Today I took my kids to a Park Spark event at Dawes Hill park in Coquitlam, British Columbia. We planted pollinator-friendly plants. As I scanned the two beds for species names, there was one plant that was new to me. Its flowers were like those of St. John's wort but this was obviously a woody stemmed shrub. Aha. Something new, again proving that learning never stops.
The usual ground cover Hypericum calycinum we know well. It's a ground cover and sports yellow flowers. Hypericum 'Hidcote' is a deciduous shrub that can be used as a hedge. The red berries are a bonus. Now you know.
Rhododendrons can benefit from pruning but I find the idea of power shearing rhododendrons off-putting. Yes, power shears are fast but rhododendrons aren't hedges. It's impossible to shear the shrub without shredding some of the foliage and leaving stubs.
In the picture above, I had to hand snip the rhododendron anyway to clean it up. I couldn't just walk away.
I suggest taking the extra time and pruning your rhododendrons by hand. Carefully. You can pinch off spent flowers and cut away last year's growth if height is a concern. Keep your power shears for cedar and boxwood hedges.
This home owner is keeping her newly planted cedars (Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd') well watered. Since the cedars were leaning a little bit she built a new trellis around them for protection. Full marks for effort and caring.
Unfortunately, the wooden structure is a source of shading which will most likely lead to browning. Any shading related browning over six months becomes permanent. Cedars, like most plants, require sunlight. Keep this in mind.
1) New cedars are thirsty in their first season.
2) Avoid shading at all cost.
I see this a lot. Home owners call me too late. By the time I arrive on site to work out my work quote, it's no longer a question of maintenance. It's best referred to as an upgrade.
Examine the picture above. Plants and soil are starting to emerge as weedy grass is removed. It's hardly exciting work but it's a necessary step one in getting this street corner home beds up to speed.
Once the upgrade is complete it will be critical for this home owner to stay on top of her landscaping with regular maintenance work. I will most likely return monthly to keep the weeds in check with cultivation. If budget allows, we will eventually add top soil.
Sure, this home is a bit special because the owner is a recent widow with health and financial challenges. But it's critical to set aside cash for landscaping. Waiting is hardly a solution because many weeds produce copious amounts of seed.
Are you a bit overwhelmed? If so, please call 604-562-3736 and we can upgrade your landscaping.
Vas Sladek, B.Sc., CLT
Red Seal Journeyman Landscape Horticulturist and ISA certified arborist