Over the summer, I started on a project to remove 3 Leyland cypress trees in my yard. I was eager to get going on it before they put on any further growth — they had almost tripled their original height of about 6 ft since they were planted in October 2008. Scary! But I also didn’t want to spend the summer without any screening greenery, so I left two out of the three until now. A cryptomeria has taken the place of the one we first removed in the far corner.
Yes, I want something evergreen and tall along the back fence, but 50+ feet tall is too much. Through November, I had been pruning out the lower limbs. But the time had come to get the job done. Thanksgiving weekend was sunny and mild. Perfect for yard work.
I had help from the whole family.
I prepared myself to feel very discouraged about not having any more screening in the back yard. And about starting over with small plantings. But I was surprised by how exhilarated I felt, especially the next day when I put some new plants in the ground.
And the feeling remains with me as I gaze out the door to the back fence. I’m relieved that I no longer need to rely on a professional designer’s advice. The decisions I’m making now are a milestone — planning and planting what feels right for my own space according to my own aesthetic, based on educating myself about gardening.
Nothing fancy or exciting yet. I’m happy to move a Pacific waxmyrtle, Morella californica, (native shrub/tree) into this area. And for now, moving a yew shrub, Taxus x media ‘Hicksii,’ over will do for filling in. I’m most excited about the tiny little variegated buckthorn, Rhamnus alaternus ‘Argenteovariegata’ I’m using to flank my baby magnolia. It’s hard to even see the puny things now.
Here’s a closer look.
I used to dislike variegated foliage. But I got inspired earlier this year by this landscaping at McMenamin’s Chapel Pub on N. Killingsworth St.
It no longer looks like this since they constructed a new outdoor seating area in this very spot as shown recently on Danger Garden. Here’s another example of this light colored broadleaved evergreen lighting up the understory on NE 15th Ave at NE Thompson St.
I’ve gotten off on a tangent though — a long discussion and lots of photos for this buckthorn that gets called a “shrub” on most nursery tags. (It is however included in Sean Hogan’s book Trees for All Seasons, Broadleaved Evergreens for Temperate Climates.) By now you’re surely wondering about the title of this post, ‘O Christmas tree.’
Here’s what happened to the trees that were a pile on my patio a few weeks ago.
My daughter helped to load up the greens. They are on their way to Thicket for holiday greenery in exchange for a Christmas tree. Thank you, Adria!
I can’t think of a better use for Leyland cypress, can you?