In praise of limbing up
So, my big garden goal of the year is to get the beds less jungly and clean up, clean out and restore order. Along the way, I'm taking out perennials and adding shrubs So far it's going well and I'm enjoying the progress. Lesson one is that simply removing plants here and there does a great job in restoring that calming look that I'm after. That's an easy and cheap solution, score!
Lesson two is the value of limbing up in changing the feel of a spot. I first learned this from a golden willow that people warned me not to plant due to its messiness. True enough, the trunks grow ugly sprouts and suckers and the whole thing becomes a thicket. Unless. Unless you start limbing it up so that the trunks become an asset. Now this stately willow is the overseer of the back of the garden, casting shade, defining the path, and offering a very inviting shape that sort of "cups" the bed in front of it.
Picasa added this filter, which is sort of cool, so I'll share it. (The grey strips on the edges of the path are awaiting rock trim.)
The next limbing up project was inadvertent. It's a serviceberry that itself was a tangle and the matted mess of poorly-performing perennials at its feet didn't help. I whacked out all the perennials and started cleaning up the structure of the shrub. For some reason, this is an incredibly enjoyable task, so I kept on going.
Viola, the shrub has really pretty bark and structure. Who knew? There are two new groundcover honeysuckles planted in the newly-cleared space and a native clematis will someday scramble up those pretty trunks.
Exhibit 3, a rosa glauca that overgrew its space. By a lot! (But the tag says 5-6 feet tall!) DH was really sick of it and it just looked like a mop, so we went after it. I thought we were going to end up butchering it, but again, it came out OK. It's not the most picturesque spot in our yard but the pruning really improved things.
So, that was a nice lesson leaned for me. An overgrown tangle can become a cool little nook, with no digging and no money spent!