June 21, 2006

Out with the old, in with the new

Tiny Hicks yewBalanced on a tiny stepping stone, gingerly placing my feet in the rare spaces big enough to accomodate them, (no cracks about the size of my feet! I just pack my plants too tight) I finally did the deed.

The king is dead, long live the king.

The poor little arborvitae, victim of a thousand chemical attacks from local dogs, was pried out of the ground and gently laid to rest. No autopsy was performed and the cause of death is in some dispute. The next-door neighbour, for one, thinks that underwatering had more to do with it than dogs. Seeing as she's not a dog owner, I can't dismiss this as an attempt to evade guilt, but I am not convinced. Still, on the off-chance there might be some truth to what she's saying, I decided to replace the little bush with an equally little but somewhat less thirsty yew. A Hick's yew, to be precise, one that's supposed to stay in reasonable bounds, which is absolutely essential in my tiny yard.

I realize that in much of the States, yews are considered pretty ho-hum. But they are not standard issue here, many species not being hardy this far north, and the others pushing the northern limits of their hardiness range. They're almost exotic! Seeing as this is a pretty sheltered location, I decided to run the risk of winter dieback because the deep green glossy needles will be such a great foil for the Oriental lilies planted in front of it. At least they will be ten years from now. Hey, I wasn't going to shell out for a big one, when survival is in some doubt! In the meanwhile, I'm growing the purple fennel in behind it to provide the height I want in that corner. Winter interest will slowly grow into place, if all goes well.


GardenJoy3 said...

We have 2 beautiful Xmas tree shaped yews Janet and we think they are awesome ! .. I probably should have given them more space apart, but I was trying to hide an AC unit behind them .. I'm like you .. I have squeezed plants in pretty tight because I like a full lush affect and they keep the weeds out that way too .. I do mulch .. but I like seeing more plants than mulch ! haha
I think you will be happy with your yew .. I know we really enjoy ours !
Joy : )

Sigrun said...

Oh Janet, you have plant a little taxus!


Annie in Austin said...

Hello Janet, I found you through your comments at Garden Rant... I don't know who any of those garden guys are anyway - no cable.

I thought you'd be amused to know that when I came to Texas from IL, I was astonished to hear that my friends were planting Japanese Yews, since everything I'd read indicated death to Taxus from the heat. Well, it turns out that in the southern US, Japanese Yew is the common name for Podocarpus macrophylla/Buddhist Pine.


Janet said...

Annie, you're right, I was amused. And "death to Taxus" has a resonance that goes beyond gardening... hehehe

I don't have cable either, it was the principle of the thing.

Must have been quite a shift in your gardening thinking, moving across so many zones.