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overgrown dwarf mugho


When we moved here 34 years ago we cut down much-overgrown spruces that had
been foundation plantings once, and at the corner of the house planted a nice 
little
dwarf - we thought - Mugho Pine.  I know dwarf evergreens are designated that 
way
because of their slow rate of growth, but I don't think this one was ever 
really the
Pinus mugho mugho that is the true dwarf.  At any rate, it thrived and became 
a
handsome shrub, even if a bit large. I kept it under control by "candling" 
each spring
until a few years back when there was a large wasps nest in the middle of the 
tree.
Finally it had become an almost perfect globular plant about 12 feet in each 
dimension.  We said it was too large - it obscured the dining-room window - 
but
it was so fine we just couldn't think about replacing it.  However, last 
winter the
heavy snowfalls bent its branches down more than had ever happened before, and
the snowplow damaged the front of it pretty badly.  This summer it was no 
longer
handsome, so it had to go.  I felt as if we were murdering a family member, 
but we
had it taken out last week.  Now I have a large bare space in front of the 
house
which doesn't look pretty either.  A crew of men were working in the 
neighborhood
with big earthmoving equipment, so DH had them bring in a large stone to put 
on
the corner of the bed to protect things from future snowplow damage.  
Yesterday
we bought a new pine - this time we are assured it is really a P. mugho mugho 
-
and for the amount it cost, it had better be.  However the man who sold it to 
us
assured us that we wouldn't really have that problem with another standard 
mugho -
in other words it wouldn't begin to get that big in the years we have left to 
live.
I have moved a hellebore into the back of the space, and we bought another
shrub that is supposed to be dwarf - a Pieris japonica 'Prelude.'  We have 
Pieris
at the other end of the house, and it does well.  Deer haven't eaten it 
there, though
they ate down the ones we planted at the bottom of the garden.  DH would not
have replaced the mugho, but I held out for it because it has never ever been
eaten by the deer who routinely parade through the drive and sample most 
things.
They haven't eaten hellebores elsewhere, so I think that will make a nice 
green
mound.  I will fill in the front with dwarf daffodils - maybe put some large 
ones
to the back - and I have a nice Artemisia 'Powis Castle' and a couple or rues
that are being crowded out of another bed.  Those are things that I think 
will be
pretty safe.  I think I am going to try interplanting the daffs with some of 
the 
miniature species tulips - maybe the daffs will protect them.  The bed across
the drive has been pretty untouched this year - it is full of 'Powis Castle' 
and
Perilla frutescens.  Nestled among these are several impatiens, and a couple 
of
miniature roses which are doing nicely - both of these are deer candy 
elsewhere
so I think they are protected by the plants they don't like. At any rate, it 
might 
be worth a try.  There is still a fairly large space to fill up, so I am open 
to 
suggestions of things that might be deer resistant.  The soil is good - sun 
until
mid-afternoon - south-east facing.  
Auralie - Z5

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