|Snowy morning in the courtyard|
The courtyard I inherited is an odd collection of shrubs. In one corner (off photo in lower left) is a spreading yew (Taxus baccata 'Repandens'?). In the opposite corner is a boxwood. One corner is empty, being surrounded by glass. The other corner has Euonymus japonicus 'Green Spire' (top left). There is a round firepit in the center, and a square fountain off on one wall. Something definitely needs to be done to make this mishmash of a courtyard more balanced. The square fountain will have to go, replaced by a planting, although another option is to replace it with a series of single jets around the periphery of the courtyard, that will arise directly from the ground and be unobtrusive when not active.
But what to do about the plantings? I thought about taking out one or two of the varieties and planting more of the rest, or removing some and planting a few of another plant to provide balance. I hope to remove the boxwood, even though it is doing well, because I hate the dog pee smell which is intensified by the warm enclosed space. But it is doing a good job of covering up the gas line to the firepit. Perhaps balancing the Euonymus by a cross-axis planting would do the trick for the design. It would tolerate both the sun and shade which the yew couldn't if I tried the same with it. It is evergreen and sturdy. Unfortunately, it seems that no one sells this form of Euonymus around here anymore, and it is even hard to find on-line.
So this spring I took cuttings. My book on plant propagation says this plant can be a challenge to propagate for the home gardener, and my track record has not been very good this year, so I took a number of cuttings, about 24, and struck them in potting mix in an old salad mix container (those clear plastic things you get salad mix in). After about 3 months a few of them turned yellow and were removed. The others stayed green. A couple of months later, and suddenly, there were roots and growth! Last week, I repotted, giving me 15 new tiny plants. Success! But if I only need a few, what to do with the rest?