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Video of Old Greenbelt Townhouse Garden, Spring 2021

posted in: Home and Garden

I’ve been enjoying making videos lately, especially since the pandemic made in-person garden-touring impossible for a while. Mostly I’ve videoed other Greenbelt gardens but last fall I made this one of my own front garden’s make-over – I replaced an arborvitae hedge with flowering vines and replaced old grey siding with Wedgewood blue paint over a newly restored original block exterior.

Now this week I published a video tour of the front AND back gardens – the first I’ve ever made of the back because I haven’t liked it until very recently.

So why is that?  Because in my 9 1/2 years here, it’s taken that long to create the screening that turns a yard into a garden I want to spend time in, which screening GHI rules severely and bizarrely restrict, forcing us to TRY to solve the problems with plants. I wasted a lot of time and money on plants that failed to do the job, and finally, by building as much screening as we’re allowed and using vines for the rest of the screening needed, I finally have a garden – or will when the plants grow a couple more years. (Sigh.)

Guide to Prominent Plants in the Video (as posted in the description under the video on YouTube)



– Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) ‘Tangerine Beauty’ is fast-growing, evergreen and native to this region. I planted these last summer.

– Native honeysuckle (Lornicera sempervirens) ‘Major Wheeler’ – just planted. – Morning Glory, annual, grown from seed.


Several ‘Ogon’ Spirea, the native Ninebark ‘Summer Wine,’ and Nandina domestica ‘Burgundy Wine.’ Unlike the common Nandina, this variety stays short and bushy, and has no berries that could make it spread or harm birds.


– A 9-year-old Crossvine and several newer ones.

– Groundcover Golden Groundsel (Packera aurea) is a native woodland plant that spreads easily and is mostly evergreen.

– More groundcovers: Sedum takesimense, Mondo Grass, and Comfrey (Symphytum grandiflorum).

– Ninebark is a native shrub with red leaves, so the mix of colors on this ‘Amber Jubiliee,’ variety are unusual.

Amsonia hubrichtii is regionally native, blooms blue in spring, and has brilliant orange fall color.

– Lungwort (Pulmonaria hybrids) looks pretty most of the year and these have lasted at least 25 years for me, first in Takoma Park and now here.

– Korean Spice Viburnum (V. carlesii) has extremely fragrant blooms in spring. Otherwise it’s boring but provides screening where it’s needed.

– Purple Smokebush (Cotinus x Grace) has glorious purple leaves, blooms in the form of long pink plumes, and oddly shaped limbs. A stand-out in the garden!

Follow Susan Harris:
Susan started blogging about Greenbelt soon after moving here in 2012, and that first blog has grown into this nonprofit community website. Retired from garden writing and teaching, she continues to blog at GardenRant.com. In 2021 Susan joined the Board of Directors of Greenbelt Access TV. Susan launched the video blog "Susan's Hoop Dancing Journey" after trying hula hooping during the 2022 Crazy Quilt Music Festival.

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