Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rangy Old Shrubs, and How to Destroy Them

My house didn't just come with huge, beautiful flowering trees and camellias, it also came with some awful-looking rangy old shrubs, all of which were planted fairly close to our weak and problematic foundation. We're talking things that couldn't be rehabilitated, like this hideous holly to the right:
We tried to dig some of them out with pointy shovels, pick-axes, etc., but these suckers were there before I moved in and had no intentions of leaving. We eventually decided that the only way to get them out would be to dig around the rootball as much as we could, and pull them out with a truck or come-along. Unfortunately, that was too dangerous for both our bumpers and our aforementioned weak foundation, under which the roots of the rangy shrubs had grown. So how did the bed in the picture above come to look like the bed in the picture below?

We gave up and cut off the trunk of the holly with a saw, as close to the ground as possible, then covered it with mulch! Tricky, huh?! And you'd never know!
I planted a dwarf gardenia next to where the stump is, and added a bunch of gifted and passalong perennials to the bed (mums and lambs ears from mom, bulbs from Lesley, bulbs and daylilies from Lynn, and bearded irises from Katherine). The lambs ears are enjoying their new home:
And the rose bush (with its first bud of 2009) is no longer hidden by the holly:
Wasn't it a travesty to have this beauty hidden from the street by that holly?


Anonymous said...

Very nice work. I hope the roots don't sprout any new growth from the holly either. It does look better and the rose is beautiful.

Ginger said...

Thank you! It's been about 9 months since we cut down the holly, and no sprouts yet. I have been pleasantly surprised by that! It was astounding how deep and extensive the roots were, though, so holly babies are liable to pop up SOMEWHERE- Hopefully in the yard across the walkway where I can just mow them down!

Randy Emmitt said...

I cut back some hollies like that, now they are 2 foot tall. I've used my work van to pull many a shrub, you want to make sure you tie it real good and that the rope or chain is very strong, I know people that have broken out their back windows doing this.

Dirt Princess said...

I will probably be yanking my hideous boxwoods out soon. Luckily for me I have the means to jerk them out. It will probably tear up my grass...but considering I hate it too...who cares. I hope this works for you! Have a great weekend

Ginger said...

Randy - you have to admire the tenacity of these shrubs!

DP - you have a good weekend, too. Maybe you can salvage your rangy shrubs and give them to someone else -- you know many people love those boxwoods :)