10 April 2009

Extreme Home Make-over "Garden Edition" - before...

I had a lot of trees replaced/added Thursday in our "Operation: Keep the Garden Alive" project. Evidently, we had trees literally committing suicide (I guess they heard that I could kill a silk plant and decided to not wait for the inevitable?). The guy with the tree service (I'll call him "Bryan"...because that's his name) told me, before the excavation began, that my trees most likely had been put in the ground incorrectly. When trees are grown in containers, as many nursery specimens are, the root systems curl around within the pot as they have no where to go. When planted, the roots should be loosened, even hacked off to a certain extent, and then planted in loamy soil so the roots can grow out instead of continuing to "swirl". Well, mine weren't and they did. When the holly trees were dug up (wish I'd taken a photo of this), the roots were literally strangling the life out of the plant. Hence, suicidal trees. I decided to replace all four hollies as they were crooked from Hurricane Ike, required complete replanting (dugging up, hacking the roots, replanting, restaking) and then there wasn't a good prognosis they'd even make it after that was done. And the cost to do this vs. replacing them was about $200. So I opted for new trees WITH one year warranty.

I may be agriculturally challenged but I do know a good shopping deal when I see one.

In the photo below (taken last December), you can see the holly trees and how sparse they look. At three years of age, they should be lush and full, not "transparent". They reminded me of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree a bit...

The area behind the pool was pretty bad too. We had blue junipers and they don't do well in humid environments (hello!!! Original landscaper guys???? WHY did you not tell me this???) They were full of brown patches and had mites.

Above: this area around the bay window of the master bedroom was "okay" but needed some "oomph" (as in taller trees!) I do like the sunbathing penquin on the rock however...

I left the wisteria "as is" - I love how it literally free forms everywhere, and soon it will have fragrant deep purple blossoms hanging heavy, with hummingbirds and butterflies "on holiday".

The remainder of the trees (Italian Cypress, lacy-bark elms, oaks) were treated by radial pruning of the root systems, restaked and deep fed. And I added 3 tall Neches Crape Myrtles, 3 Forest Pansy Redbuds and replaced the holly trees with Japanese Yews. Today I'm just showing the "BEFORE" photos and later on I'll show the "AFTERS". I'm heading to Pflugerville today (should be packing instead of doing blogging but oh well...) so I don't know if I'll get the photos of the "Extreme Home Yard Makeover" taken before I leave or not


We ended up transplanting the Dr. Suess tree to the bay window area because the sprinkler system and pool equipment pipes got in the way of symmetrical planting of the (originally planned) crapes either side of the window. Below you can get a better look at Senior Penquin and his siesta!

Yes indeed, that is a dead Japanese Boxwood.

Shock...botanically speaking that is....and in a later post, awe!


Cote de Texas said...

your back yard is so beautiful - where is it exactly - there are no neighbors anywhere? is it on a green belt?????

Megan said...

You might be surprised that some of us would love to have an "after" that looks like your "before". :)

...But of course you wouldn't be surprised because you have seen our untamed jungle in the back. :)