Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Bye, Bye Arborvitae
Up until a few weeks ago, this was my view every time I left the house. From the first day we moved in, I have wanted to remove the Arborvitae that was at the front of our house. I sort of wanted to tear it out as my first act of gardening...sort of asserting my dominance to the yard. For some reason, however, my partner was fond of the shrub, and since her practically never expresses any sort of interest in the garden, I decided to let him keep it. A few years have gone by, during which time I thought I'd grow to love and accept the shrub. I didn't. I grew to resent it more and more. It took up space, blocked light and was generally, well, boring. Yes it was evergreen...but I decided a better term would be "ever-boring". It didn't do anything but sit there...taking up precious real-estate (and during winter, getting me wet everytime I tried to squeeze past it.)
Luckily, my partner has come to agree with me that it's just out of scale...and really feels separate from the rest of the garden. Last month, we finally decided to cut it down! It went pretty fast, but wasn't the most pleasant of operations (it didn't help that we decided to do it on a blazing hot day). We cut off the branches one by one, then finally attacked the stump. I have to admit, we will probably have to get someone else to remove the stump at some point...it's a little beyond us to get it out at this time!
Voila! Here's the same view as the above, sans Arborvitae! I have to admit, I was a little worried I'd feel exposed when walking up and down the path, the shrub provided quite a bit of a barrier. I needn't have worried, apart from feeling exposed, the path to the house feels far less crowded and claustrophobic. It helps that the same day we cut down this shrub, we pruned back all the others as well.
We've moved the birdbath to the new open spot temporarily...until we can have the stump removed and plant something in its spot. It's become quite popular, if not with birds, at least with the neighborhood cats, who find it irresistible.
Another before and after...this shot shows the view of the house with the Arborvitae.
And now without. I'm excited to finally be able to integrate this part of the garden, as before, the shrubs proved to be a bit of a visual (and physical) barrier.
The day after removing the Arborvitae, I finally bucked up and admitted the Rodgersias that had been just to the right of the shrub were not happy. They were fine during our cool, wet springs, but very, VERY unhappy during our warm, windy summers. In spite of the fact that we had (for the most part) a very mild summer, and even though I watered them like a crazy person, their leaves were still scorching badly. I moved them all into the shade (this shot shows the area they vacated). and decided to replace them with plants that would appreciate the sun.
I replaced the Rodgersias with several Panicum, a new variety I found at Portland Nursery this summer, 'Blood Brothers'. I was totally smitten with their coloring (blue-ish foliage that develops red tints). I also popped in a few Persicaria 'Firetail' I got on sale. I can't wait to see them bulk up next year, I think they'll be a great counterpoint to the billowing blue mounds of Geranium 'Rozanne' in front of them.
With Fall approaching, I always get the itch to re-think the garden and move things around...our mild winters make it the best time to transplant things...are any of you making changes this fall?