Friday, November 4, 2016

Current Project: Addressing the Hedge Conundrum

I inherited a LOT of hedges with our current garden, including hedges next to other hedges as in the case of the Ceanothus and Xylosma planted in the front and back gardens.

Photo of the side-by-side Ceanothus and Xylosma hedges in April 2013, when the former was in far better shape.  The space between the two was just over 3 feet wide.

As discussed in a post in October 2015, the Ceanothus shrubs throughout the garden began to fail in 2015.  I can't entirely explain this.  They have a reputation for being short-lived when grown in areas receiving regular irrigation but, if anything, the irrigation in the area decreased after we moved in, especially once the adjacent lawn was removed and water restrictions were implemented in response to our drought.  Perhaps the shrubs weren't as deeply rooted as they should have been after years of more intensive irrigation, or perhaps they couldn't handle the regular shearing they received to keep them within the space designated for them.  In any case, they died off one after another in the front garden, leading me to wonder if I should just pull out the remainder.  But I hung on to the last of them until I could stand their ugly appearance no longer.

Photo of the remaining section of Ceanothus hedge in the front garden taken last month

This is a closer look at the worst area of the remaining hedge.  At this point, I was convinced that the shrubs weren't going to mount a comeback.


I asked my mow-and-blow gardeners if they could take out the remaining shrubs but, when they made minimal progress during two of their 20-minute weekly visits, my husband and I tackled the job.  My husband deserves most of the credit - I served mainly as the clean-up crew.  We made quick work of the job and, voilà, in less than 2 hours we were done!

The pathway parallel to the street is now far less claustrophobic and I have a new area to plant.




The plants behind the old Ceanothus hedge may also get more sun and better air circulation.



The "new" area is roughly half shade and half sun.  I'm still working out what to plant there.  The ground above the stacked stone wall is sloped so I think I need another supply of rock to stabilize it before I get too carried away buying new plants.  Having new space to plant is a great mood booster, though.


All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

20 comments:

  1. You two did a great job! It's too bad to lose the ceanothus, but I would agree that improved air circulation is likely to be a boon. And the whole area may make more sense visually now. How wide is the new planting space?

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    1. It's about 5 feet wide by 15 feet long, although the space is irregularly shaped in spots. Some Agapanthus were planted under a section of the Ceanothus, which we left in place, at least for now.

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  2. Oh, goody! I love it when new space opens up - creativity gets a boost!

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    1. While I'm sad to have lost the Ceanothus, I'm happy to be able to put my own stamp on the design of the space.

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  3. That looks so much better. I wonder what the purpose of the double hedge was?

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    1. My best guess is that the 2 hedges were put in by different owners of the property with different perspectives on privacy, Jessica. The Ceanothus didn't offer much in the way of screening, whereas the taller Xylosma hides much of the property from public view.

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  4. Looking good and congratulations on your new planting areas. Please remember, everyone always needs more rock....at least that is what I tell myself.

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    1. Well, we brought home another 860 lbs of rock today! As I need only a little more than half of that for the new area, I've got rock to spare. I'm already eyeing ways to use the excess in the succulent garden on our south side.

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  5. partial shade looks encouraging. Morning sun and afternoon shade?

    Double hedge must have been a double mission to keep trimmed.

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    1. That area faces west so unfortunately it's mostly morning shade and afternoon sun, Diana. As I no longer have any lawn to mow, the principal obligation of the gardeners is to trim the hedges. Even now, we still have a LOT of hedges in need of regular trimming.

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  6. Yes! A new area to plant! That double hedge was so weird, glad it's gone. Will you be trying anything new that you've never grown before?

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    1. I've had vague fantasies of planting Metrosideros 'Springfire' there but I'm afraid it would overwhelm the space and I like the sense of openness we got by taking out the hedge. I'm probably going to move the Leucadendron 'Safari Goldstrike' I picked up earlier in the year and stuck in a pot there but, beyond that, I'm leaning toward more ornamental grasses (maybe Bouteloua 'Blonde Ambition' and Festuca Californica) and succulents of course.

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  7. The "after"is much better. Now you can do your own thing without having to work around something you didn't really love.

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    1. I loved the Ceanothus in the abstract but, for whatever the reason, the reality wasn't all that attractive.

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  8. Planting space! Darn it, now you'll have to go plant shopping.

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    1. As if lack of space has ever stopped me! My first step (after placement of more rocks to support the front slope) has been digging up and dividing Agapanthus, which was more strenuous work than expected.

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  9. Hi Kris, I much prefer the single hedge for the reasons you stated: More sun and air to the Xylosma hedges and a new planting area. It seems with every garden loss there comes opportunity for something better. Have fun!

    By the way, I appreciated your last comment on my blog. I can't imagine a 6-year drought. I wonder if the area you live in was once a desert and is now seeking to reclaim itself!

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    1. Well, California is a big state and part of it is desert but coastal California has long been classified as a true Mediterranean climate. How long our current drought will last is anybody's guess. Some people have predicted this could be the start of the feared megadrought; however, a recent report in the LA Times claimed that 25% of California is no longer considered in a drought. Unfortunately, that doesn't include SoCal or food-producing central California, which is bad news for all of us as California is the nation's largest supplier of fruits and vegetables. The Dust Bowl of the 1930s lasted a decade - I hope we don't go that long!

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  10. I like it better with the single hedge and a more space to plant is always a good thing! Can't wait to see what you decide to put there!

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    1. I'm already on my way in the plant department but more shopping is required!

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