Interesting Post on my Facebook Page
The gardener who posted this photo asked this question:
“Hi Neil – should the two hollies be removed, or trimmed to look like shorter bushes vs. trees? From the street they block much of the front gable view. But I love how the birds and lizards find refuge in them.”
Here was my reply:
“Yikes! No way I’m going to come out a winner tackling this pair of questions/photo posts. So, I’ll just say what I’d do if I moved into your house — just remember that what I’m writing is only one hack horticulturist’s opinion. Everyone’s landscape needs to reflect his or her needs and personality. That said, I’d probably try to get a somewhat less formal look. I’d let the dwarf yaupons go for this season without any additional shearing. They will develop into lovely little tufts of greenery. And yes on trimming the tall hollies back just a bit – perhaps by 20 percent. Do so with hand pruners and lopping shears, and again, try to let them have a more natural shape. The one part in which I personally would make a more major change would be in the shrubs against the rail, elaeagnus, I believe. While I really like them as landscape shrubs, they’re quite large for that amount of space. (They normally grow to be 6 or 8 feet tall and 8 or 10 feet wide.) I would be thinking about taking them out and putting compact nandina (Nandina domestica ‘Compacta’) into the right-most one-third of the bed, and then a few short to knee-high annuals or perennials into the rest. Better yet, maybe three or five fairly large decorative pots to hold the flowers and a low groundcover around the pots. That would let your lovely porch show better. Again, that’s just my idea. It’s very pretty if you do nothing more.”
Then, she posted this reply just a few hours later:
“Well, Neil – the shrubs are gone :-). I love your idea of nandina and will make a pit stop tomorrow @ Shades of Green in Frisco and see what they have. I am hopeful our birds and lizards will find safety in them. It looks like nandina has berries which I will make sure the birds can enjoy as a food source. Love your website and very thankful for your input and guidance — thank you!”
What great and sudden results! Isn’t it amazing how simple changes can make monumental differences!