Our next door neighbor has been asking me for advice about all the overgrown shrubbery on their property, so on Mother’s Day I went over with my little bypass pruners to offer a little show and tell.
This young family bought the house a few years ago from an eccentric widow who had long since given up on gardening and the crew she employed did little beyond mowing. There are Chinese privet (planted by the birds) towering over the garage, holly bushes trying to eat the house, and Leyland cypress covering some of the windows in their climb to the clouds. Where to start?!
With neighbor’s husband away for the afternoon, she and I decided to tackle the front shrubbery in the planting island, but it quickly became apparent that my bypass pruners and I were out of our league.
We called for Dearly Beloved.
After embarrassing him with my post about the Mad Pruner and the Camellia catastrophe a few days ago, I should not have been surprised that he was reluctant to participate. Before he agreed, he brought the neighbor over and showed her the naked stumps of the camellias which are on the other side of our house. He made sure there was full disclosure of his talents before he’d proceed.
She was unswayed. Bring it on.
He didn’t have to be asked again.
I didn’t think to take a photo of the BEFORE, but perhaps this will give you a general idea. There WAS an original landscape design plan, I think, butchered for decades by poor or non-existent pruning. The Lorapetalums, I think, were meant to be a low ruby hedge framing the azaleas in the middle of the front island, but they’d grown head high and were suffocating the showier plants within. The homeowners couldn’t even see the azaleas from inside the house and passersby could barely see the house from the street–all because of the overgrown, woody Lorapetalums.
Maybe this winter photo will explain. (I took it one night for the snow scene, not to explain the landscaping.) The lorapetalums are on the outside and the smaller plants in the middle of the bed are azaleas. The little meatballs along the driveway are the same ruby lorapetalums, but I cut those back–with permission of the former owner– because they had spread onto our driveway and were scratching our cars. The landscape crew meatballs them. So much for the framing low hedge.
Dearly Beloved went to work with his pruners and clippers–regular, super, and superduper. An hour or so of unrestrained cutting without so much as a peep from the women. I admit it: the planting island looked better immediately.
The city yard waste crew needed a large truck.
The neighbors love it, their family loves it, and the other neighbors appreciate it. Impatiens already bloom in the bare spots, now that they finally have room to plant some flowers.
DB happened to be outside when a passerby stopped to tell our neighbor how nice it looked. Neighbor pointed to the hero. Pruner Extraordinaire is his new title.
Maybe the Lorapetalums will grow back to be properly hedged–which is why he left the stumps at that height–but even like this, the site is much improved.
Can you imagine how all this is playing over here? Dearly Beloved feels completely vindicated, heady with success and the compliments from strangers. He’s not even whining about his back hurting.
The neighbors have asked him to come back again for more hands-on advice for the rest of the yard now.
Heaven help us. . . They want him to bring his chain saw.