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09/07/2013 at 21:15

The first of what will be several "what are these" posts from me, having just bought a house with a mature garden which seems to have been originally planned and planted with great care and knowledge, but hasn't been tended to beyond basic pruning for a few years. The plot is square with the house in one corner, so the "front" garden sort of joins onto the "back" garden via a bridge over a pond which curves around the corner of the house. The "front" garden seems to have a Japanese theme, with a lovely acer, a pond with a curving bridge and lots of local pebbles around it, and a bamboo, fatsia, hosta etc. So, any ideas of what is the big bare tree in the back of this picture please?

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/27066.jpg?width=277&height=350&mode=max

 

p.s. the big tree/shrub in the foreground is going to go. I think it's a euonymous gone mad - it's higher than eyelevel from our bedroom window (i.e. approx 15ft high) and sprouting at the top and has obviously ended up significantly bigger than was intended as it's completely blocking a path which is meant to go around it! If there are any suggestions other than euonymous let me know. But I reckon we'll be calling the tree surgeon to deal with it (it's about 6ft diameter so not really take-to-the-tip stuff )

Thanks guys

 

09/07/2013 at 21:28

The tree could be a tamarisk Thecatsmother.

09/07/2013 at 21:31

Think the tree with whispy foliage might be a tamarisk http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plant_finder/plant_pages/11330.shtml 

09/07/2013 at 22:31

Thanks - that looks like it . The estate agent guy who showed us round said it was "something Japanese like mimosa or something" so the Japanese thing must have been a bit of a red herring (though it does fit the architectural/structural mood). But also on reading up a bit more about it, looks like another example of good planning by the previous-but-one owner (an architect who redesigned the garden when he added to the house) - online stuff says it's a very thirsty plant (causing problems in the US) and our garden is at the bottom of a sloping field/farmland so anything which takes up lots of groundwater is definitely a good idea. He also installed a network of drainage pipes under the garden connected to a sump and a sump pump connected to the surface water drain. Clever man

09/07/2013 at 23:17

I just slaughtered a laurel which was a great unnecessary blob of a thing, similar to your bush affair.  BUT as you think the person who planted your garden originally did have some brains, you might want to just check that it isn't there as a windbreak?  I didn't think of it, and even quite a light breeze is whipping down the side of the house very much more violently than before. 

09/07/2013 at 23:33

Hmm, that's a very good thought ,.....I will ponder and take note of the wind etc. But he did put a lovely slate path going around it which it has totally covered up, so he obviously didn't intend it to be quite so huge. There is an elder between the unnecessary blob and our bedroom window so we'd still have some protection, and it's north of the house and the prevailing is SouthWesterly so not the primary wind direction. But definitely another thing to take into consideration when removing things, so a big thank you for that

10/07/2013 at 00:01

I agree about the windbreak thing.  I live on a windy bit of the coast and tamarisks are a popular form of windbreak down here.  They look quite pretty when the pink bracts come out.

10/07/2013 at 06:40

Doesn't look like a mimosa to me, but that's estate agents for you - well, some of them anyway.  Have you seen it flowering - tamarisks have pink flowers, mimosas have yellow ones - that'll sort it 

10/07/2013 at 08:06

Looks like Eleagnus- your 'blob' that is! You can prune it back. It may well be there as a windbreak so maybe cut it back rather than take it out and see what effect there is re the wind.

10/07/2013 at 13:53

This big tree with the variegated leaves could also be a Holly. Ilex altaclerensis 'Golden King' ( which does sound odd for a female plant, lol!) has hardly any spines so could easily be confused with both Euonymus and Elaeagnus. Unfortunately it's too far away to be absolutely sure what it is. A close up might help.

10/07/2013 at 20:06

Hmm, starting to look like an ilex...  This is a closer view of the leaves on the outside

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/27124.jpg?width=291&height=350&mode=max

 This is a closeup of some of the leaves closer to the trunk (gone feral - not so variegated and with spiky edges )

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/27125.jpg?width=291&height=350&mode=max

 And upon close inspection, it has berries

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/27126.jpg?width=291&height=350&mode=max

 So is ilex the consensus?

I can't really prune it as there are only leaves on the outside, surrounding a network of bare branches, with the occasional feral spiky branch of course. It is huge - if I was to keep it I'd want it at most about 4ft high, not sure taking that amount off would be possible - I'd pretty much be left with only trunk..... Must have taken a few years to get to this size and as I said it was not intended to, based on the paths and surrounding plants.  So, should it stay or should it go?

10/07/2013 at 20:12

p.s. RHS page info says don't prune http://apps.rhs.org.uk/plantselector/plant?plantid=1024

10/07/2013 at 22:01

As you don't like it anyway, I'd say prune and be damned. 

11/07/2013 at 12:04

I agree with Sara 4. Ilex can be pruned back hard so you can renovate them, so to speak. Best time to do that would be July and August. If you want to lower the height, that's also possible.

But you are right, you'd be looking at an almost bare trunk for quite a while even though it will start growing new shoots after it has been pruned. So, it's up to you.

To renovate or to eliminate... that's the question

11/07/2013 at 19:00

Hmm, not sure thecatsfather will be willing to prune  (he'd have to saw the main trunk which is about 6 or 7 inches diameter - don't think my arms are up to sawing something that thick), plus the many tip trips it would take.... May get a tree surgeon round to take a look. If he can saw it off and winch it away over the hedge that might be easier . We have a huge tree (ash) on our boundary which probably needs some lopping too, so not just that to look at. Thanks for the advice

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