be on our list anyway. As you can see if you follow this plant link Kalmia latifolia (Mountain laurel), while it is native to Connecticut, its normal growth pattern as a single-trunked plant to 20 ft. tall would not be suitable for trimming to a shrub.

Next, another small caution we would extend. Be sure that digging in the area you have designated, where there are probably both water and gas lines, will not cause any damage to those lines. Your local gas and water companies should be able to help you with that.

We will go to our Native Plant Database, scroll down the page to Combination Search, select on Connecticut for state, "shrub" for Habit and 3 ft. to 6 ft. for Height. There will probably be a limited amount of sun that close to your house. You will need to watch the space for a few days to determine if you have "sun" (6 hours or more of sun a day), "part shade" (2 to 6 hours of sun) or "shade" (less than 2 hours of sun). When you follow each plant link on our list to our webpage on that plant, you will be able to determine if that shrub is appropriate to your space. Another caveat, don't plant your shrub too close to the wall; as it grows the shrub will expand equally all the way around and you will need to constantly prune it away from the wall, spoiling the shape of the shrub.

Amelanchier stolonifera (Running serviceberry)

Clethra alnifolia (Coastal sweet pepperbush)

Comptonia peregrina (Sweet fern)

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda (Shrubby cinquefoil)

Hibiscus moscheutos (Crimsoneyed rosemallow)

Lonicera dioica (Limber honeysuckle)

Rhododendron canadense (Rhodora)

Ribes cynosbati (Eastern prickly gooseberry)

Symphoricarpos albus (Common snowberry)

 

From the Image Gallery


Running serviceberry
Amelanchier stolonifera

Coastal pepperbush
Clethra alnifolia

Sweet-fern
Comptonia peregrina

Shrubby cinquefoil
Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda

Crimson-eyed rose-mallow
Hibiscus moscheutos

Limber honeysuckle
Lonicera dioica

Rhodora
Rhododendron canadense

Eastern prickly gooseberry
Ribes cynosbati

Common snowberry
Symphoricarpos albus

More Shrubs Questions

Plants for a steep slope in New York
June 27, 2010 - We just installed a swimming pool in our back yard, which is at the top of a south facing slope. After the pool was installed the slope is now 3 ft higher and very steep (unmowable). I'd guess steepe...
view the full question and answer

Climbing Roses for the Pacific Northwest
January 23, 2016 - I'm trying to find out which types of climbing roses may exist in the Pacific Northwest. I live in western Washington, and I have a small yard with several large hedges bordering it. I'm growing hai...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping trees and shrubs non-toxic to dogs from Monticello FL
March 08, 2013 - We're landscaping and need advice on large and small evergreen trees and shrubs that are native to or will flourish in North Florida. We plan to put in a treeline (large and semi-large trees) as wel...
view the full question and answer

Is the fruit of American Beautyberry (French Mulberry) edible?
March 22, 2012 - I am trying to find out if the "American Beautyberry" or "French Mulberry" fruit is edible? Can you tell me? Your website's information about this plant has been the most informative informatio...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for Yakima WA
May 11, 2013 - My condo complex has purchased large, pottery pots for around our pool. I need to choose low maintenance plants. hopefully something that takes limited water, etc.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.