(file under resolution "Restore the Soul of the Summit House"…)
About 10 years back, my mother contracted with a landscaping firm (which shall remain nameless), to do a lot of work at Summit. She wanted a firm boundary between the house and the house to the east (which has literary aspirations to both Boo Radley and Miss Havisham), so they planted 4 large magnolias. Under those, they planted Annabelle hydrangeas — in front of those they put Nikko blue hydrangeas (that never flower, much less in blue) — and in front of them some scattered astilbe.
And really the whole thing (except the hydrangeas) looks like crap. The space is shaded, yes, but faces west, so the astilbe gets fried. The underplanting looks terrible. The hydrangeas only bloom on the neighbors' side (and are too big).
Tell me, dear reader, what should we do? How should we underplant? Should we tempt to divide the hydrangeas? Will the blue ones ever make it? Just don't tell me to cut down the magnolias.
Seriously, we need help.