Correcting a past mistake

This Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Filicoides' was planted in 2006 when we had the trees taken down and I built the patio area. It was about 4' (1.2m) tall and looked like a nice accent plant for the spot. Labeled as a "slow grower" -- which I disagree with -- it's now a major focal point here.

The trouble is, I "mulched" the area beneath it and the stair landing with rocks. This has caused problems for me, every year being more and more work as weeds come up between the baseball-sized rocks. Since I don't weed this area every week, the resulting carpet of green makes the tree difficult to see, as the ground beneath it is so busy. So I fixed it this past weekend.


I turned my head slightly to the right and realized that I have a big pile of mulch on the patio that I need to get rid of anyway:

(I used that to help protect some potted bamboos that I put here for the winter. Totally unnecessary with the mild, mild winter we had, but would have been helpful in a normal cold season.)

So, I decided to remove all of the rocks and mulch the area instead. This did not sound like fun, but neither does pulling violets from between the rocks all summer long for another year.

So I started pulling up the half-buried stones. There were a few of them:

Soon I had the area rock-free and was able to get the stirrup hoe in there to clean things up:

Part of the "weeding" here involved yanking out some Euonymous (fortunei I believe) vines that seem to be in every part of my yard. My goal with this wasn't to eradicate it completely, but to just get it back to a couple of very small plants which I can then deal with in another year or whenever they get out of hand again. I like a tiny bit of Euonymous.

So that's the job done!

Plus I got my patio cleaned off finally! I've been meaning to do that for a couple of months now.

Now all I need to do is find a new home for the rocks, then clean the dead leaves from the Chamaecyparis and this spot will no longer be painful to look at. Very nice!

Before and after:

Years ago when the rocks were first added I thought the same thing though: "very nice". Experience has taught me that looks aren't everything in the garden though -- maintenance factors in too.

So that's one old mistake corrected. How many more are left in my garden?


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (May 3, 2012 at 9:59 AM)  

Remarkable difference! You were right, the green of the weeds distracted from the tree.

Good point about maintenance! I've seen landscape designs in new houses that look great but will be a maintenance nightmare down the line (like lawn areas with wildly curving borders--how do you mow that?) But I digress...

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