Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Less is more...

Winter removed more than a few things from our garden. Probably the largest was the Acacia dealbata, and no, it's not coming back from the roots (yet?). I've also caused a few things to disappear. I previously wrote about the removal of a Magnolia laevifolia. Painful as it was. Hold on to your pants because it's about to get really crazy...

I cut down a perfectly healthy Arctostaphylos...that one with a slight lean just to the left of the front door (photo from September of 2016)...

Looking at this "after" image the front garden hardly looks empty, right? But page up and you can see the difference.

Why did I do such a dastardly deed? Well besides the fact the front garden was beginning to feel like a forest (a cool forest, but still...things were a little "intense"), this poor Dasylirion wheeleri was being shaded out and starting to be smashed. Which was just not acceptable.

See how happy it is now?

But back to the poor Arctostaphylos (A. densiflora ‘Sentinel’ if you want to know specifics). It was at the beginning of May when we cut it down and hauled it back to the (then empty) patio. It was kind of amazing how much bigger it was. Seriously, I had no idea how large it had grown until I saw it here, in an "enclosed" space.

So why did we haul it back to the patio? Well that would have been the perfect place to gradually chop it up and put it in the yard waste container, but that's not what I had in mind...

Visiting the Miller Garden just north of Seattle (in 2013) left its mark on me. One of the strongest impressions was of an Arctostaphylos that had died, but been left in place. Symbolically I like the idea, but even aesthetically it was a huge win. The dark bark of the dead shrub was every bit as powerful as a living one...

Sure it won't ever do the once annual shed...

Which is remarkable.

But that bark is still quite gorgeous, as is.

I just needed to do a little foliage, and small stem, removal.

Then it was put in place, center feature in the stock tank to the side of the shade pavilion.

There used to be a pair of large Tetrapanax in the tank, however a plugged drainage hole resulted in root rot. And while the Tetrapanax will definitely make a return (as you may notice, it already is) there needed to be another focal point until then...

It's been interesting watching the changing sun angle and how it illuminates this corner. The dead Arcto had been lit in the evening, up until recently when the sun is now behind a neighbor's tree for most of the afternoon and evening.

Still, that bark!

I might try accessorizing it with a little Tillandsia usneoides, you know, to draw the eye.

Or maybe not.

We'll see. Either way I love that this plant, grown from just a 2ft tall skinny whip, lives on even after it's ceased to live...

Weather Diary, July 10: Hi 78, Low 57/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

34 comments:

  1. I gasped when I read that you had cut it down. You found a fabulous use for the trunk though. Unusually for me, I prefer it unadorned.

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    1. Evidently you weren't alone in that gasping response, I seem to have surprised a few. I'm still trying to decide about the "adorning"... although maybe I should take a hint from my own title for this post?

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  2. YES! Inspiration from way back can come in handy, plus it eases any remorse or guilt still lingering. I love the look and color contrast.

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    1. Guilt, oh my the guilt. I had an upset stomach for most of the day after we cut it down...

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  3. That bark is pretty stunning, and I'm glad you found a new use for the trunk.

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  4. We just visited a garden with a dead tree looking fabulous in a border. Yours looks terrific. We took out those three infested trees, two shrubs dying from shade, a shrub in the wrong place that could not be replanted as there is no right place for it in this garden. Major tree limb pruning by Mark has been going on. I am much more positive about taking things out and rethinking the new space than I used to be. I think it is because usually it turns out to have been smart to remove whatever it was, even if it is a bit of a shock initially.

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    1. It sure was a shock initially. The front garden felt so empty!!!

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  5. There is a lot of beautiful movement in those gorgeous, dark branches. That was a brilliant idea, and you seem to have a lot of them!

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  6. Nice that it has an afterlife of sorts. 'Sentinel' lives on in a lot of other gardens, so it's not lost.

    Having it uplit at night would be a nifty effect.

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    1. Indeed it would. It's a long way from any power source though...

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  7. When I first read what you'd cut down I gasped, and even had a moment of resentment against that innocent Dasylirion. Manzanitas are just about my favorite western plant.

    Your use of it elsewhere, though, makes clear you also recognize its exceptional beauty. That Tetrapanax can take its sweet time regrowing as far as I'm concerned!

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    1. I should have mentioned there are three more Manzanita still growing in the front garden, does that help?

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  8. What a great idea. And I love the Spanish moss.

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  9. You, as always, made the right choice in cutting this down and what you did with the beautiful remains is striking! Come edit my garden okay?

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    1. Pulease! Your garden needs no editing.

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  10. Beautiful house.
    I loved the pictures.
    Janicce./Brasil/RS

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  11. Love what you've done with the tree! At first I thought you were going to paint it a shocking color...which would have been crazy! It looks good as is.

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    1. Oh gosh...no way I could have put paint over that natural beauty!

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  12. My brother's wife is asking me for manzanita wood, apparently it's great for underwater, and she wants some branches for her water garden. I'm trying to get some from The Ruth Bancroft Garden, where I volunteer, but it's not the right time to prune here.

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    1. Interesting, I had no idea. I have a couple chunks a friend gave me (for use in propping up that very plant I cut down), one is currently being used to keep a leaning (thanks to the winter ice load) Tetrapanax upright. Maybe I'll use the other in a planting.

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  13. I winced a little at the thought of you're taking it down but it does look like a fabulous piece of art.

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    1. And gives the other plants so much more light!

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  14. That bark! That bark! No matter what you do with it, it will look dramatic and amazing. :)

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  15. I love the idea of reusing the removed tree. It would be such a waste to just chop it up and throw it out. The bark color is lovely.

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    1. I can't imagine just throwing it out, what a waste!

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  16. I like it! Very creative. There's a 10' length of Eastern Red Cedar that got knocked off the neighbor's tree and landed in our yard. I stripped it down some and attached it to the back fence. Nice perch for the birds but it doesn't look nearly as nice as your ex-tree. I'm trying to get Dutchman's Piple to grow up it.

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    1. Oh what you've done sounds fabulous!

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  17. Thank you for accepting me into your blog audience. I love reading about your garden. My photos I took there are some of the best of our whole Portland trip. I would like to post them on Facebook, if that's okay with you. Best, Lee

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    1. Thrilled to have briefly had you both here in my garden! I would love to see your photos, post on!

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