There’s something about cutting down – deliberately lopping and sawing to death – a healthy living plant, that doesn’t sit well with me. I’m sure every gardener on the planet understands the torment that’s born of killing a plant that someone somewhere might value. But I’m also sure that every gardener on the planet understands the euphoria that comes with making a significant change involving new planting opportunities.
Yesterday I continued what I started two years ago and took out more of the foundation plantings that were here when we bought the place. It’s quite likely that they’ve been here since the house was built in the late 50’s. These venerable shrubberies include(d) several of some kind of chamaecyparis that had formerly been bubble shape sheared, 2 hollies, a male and female – also formerly sheared, and some token hydrangeas – which are, incidentally, very popular amongst the Azorean population of Bristol. I kind of love them for that. Z hates them for bad associations involving digging and saving some for persnickity clients. – Being a carpenter, not gardener, this was regarded as a ridonculous request. In any case, they are all outie and I, so far, have not tried to dig any up to passalong to someone else. Part of the reason for that is that the roots of each are now miles beneath a thick layer of rock mulch, shredded landscape cloth and disintegrated bark mulch. No mulch of which has had the muscle in near years to thwart the bittersweet (and chickweed) which would inevitably be donated along with any good deed.
I object to the foundation plantings on the grounds of … they’re not Me. When I drive up to the house I want to see my own stuff and make way for changes even if we can’t get to them yet. We see a porch with a generous stoop on that side of the house and imagine watching the sunset from out there, drinking tea or martinis with our feet up on a bit of rail. With the shrubberies gone, we’ll have more bare-naked incentive to get a move on. And meanwhile, there are plenty of giant temporary tender perennials I could plunk in that I’d rather look at than cringe inducing shrubbery. And it will feel more like Me even if (or maybe especially if) it’s kind of a mess.
I’m trying to justify the wanton killing. I tried to remember to thank the shubberies for their valiant attempts to hide the concrete and anchor the house to the yard but by the time I got to the first holly I just hacked with abandon. I’ve still got a ways to go but it already feels so much better – even though it looks like sh*#. I’m all for making my own mistakes now.
Have you deliberately killed any healthy plants just because they weren’t You? Do the guilty feelings linger?