Plant identification in Paradise... Jake Zollinger (fourth generation nurseryman) came out to visit us this morning. We've purchased some plants from them (weeping willows, lilacs, paper birches, and some prostrate sumacs), and he verified that our planned locations were all ok for them. He also walked around our place with me, identifying the “mystery plants” that we have all about.
The shade trees that we have near our house (one in front, one in the rear) that we like are honeylocusts, a horticultural variety (Imperial) that is their number one seller for shade trees. The two trees we have in front of the house, with incredibly soft wood and with lots of dead branches, are lindens. They're going to go. The shrubs with red berries planted (four of them) in the front of our house are viburnums. We'll probably keep one of these, but the other three are out of control and too close to the house. The ugly shrub growing right next to our front porch, and suckering all over the place, turns out to be the sprouting root stock of an ornamental crab apple. The ornamental part apparently died (or was cut back) some time ago, and the former owner started pruning what grew out of the root stock. That's going to go for sure! On the southeast corner of our house we have a half-dead red-leafed plum that's got a big green bush underneath it. That bush is its root stock sprouting, apparently because the ornamental part is dying. That's gonna go, too (all of it). The red-leafed trees growing south of our barn are ornamental choke cherries – something I would never have guessed, as they don't look anything at all like the wild choke cherries.
It was a very useful visit from my perspective. Basically we've confirmed what we suspected: that the landscaping job done when this house was built in 1992 was nothing special, and that we should feel free to just start over. Which we will, once the construction is done!