Thursday, November 1, 2012

Getting help with ornamental grasses

Today we did something we had never done before: We hired somebody to help us with yard work.

Removing the two large clumps of maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis) in front of the house had been at the top of our to-do list for the fall. However, since both my wife and I have had back problems recently we hadn’t been able to tackle this project in a timely fashion.

Instead of waiting any longer, we decided to call on a yard service guy who came highly recommended. Within a couple of hours, he had not only dug out the two large miscanthus in the front yard, he had also excavated the remainder of a nectarine tree in the backyard which I had begun to remove a while ago.

All I have left to do now is cut back the remaining vegetation along the side walk and I’ll be ready for some major planting, including a dozen plants I bought at Morningsun Herb Farm last month and a couple of leucadendrons and grevilleas. Yeah!

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Miscanthus sinensis ‘Rigoletto’ (left) and ‘Dixieland’ (right)—before…

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…and after

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Miscanthus sinensis ‘Dixieland’—before…

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…and after

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Miscanthus sinensis ‘Rigoletto’ (left) and ‘Dixieland’ (right)—before…

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…and after

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…and after

I was very excited to see that a couple of plants I knew had been buried by the miscanthus were still alive and kicking. The first is an Aloe marlothii which I planted years ago as a small offset. It has grown tremendously in spite of the less than ideal conditions it had been subjected to.

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Aloe marlothii, finally able to enjoy the sunshine and breathe fresh air

The second is a Hebe speciosa, a small shrub from New Zealand with showy flowers. Even it has grown since I planted it in the spring although it was completely smothered by the second miscanthus.

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Hebe speciosa

Here is what’s left of the two grasses. Hard to believe they started out as 4-inch plants!

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Yard waste pile

10 comments:

  1. The smothering bully plants are gone, hurrah!

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  2. The joys of hiring a professional, sometimes it's worth it as they get the job done so quick! Nice work :)

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  3. I can commiserate on your back problems, I ruptured two discs in my lower back several years ago, and always garden with the knowledge that I could end up writhing in pain again. It's nice to be able to hire this kind of work out. Your post makes me a little bit afraid to plant the Miscanthus 'Purpurascens' starts I bought a while back.

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    1. I think our miscanthus received too much water and hence got too happy. They certainly didn't mind our clay soil one bit.

      As for your Miscanthus 'Purpurascens', it seems to be a smaller cultivar so you may not have the issues we had. Just make sure you give it ample room on the sides.

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  4. Your pro did a great job of not tromping down the plants all around the ones he removed!

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  5. I'm amazed. As somebody who has removed a large Miscanthus, I know it's not an easy job, and I'm surprised that he got that many out in just a couple of hours. Maybe your looser soil made the job a bit easier.

    Money well spent. :-)

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    Replies
    1. I agree. It would have taken me a whole day to dig out the two clumps, not to mention what was left of the nectarine tree stump and roots.

      Our native soil is fairly heavy clay but over the years we've amended it enough that it's only 2/3 clay now. Everytime I plant something, I add a good amount of bagged soil mix to further loosen the soil. Eventually it will be nice loam :-).

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