Lately I've been appreciating a bit of seredipity in the entrance to the backyard. Back in 2011 I posted about how I wanted the entrance to the back garden to envelop you, so you'd get a slow reveal to the rest of the yard.
After a couple of unsuccessful plantings (mock orange, flowering currant, some other stuff) I planted a Ceanothus thyrsiflorus in 2012 and it grew quickly.
My neighbors had a gorgeous ceanothus that spilled into our side yard and it had been trained as a tree:
|When the next door house was flipped and sold they removed this ceanothus and I lost all the shade in my side yard.
I'd never really seen another Ceanothus because I was new to gardening so I didn't realize most people let them grow as shrubs. I limbed up mine too and now it provides a nice canopy along the pathway. Most visitors don't recognize what it is because, you know, it should be a shrub. Or maybe the straight species is always a tree but everyone grows more exciting cultivars like 'Dark Star'.
|Tree sized in six years!
I don't always love this ceanothus because its bloom time is short and the flowers aren't as intensely colored as some of the named cultivars. It's also messy once the blooms die. The good news is they don't live very long so I'll probably be shopping for a new tree/shrub in the next ten years.
Please also admire the color echo between the hosta and the hose junking up the photo. Based on every photo I have ever taken it looks like I live in a hose-testing facility.
And since we're looking at that old post, let's do a before and after!
Looking back at the entrance, you can see that my wine barrel has since been planted with bamboo, the rain garden was installed, and everything grew like crazy. That old bit of fence on the left was removed as well.
Standing in the middle of the yard and looking at the back of the house you can see that we were, in 2011, considering building a huge deck off the back of the house. It's not all happy accidents when you don't know what you're doing! What the fuck were we thinking?
Another gigantic whatthefuck was forming here with that goofy shaped bed (hinted at here with stones on the lawn). Circles and squares, damn it! None of this freestyle nonsense!
So the moral of the story is that you can limb up your ceanothus but you shouldn't hire Greg or I to design decks or raised beds for you. We suck at it.