Big changes after an arborist visits my garden.

Through the years of maintaining  this garden I have had a lot of brilliant ideas and excellent choices. Some I continue to love and others I feel work for a few years and then they need to be relocated or pulled out entirely.   Recently this was the case with several arborvitae that we planted for privacy years ago. In this photo from July of this year - although its beautiful, the arborvitae's had grown into the walkway of our stairs leading into the secret garden. As much as I loved the coziness of the area and the overgrown look of years of growth, I definitely felt change was necessary.  We hired an arborist for some advice and he confirmed my concern. Originally, we were just going to take out one tree on each side of the steps but as that started, I changed my mind and continued the process all the way to the fence line of our property to meet with the other line of trees.

I cringed at the sound of the chainsaw removing these magnificent trees, but I could see a new vision almost immediately for this space as the trees were coming down and change is always something to embrace right? 

While those trees were being removed and maples and other trees were being pruned, I made the brave decision to remove the Thuja Occidentalis Yellow Ribbon Arborvitae in the front garden. I love the privacy they gave us, but they have become crowded and definitely lost several plants under them over the past couple years.  It was a quick decision to do so, but I believe I will not be disappointed in the removal of them.

I try very hard to rehome any plants so that someone else can give them a new life, but these massive trees had just too much of a root system to remove without damaging my gardens around them.

Another major change I made, was taking out these two beautiful Burning Bush's on each side of the birdbath. They used be stunning but this year, they just don't seem happy, nor does anything behind them. I haven't come up with anything for this space, but I'm sure I will find ideas over winter. Winter is when I look through old photos and scour garden magazines for ideas and inspiration.

You are probably cringing too, after all the years that these trees and shrubs have been in their place but honestly it will be better in the long run. I don't want to keep unhappy plants that shade other plants that could be beautiful in the landscape.

When the arborist removed the trees and shrubs all the took them down to the bare minimum of a stump.  I was disappointed to learn that they wouldn't remove the stump itself and I physically can't do such labor either. So, I did a little homework on if there was a way to help decompose the stumps quickly so I can plant something else in its place next spring. To remove the stumps I found out that I could use rock salt to help move things along. I searched different tried and true methods from others and decided that this is what I would do - I will let you know spring how this went.
    1. Drill several holes in the stump itself.
    2. Pour a mounding pile of Rock Salt on only the stump itself in hopes it stays put....Rocks Salt will kill surrounding plants - so its the risk you must know if you use this method.
    3. Cover the mound with soil
    4. Cover the mound of soil with fall debris (I used fallen tree leaves and wilted hosta foliage that I pulled out of my own garden)
    5. Cover the fall debris with garden soil

I plan to leave these piles over the winter and let mother nature do her magic and look to see how everything is next spring when I am ready to start modifying the garden where these major changes were made.

I'm most excited about the large arborvitae trees coming out in the area walking down the steps to the secret garden.  The first couple days, I was thinking of putting in a greenhouse where that space is - it seemed perfect and I've always thought I would benefit from owning a greenhouse, however when one of my clients (now a friend) decided to change out a fountain she owns I decided I must have it and this space will be beautiful if I placed her gorgeous fountain there.

Let me share with you my visual plan. You'll have to bear with me as these are my amazing cartoon drawings to share what I see in my head. I am sharing all three angles with you below. There are still several plants currently in these spaces, so they will definitely be used as well to make this area blend in.

First things first I've ordered seven yards of dirt from Cedar Grove in Woodinville for this new project. I've ordered four fifteen foot arborvitaes from Big Trees in Snohomish so that they wont take as long to catch up with the trees already planted along the fence line. These trees are being delivered and installed by big trees as I physically am unable to do so. Also hired landscape help to help cover more of the old stumps and level out this space with the dirt I have ordered getting it ready for the delivery of my new fountain.  They will plant several new English Dwarf Boxwood along the walkway lining it up with the current stairs and completing the path. Around the fountain I plan to plant four White Meidiland Groundcover roses. These roses grow about 6ft wide and I will keep them pruned short around the base of the fountain.  I may eventually take out two of the rose shrubs but I'd like it to fill in as quickly as possible. I will also plant lavender along with annuals next spring to make this space look lived in while I await the spreading of the roses. In front of the arborvitaes I have several bearded iris's and white bleeding hearts in the plan along with other plants I can move to this space like Foxglove and possibly Dahlias that I recently ordered.

This space should be ready to share again in a few weeks showing you the evergreens that have been planted and the fountain in its place.  I know it will fit right in here in my garden and much of the details will happen next spring.

Thank you so much for coming by and taking a peek at what is going on here in my garden and the newest project I am working on. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts. This space will see so much more sunshine next year than in the past several years, so it will be interesting to see the new dynamics coming my way!

Please follow me on both Instagram and Facebook!! xoxo, tracie


Lauren said…
Wow!!! I’m so excited about these changes!!! I have found it is very easy to see overgrowth and crowding in gardens other than my own! It is much harder to turn the editor’s seemingly merciless gave on spaces we have planted ourselves! So much easier to marvel at the maturation of plants put in when they were so small! Your vision is , as always, stunning and I can hardly wait to see this space take on new life!

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