If Only Gardeners Ruled The World

Stephanotis floribunda:
The rest may make one wince, but the Stephanotis vine over the doorway seems just right.
If I ruled the world, I might choose to remove the existing shrubs, all of which at ultimate size are wrong for a planter 18" wide, and fill it on both sides with the variegated Euonymous japonica microphylla variegata.  Just simple, nothing more.  The dark green and white of the Euonymous, inexpensively purchased at any big-box store, would complement the vine and the house colors, be easily maintained with almost no effort, save the gasoline involved in rectangling what's there now, because they'd be the right size for the space, and never get so large that someone would come along and rectangle them.  Or very cleverly prune those existing shrubs such that they created the illusion of shutters or curtains around the windows, instead of what, badly placed mustaches?

Or what about a mass planting of all the same small Aloe, like x 'Noblis' or greatheadii?  Or a mass planting of Echeveria 'Imbricata'? Think of all the flowers hanging outwards just a little, luring hummingbirds in. 

Don't we all engage in re-landscaping fantasies when we look around our neighborhoods?  I do!  If I ruled the world, I would not be blowing stuff up, or bankrupting companies in order to enrich myself, or pushing one religion or another on people I know nothing about.  

I'd be redoing a lot of gardens.  Wouldn't you?  :) 


  1. It always amazes me how many people let poorly-chosen shrubs grow up and completely cover windows. Perhaps that's the reason they're still there?

    Why not trace the photograph onto paper (just the house) and draw up what it would look like with some of the plants you suggested? Then mail the homeowner a copy. It's often difficult for non-gardeners to visualize change. :-)

  2. The Stephanotis is a most beautiful and fragrant climber. I am always looking at other gardens for ideas for my garden landscape. I agree, more uniformity with a mass planting of the same shrubs would look better.
    xoxoxo ♡

  3. Great post! I like to imagine me ruling others' landscapes, and turning them into "all they can be". Your thoughts on better-scaled plants and complimenting house colors are right-on. I would put aloes w/ other succulents in some big pots, just a couple. But I digress...

    Does Euonymus in your area have too much humidity and get mildew? Or is the one you note a resistant variety?

    I quit dissing Euonymus japonica of any size or cultivar, though I haven't specified it on any designs...yet. Maybe it's embarassment that I would use it? But it's one tough plant here without that much irrigation, taking this place's inferno of a sun. Quite retro, too.

    1. I've never seen mildew on them here. They are amazingly tough here, I had a few that lived and looked pretty decent on winter rain alone. Scale seems to be their worst enemy.

  4. Yes! Re-landscaping fantasies are constant in my mind as I walk (or drive) through my neighborhood. Especially right now when we've only had .25" of rain since July 1 and all the lawns are crispy. Why give over so much space to something that looks horrible 4-5 months of the year? Especially high on my "re-do" list are the ones with not a single tree in the front yard...

  5. The stephanotis IS perfect!

    As much as I would redo many of the gardens I see around me, I'm often embarrassed when I return to my own home. Looking at my front garden, you'd be hard pressed to believe a gardener lived there. The front is the last frontier, gardening-wise. We have big trees that make it almost impossible to garden under and around them (hence lots of dried grass this time of year) and shrubs growing up over our living room windows (drives me crazy but encouraged by the Mulch Man for privacy on our busy corner.) I console myself with the observation that at least our shrubs have foliage on their lower limbs, unlike your examples above. *sigh*

  6. And isn't it fun to design and plan/plant even if it is just in our own minds.


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