Showing posts with label cedar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cedar. Show all posts

Friday, June 17, 2016

What about that tree?

Back in April I wrote that we were going to remove the cedar tree from our backyard. A huge thank you to everyone who gave me input on removing the pieris (it's gone!), as well as suggestions for new plants in this area.

Before: boxwood on the right, Pieris on the left

The tree came down super fast by a company I can't recommend, so I won't mention who they are. The owner hires day laborers, pays them terribly, and they trampled my plants.

Please enjoy this video of the top-most part of the tree being removed. I shot it while lying on the floor of our office. I had no idea how tree removal would work without a crane, so this was fascinating and nerve-wracking to watch.

The company did a piss poor job of grinding out the stump (I should've used Chip Away like I have in the past), so we couldn't sink the new fence post halfway between the existing posts, like we wanted. Eventually everything will grow in and we shouldn't notice how stupid this fence looks.

After we rebuilt the fence (the extra-tall post is so we can string lights from it), I had to rake up years and years of cedar detritus and all the shavings from the stump grinding. The area was a MESS.

Then I got to cram way too many plants in!

This is the least exciting photo ever, I know. It's pretty unexciting in real life, too. The structure will eventually come from shrubs that are too small to see, so everything is filled in with a mix of grasses and annuals. If this turns into anything visually pleasing by the end of the summer, I will be surprised.

In the meantime, I don't miss the cedar at all. I'm so excited about the new trees and shrubs I have planted. Our next step is to talk to a professional about building a shade structure of some sort and figuring out whether we're going to build a platform deck. We have been absolutely paralyzed by indecision, so it's time to talk to someone with experience. Then we can get down to the sweet business of drinking gin and tonics and relaxing in the backyard.

Ha ha, just kidding. I'm going to stuff more plants into this area. I'll probably take them from the area on the left, where I crammed too many plants last summer. I can't help myself.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A clean slate

Big plans are afoot here. After dealing with a poorly sited Western red cedar for seven years, I've decided to have it removed.

While I was completing all the measurements required by the city, I discovered that the root flare is 30 inches from my neighbor's foundation (and getting closer every year). 

It also ate his hose bib. I feel bad now for not removing it earlier. It has created fencing challenges and I couldn't be happier to see it go. With the tree gone we can safely build our platform deck as far over as we want without worrying about doing root damage.

While I'm at it, I'm going to tear out the boxwood located in the corner of the yard. I never removed it before because I figured nothing else would be able to get up to size with competition from a mature tree.

And while I'm dismantling the fence and digging up all of the plants in this area, I'm considering removing the pieris too. I'm conflicted about this one, because it's evergreen and established and it requires no water BUT I just don't love it. And as long as I'm having someone grind out stumps, I might as well have them grind that one too. It also has a filbert tree sprouting right next to it that we can't seem to eradicate.

All of this means that I have a huge new area where I can plant the shrubs and trees I've always wanted to plant. On the short list for a replacement tree is Magnoila macrophylla var. Ashei. I love the huge leaves and I covet Clifford, Loree's Magnolia macrophylla. My tentative plan is something like this:

Click to embiggen

I came home from Xera with an olive tree (Olea europaea 'Frantoio') for the corner. Greg and Paul said it gets up to size quickly, requires little water, and has fantastic winter interest.

Photo source

I had been considering Arbutus unedo but Paul warned me that they are very messy. Also on the list currently:

I have two existing Mahonia ('Underway' and 'Winter Sun') that will get moved a bit. I also have a golden ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius 'Nugget') that I'd like to keep in the area.

If you had a blank slate, what shrubs would you plant? Would you keep the pieris? I'm on a standard city lot, so my room for large shrubs is limited and I want to plant ones that I'll be completely in love with. Any opinions are welcome!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Is it enough?

Not too long ago I wrote about the difficulty I'm having with the area under my cedar tree and a bunch of you chimed in with some really great ideas.

One of my favorites was Laurrie's suggestion to let the ferns develop into a large swath, "But make it a nice big sweep, not just a few." So I added eleven sword ferns to the four that were already there, along with four lady ferns (for a total of five of those). The lady ferns are in the back, along the fence, and they are sleeping right now.

Everything looks sort of ratty and sad right now but I'll trim back the trampled and brown fronds once the new growth starts to come up. And then I'll follow Laurrie's other advice to plant a Dart's Gold ninebark to brighten up this corner, a gro-low sumac (Rhus aromatica 'Gro-Low'), and to move the hellebores into the foreground.

It looks just like a ninebark!

And then I get to redesign the side entrance to the yard, from where I borrowed all these ferns. Hooray! Thank you Laurrie, and thank you everyone who lends gardening advice to me. I really appreciate it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Our little box is a naked box.

Today the tree trimmers came to prune up the dogwood in front and the cedar in back. I think I've established that I don't know what I'm doing when I prune, so I hired out. While they were here they took away the rhodies and the azalea.




Oh shit.

I had a moment of panic when I saw the cedar (so naked! where are her petticoats!?) but I'm getting used to it now. The plants underneath are all shade-loving plants but I think they'll be okay. They'll get a little more water this winter and the fence should get a little more sun, which means it might not rot as quickly.

The guy pruned up the andromeda (Pieris japonica, just to the right of the bamboo) after I told him I wanted to rip it out. He basically told me that I was crazy and that it just needed to be prettified. And I think maybe that silly hippy was right.

I guess we should get rid of that huge dirt pile (which I call "the neighborhood cat toilet") that formed while I was digging the rain garden. Next week the guys come to grind out the stumps and I will officially have a clean slate out front. Hooray!