Landscape Design forum→Overgrown garden/trees?

Views: 151, Replies: 3 » Jump to the end
Name: Bria
Northern VA (Zone 7a)
Image
Bschmuck
Apr 20, 2021 9:24 AM CST
What should I do here? This is a circular garden at the end of my driveway next to the sidewalk.

There is a dogwood at the center (which I love and hope will stay forever). There are gigantic bizarrely shaped, albeit gorgeous, azaleas that are stretched in odd ways trying to get sun, I suppose. The trunks are like tree trunks. They invade the sidewalk and have to be cut often. There's a miniature rosebush in there somewhere cause I can see them peeking out the top reaching for light. The ground is hosta and vinca and English ivy.

There is a giant holly-ish tree that in the past appears to have been topped to keep it bush-like and from growing up into the dogwood like it is now. This tree is sharp, invades the driveway and all the other plants, and is home to a bunch of nuisance house sparrows. BUT it offers nice privacy from the road and passersby on the sidewalk.

Every spring pedestrians stop and take pictures in front of it, cars stop with phone cameras out. It's gorgeous, but it's unmanageable.

Is there a way to clean this up without ruining it?
Thumb of 2021-04-20/Bschmuck/1e99c5


Thumb of 2021-04-20/Bschmuck/4418fc

Name: Peggy
Temple, TX (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Deer Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bluebonnets Irises Lilies
Image
Peggy8b
Jun 7, 2021 4:00 PM CST
I think the holly needs to be your target. It's blocking/crowding everything. For me, part of the beauty of dogwood is the trunk and your holly obscures it almost completely unless standing way back from it.

We have had monstrous, vicious hollies at every single house we have lived in that former owners just let go to do as they wished. They are aggressive plants and want to take over every inch of space available. We just arm ourselves with heavy long sleeved shirts, jeans and leather gloves. We use a bow saw, small chain saw if need be, and loppers. We have totally removed 15' round 5-point holly we couldn't stand to get near. We have cut back 2/3 growth off bushes over 12' in diameter and as tall.

They look really bare/ugly right after they are cut back, often just the central trunk left, but they shoot out really fast, too. Ours at this house, planted by a former owner, had to be cut off my driveway as well as the front flower bed it was planted beside because it was overtaking our best location for our city trash cans and blocking 1/3 of the front of my house. I did want to keep it, if only to hide the trash cans, so we decided to just cut that one back a lot (circled in yellow below). Two others to the right of this one (circled in red below) we totally took out as they completely blocked access to the window for cleaning.
Thumb of 2021-06-07/Peggy8b/4542a4
As can be seen in the old photo above, all 3 hollies on the left of the entrance were very large. Photo below doesn't do justice to the size issue we faced. They were monsters!

We cut back severely to just the main hardwood trunks pretty much, with just leaves up at the top of branches. I figured if we killed it, I didn't care; if it lived, it would fill out to a more manageable size for future maintenance. It filled out in 2-4 weeks with new shoots popping out all up and down the bare trunks. It looks much better now from the street and doesn't hide 1/3 of the front of my house! Before the cut back, workmen wouldn't get near the thing to work on the house, electrical, gutters or roof in that area. Couldn't blame them........we wouldn't either!

I've circled the worst offender after cutback in this photo. Before cutback, it blocked the entire brick wall left of the window. (circled in this photo taken after our severe pruning)
Thumb of 2021-06-07/Peggy8b/5d8d7f
I've just this spring planted two red Mandevilla on a trellis (below) that will fill this area in due time without trying to kill me when it is neared. For home security of this window (why the holly was installed there I'm sure), I've planted 5 1'-2' tall groundcover Meidiland White roses which I can get around much easier if I have to. They're not in this photo yet as they had not yet arrived.
Thumb of 2021-06-07/Peggy8b/87d6bc

I think once you cut the holly to a nice, respectable roundish considerably lower bush, the dogwood will show off nicer, the azaleas will be more visable and easier to shape. The bed on the other side, you can play around with until you get it the way you want. Clearly shade-loving plants will be needed there.




My low-carb recipe website: www.buttoni.wordpress.com
[Last edited by Peggy8b - Jun 7, 2021 4:01 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2524639 (2)
Name: Bria
Northern VA (Zone 7a)
Image
Bschmuck
Jun 7, 2021 7:40 PM CST
@Peggy8b thank you so much for your thoughtful reply! I really enjoy your pictures for reference. Your gardens are lovely and complement your gorgeous home so well.

I think we have a plan along the lines of your suggestion, and it's gonna be drastic. I think the holly is gonna go completely.

As the season has progressed there is more to this garden bed than I thought. There is honeysuckle in it! I wonder if that was planted. There is a seriously buried rosebush that is growing up in the weirdest way over the holly tree. It's going to be interesting to see what all is actually in that mess.
Name: Peggy
Temple, TX (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Deer Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bluebonnets Irises Lilies
Image
Peggy8b
Jun 8, 2021 2:45 PM CST
You're quite welcome, Bria. I know about weird buried rose bushes. I have one of those to dig up and move myself. LOL Lady before me here was a Master Gardener, yet she planted rose bushes on top of Liriopes, Crepe Myrtles in totally shady spots so they get mildew often, an Althea (Rose '0 Sharon) tree in total shade so it never blooms, and the invasive type of bamboo Nandina EVERYWHERE, sending out runner to beat the band. So much for Master Gardeners, is all I can say. She waaaaaaay overplanted this dinky yard. I'm a novice gardener and I'm having to deal with all her ill-thought-out planting decisions every season. I just tackle one small project at a time: a prune, a move, a total shrub removal. Just took out 3 trees this year before the Texas freeze. That event killed off 4-5 other shrubs totally. So nursing sick plants and replacing losses are a priority right now. I'm 5 years into this yard and STILL don't have my front yard like I want it. All I can say is hang in there. My motto has become "Do what you can today and the rest will be waiting there for you tomorrow". :)
My low-carb recipe website: www.buttoni.wordpress.com
[Last edited by Peggy8b - Jun 8, 2021 6:34 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2525439 (4)

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Landscape Design forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Member Login:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by ge1836 and is called "Dwarf Iris Spare Change"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.