Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Not a fan of the shrubbery, but I gets it

After over a week of eating it, the kimchee got me.  Really.  And then I resurrected myself and was well enough again for another day of blogging!

Obviously, just kidding, but not kidding now, I'm sorry about the delay in posting.  Things just have gotten really busy suddenly and I didn't have a bunch of posts lined up as usual to stay on task due to busy-ness reasons, so thus my absence on the internet.

For a short moment I had some difficulty thinking of a topic due to my busy-ness that has kept me from gardening as much.  I'm really just waiting for things to grow anyways, but then a non-my-usual-edible-garden-y issue popped up in my head that I thought I'd address: shrubbery.

My house came with a plentiful supply of generic landscaping plants: azaleas, weigela, nandina, boxwood-like things, and lots and lots of hollies (some slow growers, the others, the tree kind, grow like the dickens).

It's a love-hate relationship with the shrubs.  The happiness of having some relatively decent good bones and pre-made professional landscaper designed stuff that is relatively work-free and xeriscaperific, and there are the instant micro-climates that some of the taller plants make for lower, shade loving plants you might acquire such as bleeding hearts and some begonias for example.  But it's pre-made landscaping also comes with the annoyance of a yard that you hadn't envisioned, full of sort of boring (inedible) plants (Ilex vomitoria anyone?) and some especially that are annoying as heck to maintain either because you have to trim them up all the time or like my Otto Leuyken and boxwood-like thing that was PRONE to pink wax scale aka strawberry scale.

A year ago the Otto Leuyken finally did kick the bucket due to lack of water and most likely due to the strawberry scale infestation despite after spraying multiple times with neem oil.  Despite its branching and I tried to get rid of the stuff as much as possible, I suspect that the scale was just too tenacious and was able to hide well between the "elbows"/nooks of the branches and survived.  I dug it up and tossed it leaving an unfortunate empty spot in its place.

Later that same year of 2009 I found the same scale on one of the boxwood things, cut it tragically short and attempted to pick out the scale and prune out dead and crowded branches (one of the most annoying and worst tasks ever).  Things looked good, new growth was occurring... and then this year I found it again on the same plant.  And then the next one... and next one... and next one.... until I realized ALL of the boxwood things in the same row against the house were INFESTED.

I pruned them ALL back severely earlier this year and sprayed and then after a while, I thought to myself, "Man, this stuff doesn't go away, and I hate these shrubs anyways.  They do NOTHING for me except act as a strawberry scale hotel."  So I said "screw it" and dug them up:

Oh my was that cathartic and thank you mom and dad-in-law for the tiny me-sized shovel you gave me for Christmas that helped me dig these bloody things up!

Surprisingly they weren't as tough to dig up as I was worried about in the first place.  A little hopping on the shovel a few times were needed to cut roots here and there, but nothing terrible.  Granted doing that for 6 shrubs did give me a little sweat, but I am not complaining if that means no more stupid pink bugs to deal with from hear on out.

In its place I think I'll let the oregano that I've used as ground cover cover up the holes where the shrubs once were.  It's getting a little woody and I don't think I'd mind oregano "bushes"  The root system isn't terrible I find, shallow enough to pull up if need be and I can easily hard trim the stuff back if I want to.  Plus, it just means more oregano available, and how is that a bad thing? (unlike mint....)

Point being in this whole ordeal.  Got a shrub you really hate and gets infested way too often?  Stop fighting it! It's not worth it! Dig it up, let it go and find something that gives you infinitely less grief!  Life's too short to waste on plants that just can't cut it.