An Act of Vandalism

Shade Garden

My favorite spot in the yard has always been the Shade Garden.  It is a little island bordered by the road, my driveway, parking area and the neighbors' driveway.  Under a canopy of mature firs, I attempted to create a Northwest-style woodland setting with a bit of an Asian flavor.  I recall the day ten years ago I planted a single Oregon Oxalis, one of our regional natives.  It was cold and my fingers were freezing.  Over the years it spread to cover nearly 1000 square feet in two separate areas.  It was a joy to behold.

Oregon Oxalis with Ferns and Vine Maple

The bank behind the garden is road fill, which by design, is hostile to plant growth.  I struggled to find something that would grow in it.  I tried Salal, then Kinnikinnick, but even those tough natives could not survive.  Finally, the aggressive and rampant Vinca major slowly took hold and the ugly bank became hidden behind lush foliage.  Pachysandra from Japan gradually created a leafy island and Sweet Woodruff would pop up to fill in bare spots all over the garden.

Pachysandra with Fatsia and Astilbe

It was common to receive compliments on the garden from passers-by on the road.  The poor soil under the firs, the deep shade and the road fill all created special problems to be overcome.  I was pleased with the results of all the work and struggle and the ten years it took to achieve this little spot of beauty.  It was special and unique.  A characteristic of the woodland is biodiversity, many different organisms establishing an equilibrium with one another.  This had, more or less, been achieved with the plantings in the Shade Garden. 

Woodland Path

Last year I engaged a local landscape maintenance service to help with the routine stuff, mowing, weeding, trimming and the like.  This allowed me the time to focus on the creative side of gardening.  I was very pleased with the results as the yard took on a professional polish I never achieved on my own.  Then came the week of July 18th, 2010.  They sent a couple of guys out here who didn't know what they were doing and put weed-eaters in their hands.

Bushes and Dirt

In the span of a couple of hours, all of the ground covers were mowed down to bare earth.  I mean everything.  In some spots, they were even poisoned with weed killer, apparently to assure the destruction was permanent.

Bushes and Dirt

Many of the homes up and down the beach are landscaped in a style I call "bushes and dirt."  Neatly trimmed shrubs in bark mulch characterize the style.  The yards are tidy and easy to maintain, but uninspired and lifeless.  You find this sort of thing at your local bank or the Safeway parking lot.  In such a garden, you may never spot a robin on the hunt or a lingering butterfly.  Now, I also have my own bushes-and-dirt garden.

Bushes and Dirt

I cannot fathom what those guys were thinking.  Who would imagine that lush, healthy foliage, plants that were clearly not weeds, should be eliminated in favor of large plots of bare ground?  Who would take on such a task without asking first?  This was not a mistake or a misunderstanding.  It was an act of gross incompetence.  It was vandalism, plain and simple. 

Bushes and Dirt

I am struggling with my feelings over this.  The landscape firm has promised to make things right.  Frankly, I am not sure I have the wherewithal or another ten years in me to start over.  If they weren't poisoned, the Oxalis and the Sweet Woodruff might come back over time, but I fear the Vinca and the Pachysandra are gone for good.  Both took several years to get established.  Maybe it's time to sell this place and get a condo with some bushes and dirt.

Comments

  1. "yes" it's a shame any tom, dick, or harry can buy a strimmer and a mower and call themself's landscape artist's, i loved what you did with green,
    "SO GET BACK OUT THERE AND DO IT AGAIN"

    all the best ,,, billy

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  2. What a shame! I agree with Billy bagwash, I know its a lot of hard work, but it can be made good again. Just don't let anyone at it once they become established!

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  3. Oh, Dave, the destruction ignorance can bring! Maybe you can think of it as a fresh start, and an opportunity for more creative thinking. I'm sure it will come back better than ever!

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  4. and this act of desecration was carried out by "professionals"?

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  5. I just stumbled on your blog and was so sorry to read of the loss of your garden. If I was a smarter person I could insert soothing words of hope, but, unfortunately, no appropriate words come to mind. I hope you will be able to rebuild and have the joy of creating something new...best I could come up with.

    I hope those damm "professionals" have to replant your garden in that brief period of sweltering summer in the Pacific Northwest...and it feels like hell to them!

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  6. Oh Dave I was reading this and just looking at the photos and thinking how beautiful it all was, how was it to be vandilized. Then I saw the photos and my stomack just went into a knot. OMG I would have fallen on the ground and cried. I won't go on as I know how bad it must have and probly still makes you feel.

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  7. Your shade garden was so very beautiful. All that hard work and time and love you put into it, and then for that to happen. :*-( I feel so sad about the destruction they did. It's hard to understand how they could do that. I'm so sorry. I hope it amazes you and somehow is able to grow again even more beautifully than before.

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  8. This is terrible! I hope you manage to put it back as it was, it was gorgeous. I hope you also gave a tongue lashing to those in charge...

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  9. This is terrible! I hope you manage to put it back as it was, it was gorgeous. I hope you also gave a tongue lashing to those in charge...

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  10. I am sitting here with my mouth hanging open, I can't even imagine your feelings when you first saw the devastation. I am so very sorry, BUT, you did it once and you can do it again. Especially since you know exactly what to do and where to put what. I hope you stay!! Linda from Kansas the "Land of Oz"

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  11. I am sitting here with my mouth hanging open, I can't even imagine your feelings when you first saw the devastation. I am so very sorry, BUT, you did it once and you can do it again. Especially since you know exactly what to do and where to put what. I hope you stay!! Linda from Kansas the "Land of Oz"

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