Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Juggling Trees and Shrubs -- Part Two

And now for Part Two of the Tale of Juggling Trees and Shrubs. Read Part One here, in which I transplant a Hinoki cypress from one part of my garden to another in order to make room for a Magnolia macrophylla and a Japanese maple.

I've also been hankering for a Stewartia pseudocamellia, a tree with beautiful white Camellia-like flowers and peeling bark that would be at home in a part shade spot in the back garden. In order to plant it, I needed to take out the smaller of my two Indian plum trees. Oemleria cerasiformis is a wonderful Pacific Northwest native small tree, one of the first to flower in late winter, but not only do I already have a larger one growing in a different bed, but my neighbor has an even bigger one just on the other side of my fence, so we don't really need three in the immediate vicinity.

On a recent visit to Bellevue Nursery, I found a very nice 5 1/2-foot tall Stewartia (Hooray for yet another 20% off coupon), but to get it into position (with Nigel's help and a hand trolley), I was going to have to temporarily remove some shrubs -- a Viburnum trilobum 'Red Wing,' a native Euonymus atropurpureus, and a Hamamelis 'Jelena.'

So, one recent weekend I did a lot of digging and then Nigel helped me wrestle the new tree into place behind the stream. Although it's over 5 feet tall, it looks small next to the enormous Douglas firs that tower over my garden.

It's got plenty of room to grow upwards!
The slender trunk is already showing signs of the lovely peeling bark that Stewartia is known for

Stewartia flowers -- it's loaded with buds, which hopefully will open soon

The current lineup behind the stream (l-r): Hamamelis 'Jelena,' Stewartia pseudocamellia, Myrica californica (Pacific Wax Myrtle) and Leycesteria formosa (Himalayan Honeysuckle, hard to see, hiding behind the Myrica)

Myrica californica was one of the first trees I planted here, in the hopes that it would provide screening from neighbors' blue tarp-laden yards. It's much bigger than it was when first planted, but it still hasn't topped the height of the fence. I saw one last year at the Elisabeth C. Miller Garden in North Seattle, and theirs was huge, so I have high hopes for the future. According to what I've read online, it should eventually reach a height of 20-30 feet.

Myrica californica and Leycesteria formosa

Since I had a blank slate there for a short time, I decided to take the opportunity to re-arrange the perennials that were growing beside the stream. I haven't been happy with the tall grasses that I planted too close to the water, because in the shady spot they had a tendency to flop and droop their blades and inflorescences into the water. They also very quickly became much too crowded. So I dug out everything, found a new home for some of the grasses, and then replanted the Primula 'Bellarina,' Carex 'Ice Dance,' and Euphorbia. I also planted several large healthy clumps of a nice Epimedium that I love, which used to live in the front shade bed, but got removed when I replanted that bed recently. Now it's much tidier and I'm much happier.

But I did end up with some shrubs that I now don't quite know what to do with.

Viburnum trilobum 'Red Wing' has now gone begging for a home in another bed. Somewhere.

I love its reddish new growth, so I really need to find a spot for it

The Euonymus atropurpureus, aka Eastern wahoo, has yet to show me the cool blooms that made me want it in the garden.

Indian Plum, removed to make room for the Stewartia, is looking a bit bedraggled. I'll probably give it away on craigslist.

Stay tuned for Part Three, in which I remove one tree to make room for another. Again.