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Dating A House - A Study Of Landscape Plantings

Horticulturally this is the era of yew and pieris. If all Japanese pieris and Anglo-Japanese yews grown each year were paraded in pairs past a given point, I suspect we would witness perpetual motion. They are even competing with globe arborvitae and plitzer juniper for the base planting championship in the development house class.

But fads in plant material are not a recent development. The age of a house can frequently be guessed by studying the planting around it.

Throughout the rural and older suburban areas of the middle Atlantic states, it is not uncommon to see two stately Norway spruce trees, one on either side of a walk to the front door. Usually 30 or more years old, these trees I am told, have a significance hearing on superstition.

In the latter half of the: nineteenth century, it was customary for newlyweds to plant two spruces in front of their first home. If both trees grew and prospered, the bride and groom could anticipate a prosperous and fruitful life together, but if one languished or died, woe betide the unhappy pair. Perhaps the tenderness with which the young couple tended the trees aided theta in developing tolerance and understanding of each other.

Another fad of the nineties was Azalea obtusa amoena, that dwarf Kurume hybrid with blossoms too garish to be modest, which found welcome in the boastful plantings of that decade. Since the development of more beautiful and less blatant hybrids, the purple magenta of amoena is used little.

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Then in the fabulous 1920's, dwarf box came into it's own. Modest little specimens that we're gladly sold for $10 each in 1914, competed with fine emeralds 10 years later. Ease of propagation, in addition to charm, made buxus sempervirens suffruticosa the backyard bush of modest and ornate homes from Maryland southward. The spicy fragrance could be enjoyed, while it offered roosting place for fowls and cool shade for hounds during the heat of the day. When box became fashionable, it also became money in the bank for many a striving family.

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Posted in Home Improvement Post Date 12/11/2014






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