Gardening / landscaping advice please?

Nénuphar asks: Gardening / landscaping advice please?
I live in an apartment/duplex in the city with a decent yard (for an apartment in the city!), but the whole yard and the front face of our building is exposed to direct sunlight all summer… last year all my garden plants got nuked! I’m looking for a tall plant or bush to put in a spot that would shade the window and most of my garden. I live in the northwest so it’d have to tolerate a moderate, wet winter as well. What will tolerate these conditions, and also look nice, like something with great foliage and/or fragrant flowers or fruit? I’m very good with plants, but even with my constant care could a blueberry bush survive? How bout a lilac?
The only restriction I have is my landlord says “no trees”, but there’s an ugly 12-foot black walnut tree there right now, I don’t think he even knows what it is! I’m digging that up and putting whatever I get close to that spot. Right now I have red-leafed corabells, hyacinths, and dwarf and full-sized lupines behind a bamboo fence in the garden (under the window). Suggestions??

The answer voted best is:

Answer by rmbrruffian
I believe I answered this question already.
The reason most of your plants are not doing well is BECAUSE of the Black Walnut. The sap of Black Walnut contains a chemical called Juglone. It is toxic to plants. This keeps competing plants from growing around the Black Walnut and taking nutrients away from it.
Black Walnuts are very valuable, not just for it’s wood; but because they have been pushed almost to extinction from introduced trees that grow faster and are more prolific. I wouldn’t cut it down without the landlord’s permission.

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  1. The most disparaging aspect of your yard is that it contains a black walnut. Black Walnuts emit a toxin through their root system, that usually kills most plants that you plant in the area of it’s root system. It would help if I knew what zone you are in so that I knew about the seasonal aspects you experience. Since your looking for something to shade and either give you attactive foilage and flowers, here are a few suggestions, a red wine weigelia would do very well in direct sunlight and quickly grows to a height of up to 6 or more ft.,with a deep red flower and foliage that is crimson in color. It will over winter well also. Another idea for you is to try a quince or love apple, they get over 10′ if you let them,but if you keep shearing the top back, you will soon end up shearing the whole diameter, but the foliage is lovely and you can eat the fruit, it is a pom related to the apple, just wanted you to know these plants have some nasty thorns on them. White Spirea would also be a good choice for your landscape. Blueberries could be grown there,as the cultivars comng out can be planted in more areas, blueberries need a very acidic soil to produce fruit, which is usually around 5.5 ph. I think the Weigela you would really like, there are many more choices, but ultimately you are going to choose what suits you. Also remember what I mentioned re: the walnut.

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