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Kindig Gardens, Part 1 – FineGardening

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Today we visit Dean and Pam Kindig’s garden in Rochester, New York.

“Hand in hand with the invisible hand of God.” Gardening is a partnership that the gardener has with God, with Mother Nature. It’s dynamic; You never know how an April ice storm, or a rainy June, or a neighbor’s tree falling on your Japanese maple will change the canvas. Sometimes you get an unexpected pop of color from a hardworking squirrel or family of cardinals who have discovered a recently planted treat in your yard. Yeah, sometimes it’s the garden of weedin ‘, but more often it’s your Eden. Welcome to Kindig Gardens.

View from the house into the backyard to the west in the second week of June 2020.

Garden path through treesEntrance to the back path, which turns left at the other end, in the second week of June 2020.

The back path June 12, 2020 with a new ‘Pinky Winky’ tree hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pinky Winky’, zones 3–8) on the left.

Snow on the garden pathSnow stays on the moss but is melted over the rocks by its heat, creating unintended art.

Double file Shasta viburnumsTwo of these duplicate ‘Shasta’ viburnums (Viburnum plicatum f. Tomentosum ‘Shasta’, Zones 5-8) are planted next to each other near the cairn at the north end of the old arborvitae hedge blocking Baird Road. Their showy white flowers appear opposite each other, double-filed, and they grow in partial shade or in the sun and form a pretty hedge from spring to autumn. They have showy red berries in the fall that attract birds. I remember viburnums from my grandma Greene’s house, but they probably belonged to a neighbor and hung over the fence to give the beauty to my grandparents for free.

In 2020, so fascinated by these “dogwoods on steroids”, we bought another viburnum, a double file “Mariesii” (Viburnum plicatum f. Tomentosum “Mariesii”, zones 5–8), to be used against the brown fence on our north side walk. The ‘Mariesii’ ‘was already over 2½ feet tall as of June 1, 2020, while the Shastas are 10 feet ripe, about the same height as the arborvitae I trim to ladder height. The ‘Mariesii’ can bloom for up to two weeks after the ‘Shasta’, which extends the effect of the viburnums in the garden. Both are stag-proof and simply stunning in the morning sun.

Autumn berries on a viburnumAutumn berries on the viburnum extend the show.

When you exit the family room through the sliding door and go straight ahead, the blooming almond (Prunus glandulosa, zones 4–8) is right in front of you. The double-blooming pink flowers are showy enough, but the flowers arrive as early as late April and appear before the bush pops out. The early timing is amazing. At the end of May, the leaves of the bush begin to hide the flowers, but by then the rhododendrons and irises begin to enter behind the almond. The ripe size of the flowering almond can be 3 to 4 feet wide and 4 to 5 feet high. We will continue to prune this prunus to keep it in the 3 to 4 foot height range.

This filiform Coreopsis variety (Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’, Zones 3–9) has an airy texture and an optimistic yellow color. It becomes 18 to 24 cm high and wide and is deer-proof. The Perennial Plant Association’s 1993 Plant of the Year is often placed near Echinacea and I will keep this in mind when I share it in the future.

Steeplechase tree of life (Thuja ‘steeplechase’, zones 4–8) – do not confuse this evergreen one-word name with the double word “tree of life” (Latin for “tree of life”), the fan-like white substance that brings sensory and motor skills Information to and from the cerebellum. (It’s harder to grow outside the skull.) We looked for hedges that deer didn’t consider candy, and we’re most impressed with ‘Obstacle Races’ because of its 3 foot annual growth. We also have Green Giant hedges. This picture shows the height of the eight or nine logs that were planted in 2016 to block the telephone pole and the road. Four years later, they are now nearly 20 feet tall and 8 feet wide! For my money, ‘steeplechase’ trees are the best solution for wind protection and privacy.

Annabelle smooth hydrangeaWe bought this hydrangea in April 2017 because it is the first name of our first grandson. ‘Annabelle’ is the best known variety of smooth hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens, zones 3–9). ‘Annabelle’ has stunning white flowers that often produce heads over 8 inches in diameter. In contrast to the more well-known blue and pink hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla), Annabelle’s snow-white color cannot be changed by the pH of the soil and blooms every year, even after heavy pruning or intensely cold winters. ‘Annabelle’ thrives in the sun and enjoys its new, sunnier location in the hydrangea garden along the path by the brown fence.

In contrast to our granddaughter of the same name, she tends to hang, so it may be necessary to support her with stakes. It may also help to prune ‘Annabelle’ to a height of 18 to 24 inches instead of pruning it to the ground every year. This allows the stems to thicken a little each year, become thicker and better support the other branches and flowers. A new sleek hydrangea that stands upright, especially after a rain, is called “Incrediball”, but we prefer the name of the original.

Close up of Annabelle smooth hydrangea flowers‘Annabelle’ flowers

Come back tomorrow to see more of this beautiful garden!

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Robert Dunfee