I am researching a shrub to plant in the alley that would screen the garbage can.  Last year we had someone report us to the city for having a sink sit out next to the garbage can.  We worked backwards and figured they would have had to call it in after one day. So anyway, a screen has been the back of my mind for a while.  I think if we hadn’t been on a corner lot, that wouldn’t have happened.

So I went through the book Landscaping with Native Plants of Minnesota for ideas (shrub chapter).  Then, I made a list of all the native shrubs that will tolerate dry conditions and part shade.  Berries or some kind of wildlife benefit is a plus, as well as a proper size.  More than 10 feet tall sounds a little big for where it’s at.  6-8 is better.

That list produced:

  • Common elder
  • Bladdernut
  • Snowberry
  • Highbush Cranberry
  • Nannyberry
  • Canada Yew
  • Wild Grape (a vine, yes, but would screen effectively if we build a support)

Then I went online to see where I might actually be able to buy some of these.  I found this KICK-ASS plant finder at Halla Nursery out of Chanhassen.  That one turned up a few new ideas and made me think twice about some of the ones on the initial list, like Canada Yew (says it’s high maintenance).  Then what’s nice is that they have their little description with a lot better layout than the book – i.e. they use little symbols!  I love little symbols!  But, I do take a nursery’s advice kind of with a grain of salt.  I mean, I am not saying they are liars, but if I read in a book that a certain plant will do well only in shade and then I read from a nursery (whose goal is to sell stuff) that it will do well in all kinds of light, I am skeptical.

Now I have narrowed/morphed the list to (in no order)

  • Isanti Dogwood (Woo!  Isanti!  What are the chances?)
  • Highbush Cranberry (would need to pick the right cultivar)
  • Snowberry
  • Bush Honeysuckle
  • Summersweet (tolerates environmental salt – good on an alley when everyone’s sidewalk salt will wash past in spring)

Still need to investigate where to buy or if they would be good to use:

  • Nannyberry
  • Bladdernut
  • Common elder