Doublefile Viburnum – One More Reason to Garden on a Neighbor’s Land



Continuing our theme of gardening on property not our own, it can be a city-owned patch along the street (as discussed here and here), or it could be a spot in a neighbor’s yard.  Thus, there seems to be no safe empty spot of land in my new neighborhood, as I prowl for new places to grow my favorite plants.  Like the ‘Shasta’ Doublefile Viburnum shown above in my former back yard.wine_roses_weigela-6778

Here in my new townhouse yard, there’s nowhere near enough room for one of them – though that didn’t stop me from buying one, thinking I could prune it into submission.  Hah!  The wrongness of that assumption because clear soon enough, but lucky for me, the neighbor at the end of my 4-unit row of townhouses had a huge, empty yard that needed filling.  And as a new, nongardening homeowner who’s hard at work just improving the lawn and fixing the grade, he’s loving what he’s seeing so far from this gorgeous spring bloomer, a slow but reliable grower in these parts.  It’s positioned in such a prominent spot that several homes will have a great view of it when it grows a bit more.

In addition to the dozens of passalong perennials that I’ve gathered here from various overgrown gardens, there’s one more shrub I’ve contributed from my new garden – a ‘Wine and Roses’ Weigela, this time not because it’ll become too big but because it doesn’t fit with the palette of colors I’ve chosen for my back yard.  See, I’m sticking to a limited palette of purple, chartreuse and green at the instruction of the hot young landscape architect Thomas Rainer, and this dark pink shrub had to go.

Hey, I say as long as I can see them regularly, I don’t care where plants are growing.

Anybody else growing favorite plants in somebody else’s yard?





  1. I would need a lot better reason to get rid of a shrub than because some “hot new architect” told me to.

    • I’m pretty sure there is sound aesthetic reasoning behind his suggestion, like a consistent and thoughtful color palette.

      • Oh yes, I meant to say more about my following the advice of a designer whose work I love, who’s local to me, and who I can also tout as “hot” – even internationally – and deservedly so.

        I feel so at home writing for this blog that I forget not every reader knows it’s telling a joke on myself to declare my concern for what a hot young anything thinks. I’m more a follower of anti-fashion than fashion. Hippie vibe that won’t die, I guess. But I LOVE Thomas.

        And after years-year-years of having the garden look the best I can make it but wanting something different, something even prettier, I happily take the advice of someone ELSE. A real designer. I have a hunch he knows more than I do about plant combinations.

  2. I have vegetable beds in my neighbors front yard. Their in the strip between her driveway and my lawn. She doesn’t care what I do there and I give her veggies.

  3. We live in an upper floor condo unit. For over twenty years we gardened an area outside our building and for the last several years we’ve been spreading around the entire building foundation plantings. We move and divide plants and there are always new ones we want to try out. The neighbors love what we do and we all get to enjoy the results.

  4. We allows neighbors to plant in our raised beds. The kids take such joy in seeing their plants come up. Just yesterday, we had 10 kids in our garden happily digging for worms and *working*. Too, too cute!

  5. Editing out colors – there’s a blog post I would read! It’s getting a bit eclectic around here. I’ve been so focused on finding things that actually survive/thrive that now I’m looking at a caleidoscope.

    As for gardening in a neighbor’s yard, I don’t do this per se, but after coveting my neighbor’s Stewardia tree for some time I decided NOT to get one and just keep enjoying hers.


  6. Sorry – that’s Stewartia, the tree that has it all: graceful, interesting bark, shiny leaves, gorgeous flowers, amazing fall color and narrow habit suited for a small yard.

  7. Gardening on your neighbors land is not only rewarding it’s a great way to meet your neighbors and make friends. I moved from a home in Alaska, that had all the room you could want and more for a garden, to a mobile home in California, that barely has enough room for a small barbecue let alone a garden. When I first moved into the mobile home there was nothing but hard CA clay surrounding it. I worked daily on it and soon had a beautiful wild flower front lawn and a small courtyard surround by all kinds of blooms. Since I’m addicted to gardening my courtyard started to become overgrown so I started to look for ways to thin it out. Neighbors would stop by and comment on how nice my place was looking and I was able to thin out my garden by passing along plants that didn’t fit in my scheme.

    Before long I became known as the plant expert, even though I’m far from an expert, in our mobile home park. I started helping others with there landscape designs and transplanted many of my plants into neighboring yards. My mobile home is located near the front gate of the community but I always come in the back gate so I can drive through the park and look at my garden that is spread out amongst the community.

  8. I’ve got a neighbor across a turkey wire fence who doesn’t garden & who’s offered to let me plant whatever I want back there. Although I don’t have the urge to design a new garden, I sure am tempted to expand some sweeping drifts of Hosta, Astilbe, & Ferns to visually expand my own garden since there’s next to no visible separation. The ostrich ferns have already traveled “across the border” and started the process on their own.

Comments are closed.