Freshen Up Your Landscape

201203hsp_052 When planning for an event that will take place in the yard, we quickly begin to see everything with new eyes. Those sheared shrubs that have thin green tops and bare stems suddenly look like oddly formed, living coffee tables instead of foundation plantings. The partly browned evergreen out by the street now appears more dead than alive, and the large shrub you’ve walked around for years is now visible for what it truly is: way overgrown.

How such eyesores are dealt with depends on when the wedding is scheduled. If there is sufficient time to remove them and plant something else in the same location, that’s probably the best solution. If the wedding is just around the corner and the last thing you need is a trip to the garden center to shop for shrubs, then consider a touchup job instead.

Removing any and all dead leaves and stems will immediately improve most ugly plants. Be sure not to make any cuts that leave bare stumps, however. Cut dead limbs all the way back to one inch from the trunk and take away all dead foliage. Do this for both trees and shrubs.

If the plant looks worse once this is done, you know it’s time to cut bait completely. Ugly shrubs can always be cut off at ground level and the stump covered with a thin layer of mulch. If doing this creates an odd looking, empty space you can easily fill the area. You might group three or more large pots planted with flowering annuals, or even use a birdbath or other garden ornaments to fill the spot.

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C.L. Fornari is a well-known gardening expert on the Cape and Islands. She is an author, a lecturer, and a radio host on numerous gardening subjects.

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