Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wanna Plant Something? Get a License!


What's new this week? Only my latest hyperbolic wanking about people putting plants where they have no business growing. Why the hell can't people look up a plant in a reliable reference before they stick it in a planting hole?

It's not a 4x4 post you're putting in the ground. The sucker's gonna grow and there's no reason you should have to beat your brains out caring for something that's genetically programmed to swallow your house and crack your foundation.

Though the plants are Santa Barbara examples, the principles apply everywhere. Well, maybe not everywhere. I've never heard of lichens getting out of hand in tundra.

Click over for a fun read...Edhat.com

11 comments:

flowergardengirl said...

Do you like the Pom Pom plants? That was the first thing I noticed. They seem to be more maintenance than the plant that you chop off at the waist.

Marcia in Austin said...

I've read the entire article about plant size management on Edhat.com and absolutely agree with the facts presented. However, as an English garden enthusiast, I can appreciate well sculpted hedges and trees pruned to fit the area they're planted in. Case in point, the sheered hedge garden rooms and the pleached lime walk at Sissinghurst. If done with skill and intention, altering the genetically programed shape of a tree or shrub is a work of art.

Garden Wise Guy said...

Flowergardengirl - if, by "pom pom" plants you mean the pruning technique that renders shrubs to look like the south end of a north-bound poodle, not really. I like plants to look like plants. Also, "chop off at the waist" seems like a waste. If you want a 3' tall shrub, plant something that matures at 3' tall. That way it keeps its natural form and you don't have to do any work.

Marcia - I have no gripe with hedges from an aesthetic point of view. It's just that not everyone has the staffing of Sissinghurst and end up buying into a lifetime of pruning something that doesn't want to be the size they need. That results in greenwaste (unless you compost everything) and more often then not, the noise and exhaust fumes of gas-powered hedge trimmers, none of which is good for our environment. An artfully pruned plant is just that--artful.

Thanks for the opportunity to clarify.

dinzie said...

Dunno about Lichens mate they are getting pretty carried away on my decking ........ :O)

Sunday mornings work

D

Ross said...

I agree with you only about 90%, the other 10% is because I get paid to prune peoples hedges and mistakes!

How many times do we have to fix such simple mistakes?

I must admit though I have stooped to using Syzigium/Eugenia in the past, because of how quickly it does the job. But hopefully have since learned from my mistakes...or maybe not - just thought that Duranta "Sheena's Gold" might also fit into the Frequent Pruning Required bracket...do you use it in Santa Barbara?

Claude said...

As much as I like the artful pruned hedge, I also am perfectly aware that I'm just not gonna do it... In the heat of a Texas summer, I'm hard-pressed to go outside... but can I add two examples of bad planting that have been bugging me lately?

1. The guy down the street who planted a Mexican Fan Palm beside his mailbox... Sure, it's a cute little seedling now, but within two years it's gonna be 5 feet wide and full of thorny stems... Guess he doesn't want to get mail... and 2. The new strip mall down the street that's planted a line of about 50 of the said palms, all about 12 feet tall, surrounded by Holly bushes... I like palms, I like holly, but these two plants don't look like they like each other...

OK. That's my little kvetch for the day...

Have a good one.

Rosemary said...

You are so right , makes me crazy when I see a blue spruce planted in a postage stamp sized front yard.

SusanGardenChick said...

I agree with the "right plant in the right place" because it is aesthetically pleasing, easier to maintain, healthier for the plant and means less greenwaste. Having said that, a lot of plants vary in the ultimte size they will get. If your reference is the Sunset Western Garden Book, they sure like to hedge their bets, describing ultimate widths of 1'-3' ,8'-12', etc. That's a pretty big range if you're trying to create a specific effect. And if you go on-line, the range is even greater. I'd love a comprehensive source that gives more information on the cultural conditions that tend to put the plant at one end of the range vs. the other, though I suspect with our desire to cut back on irrigation in California, more plants will be in the smaller range.

Alice Joyce said...

Billy,
(I took your lead and included a blogs.com badge on my blog.) It seems like my comments haven't been showing up on your blog for some reason, but I'm enjoying your posts!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Loved the article. The dip@#$%s who previously owned my house planted a cottonwood six feet from the house foundation. 35 years later, I had to have it cut down because its roots were getting into my sewer line and yucky gunk was coming up in my basement. The thing is, no one thinks about the future or about plant needs. Heck, I don't think sod should be legal (talk about wasting resources and care!). Not to mention, big box stores sell annuals in my area way earlier than the frost date, also with no warning and no explanations of hardening off. Sigh.

Skrip said...

I love this blog's very knowledgable info! And funny rants...
my latest hyperbolic wanking about people putting plants where they have no business growing. Why the hell can't people look up a plant in a reliable reference before they stick it in the ground? LOL