Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Chop chop

One of the local garden gurus is here this morning giving the pear tree its alternate-year pruning and addressing the problem of the gargantuan camellia.

The camellia is planted in the narrow garden strip that runs along the west side of our house. It's one of those plants that must have looked nice 40 years ago when it was small. Now it's engulfing the electrical service wires on their way to the roof, it's scraping against the dining room and living room windows, and it's growing out into the pathway that leads to the back yard.

Calvin (the guru) originally planned to trim it aggressively, essentially growing a new camellia from the shoots. Today, when he turned up, I asked him if it might not be better just to remove it and replace it with a rhody or Japanese maple. His instant answer was, "oh, yes."

My decision to excise the camellia came about when I was looking at a recent photo of our house. In it, the camellia appears to be a giant, dark green blob chewing on the siding. Ooops. It's obviously another case of planting a shrub close to a house without considering that it would...grow. And this one's been growing, unpruned, for a few decades.

Calvin and I then stood around for five minutes giving each other reasons why we should try to save the camellia. (Both of us hate giving up on any plant.) But eventually we ran out of ideas. "No, it goes," Calvin said, and went over to the truck for his chain saw.

Stay tuned for "before" and "after" photos.

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