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Pet Peeve: Ever-Ugly Evergreens

It’s time to look at the plants in our landscapes with a clear eye. From foundation plants to the medians in parking lots, there are plants that are left in place for years after they have lost their attractiveness. Those malpruned junipers, hacked arborvitae and scalped yews that we leave in place because they are… evergreen?

Some have grown too large and in a vain attempt to keep them “under control” they have been cut just to make them smaller. Others have been sheared because a landscaper seems to be in training for the day when shearing becomes an Olympic sport. No matter how they got this way, there is a time when it’s best to thank them from coming and take them out.

They might be evergreen, but they are also ever-ugly.

no caption needed here...

no caption needed here...


Oh this is attractive...

Oh this is attractive...

8 Responses to “Pet Peeve: Ever-Ugly Evergreens”

  1. 1
    Gen Schmidt:

    Oh my gosh yes. What a nightmare. And as a professional gardener I can tell you, people get so dashed attached to these ugly things that it’s like pulling teeth to inspire a nicer replacement sometimes. The second photo – I’ve been asked to plant things to cover up the ugly side. Why not just remove it, and then we have lots of pretty sides of the new things we’ll put in? It’s not like it truly dies, we do take removed shrubs to the city composter and it’s renewed into gorgeous lovely amendments.

  2. 2
    Aerie-el:

    Sometimes I go to my window, open it, and yell…”Stop the needless mutilation of plants!” (Okay, not really, but I’d like to on occasion.)

    Sorry, I’ve got shield my eyes now from the pictures of these poor defenseless, innocent shrubs…

  3. 3
    John at JWLW:

    HI: CL

    You know that whatever those plants look like was caused by man not the plant. Nature has a way of letting us know what we have done to here children.

    We have some “Shrubs” that I call Deer plants. They are the after growth of Trees that have been cut down. Look pretty funny and straggly. However The deer love them and feed on them year around and this year we had no signs of any deer damage to the flower gardens.

    Can not recall us having any photos of these fine plants will have to look and see if any taken, but now that i think of it we will have to photograph some.

    Ugly looking things with shoots going in all directions, again caused by our master gardener “ME” but providing a
    source of food for the deer.

    If I fine any good photos of them and we take some of them at present state I will make a post on our Blog.

    Have a good thanksgiving will talk again soon

    John at JWLW

  4. 4
    John at JWLW:

    Her not here

    John at JWLW

  5. 5
    CL Fornari:

    John,
    Ugly shrubs are welcomed if they provide a “trap crop” for deer!

  6. 6
    Rhian:

    Not a master gardener, but seeing those photos brought back cringing memories of that particular lot on the cape! I think I even remembering stepping on one of those said plant….:0)

  7. 7
    CL Fornari:

    Rhian,
    You recognized them – I guess that these yews are memorable if not beautiful…. do they butcher plants like this in Hawaii?

  8. 8
    Rhian:

    The university planting would appall you! Not only do they insist on watering the pavement (rather than the grass!) in the middle of the morning, but the poor hedges are either naked or lopsided! There’s a poor straggly cotton plant outside my building that you just wish someone would put out of it’s misery!

    We do have some beautiful huge trees though, gorgeous, but can’t be attributed to any recent years landscapers!