I began tackling the misshapen hedge that runs along the street on the south side of our property a few weeks ago. Oddly, half the hedge to the right side of our driveway is constructed of Xylosma congestum while the other half is comprised of what I think is Pittosporum eugeniodes. It's the latter portion of the hedge that's in poor condition. Clearly, for many years, gardeners have shorn both sections of hedge on the top and sides. While that seems to do a fine job maintaining the appearance of the Xylosma, it has left the Pittosporum a twiggy mess with most of the new growth at the top. I tried cutting a couple of the 9 Pittosporum back hard last year and the regrowth looked much better to my eye so, this year, I cut back all 9 shrubs.
|Hedge before pruning, photographed from the back side|
|Hedge after pruning, photographed from the lawn above|
|Hedge after pruning, photographed from the street side|
Hopefully, I haven't just made matters worse. It looks very naked now and the area beyond the hedge is all too visible from the street but, if last year's experience is a guide, it should fill in within a few months. In the meantime, I'm looking for plants to place in front of the hedge. Behind it, along the top of the interior stack stone wall below the Ceanothus, I've already planted Liriope spicata, Liriope muscari 'Variegata' and Aeonium.
|Newly planted Liriope, along with some self-seeded Santa Barbara daisy|
|New cuttings of Aeonium (A. arboreum, I think)|
The Aeonium arboreum rosettes shown in the picture above were cut from existing plants and simply stuck into the ground. I've produced many large, branched clumps of these Aeoniums from a few cuttings given to me by a good friend shortly after we moved into the house 3 years ago.
|Clump of Aeonium arboreum grown from earlier cuttings|
The second project of the year kicked off when my husband finally got around to dismantling the "snorkel spa" in the backyard (previously discussed here).
|Photo of "snorkel spa" taken last January|
|Space after the main portion of the spa was removed last week|
|The stone gravel left behind after the spa's removal|
You can't tell it from the picture above but the base of gravel underneath the spa we had to remove was about 6 inches (15 centimeters) deep. I used some of it to fill shallow spots in the vegetable garden, previously lined using only gravel I'd dug up out of garden beds throughout the property. (As our site was once part of a rock quarry, I uncover rocks whenever and wherever I dig.)
|Gravel-filled pathways between the raised vegetable beds|
My husband, with some help from me, used the rest of the gravel to cover the pathway behind the garage.
|No more mud behind the garage!|
As there's now a good-sized empty space in the backyard, my husband assumed that I'd immediately get started on planting; however, I need to get a load of topsoil in first and, before we do that, I announced that it would be prudent to take out the section of lawn I'd already identified for removal in the backyard. I drew the lines of the new border earlier this week and my husband installed new bender board to delineate it.
|I intend to treat the 8 foot wide grass area between the border on the right and the new border on the left as a pathway|
|The bender board around the fountain will be removed once the sod between it and the new bender board has been dug out|
My husband wants to handle digging up the sod himself rather than call in reinforcements. We're using some of the sod he removes to fill in holes in the remaining lawn.
|The grass removed from alongside the backyard patio was used to fill in the space formerly occupied by stepping stones to the spa|
It'll be awhile before the new areas can be planted but that gives me time to figure out how I'll knit these areas together with the existing borders. In the meantime, there's always the empty space in front of the hedge to plant.