But that's my version of "the dog ate my homework." This month's foliage follow-up, prepared in connection with the monthly meme hosted by Pam at Digging, is focused on hedges, specifically our front hedge. Hedges of Xylosma congestum surround our property on three sides. There are other hedges as well but the Xylosma constructions are by far the most attractive and the most easily maintained.
|Xylosma congestum hedge on the northwest edge of our property|
While the hedge on the north side of the driveway consists of a continuous stretch of Xylosma shrubs, this wasn't true on the southwest side. Half that hedge consisted of Xylosma and the other half of Auranticarpa rhombifolia (formerly classified as Pittosporum rhombifolium). The latter was in bad shape when we moved in and I tried to prune it into shape. Some of the shrubs succumbed after being cut back and some succumbed later without my help, leaving a huge gap.
|The hedge on the southwest side of the driveway, showing the large gap left following die-back and removal of several Auranticarpa shrubs|
|The same gap shown from the main level of the front garden looking down toward the street|
Following my initial pruning efforts, I began planting succulents in front of the Auranticarpa. They flourished but I didn't like the way the hedge abruptly ended and the area behind the succulent bed was exposed to the street. I began looking into hedge alternatives and for a time considered having my husband build me wooden screens to fill the blank spots. Then another Auranticarpa shrub died and still another went into decline. My husband eventually convinced me that it made more sense to extend the existing Xylosma hedge. He dug out the huge stumps left behind by the dead Auranticarpa and I relocated some succulents. I remain concerned that the Xylosma may encroach upon some of the remaining succulents but hopefully we'll be able to strike a balance.
|The new shrubs in place|
|The stake is a placeholder for the fifth Xylosma shrub, which we have on order with our local garden center|
Xylosma is reported to be fast-growing. It can get very big and, had I no prior experience with this plant as hedge material, I'd have been scared off by some of the reports posted on-line but, in the 5 years we've been here, there's been no problem keeping it within bounds with regular pruning. However, even with the addition of 5 new shrubs, we won't have a continuous expanse of Xylosma along the west side of the property. Four Auranticarpa remain, at least for now.
You can find more foliage follow-up posts by visiting Pam at Digging.
All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party