Before and After: Buh-bye to the Pine Tree

 One last  Fall makeover before the rains begin!

We once had a pine tree. A Scots pine or Scotch Pine that David planted B.T. (before Tamara). He did not realize at the time how big it would grow. I have read online different heights but basically too big for us at between 50 to 150 feet. We put off doing anything about it as it seemed to be just poking along. Well, it had a sudden growth spurt this year and, well, it had to go despite the fact that it's evergreen and kind of cool.

 Here's Mr. Scot's Pine spring 2012, he was about 30 feet tall at this point.

Here's the Before shot with David doing a Vanna White. At one point we considered offering it to anyone who would dig it out. Haha, well, that did not happen. I don't know about other people stomping around my garden---know what I mean?

Here it is again on the right, this was taken this summer. Apologies for the bad photo.

This was also taken spring of 2012. The whole area is so different now, the two Ceanothus are now quite large and have filled in the area nicely.

 So one fine September day, David and I said farewell to our friend. It felt so odd and wrong to do it, but we feared that it would take over if we had not.

 The bulk of the tree was cut down, de-limbed, if you will, and loaded up in the pickup. Just ol' "Stumpy" remained (for a few days..imagine my horror!). As an OCD gardener, I had to get the stump out. Had to had to had to had to had to had to had to.

So on my next day off I dug.

And dug. And dug. Finally, some three hours later, the root ball and its connecting roots which went every which direction FINALLY gave way.

Look at that long root! Any misgivings I had about removing ol' Stumpy were long gone after our epic wrestling match as the whole neighborhood looked on in disbelief. I just kept smiling and waving, completely covered in mud and sticks.

I did it! Victory! (the crowd cheered..huzzah!) By myself!

Poor Stumpy. We kept this part (I don't really know why, but we did).


Now, what to plant in its place? I had something waiting in the wings for a good month, actually. A tea tree plant or Leptospermum lanigerum 'Silver Form' from Xera Plants.

Here he is! Along with a few new neighbors - two Solidago "Little Lemon" purchased at Dancing Oaks earlier this summer, a couple of Arctostaphylos, a Hebe glaucophylla, some native Sedum oreganum, some Oregon Sunshine or Eriophyllum lanatum - that's the silverish ground cover on the right side - another Oregon native plant. I also moved around a couple of yellow yuccas NOID that were actually here when I moved in but nearly dead, I did some divisions and came up with three in this area. I hope they take, two look great but one will have some recovering to do.

Oh, and also a Chamaecyparis  'Barry's Silver', also from Xera Plants. He's the little buddy on the right, will get to about 4' tall. Here's what Xera Plants says:

Wow. A beautiful Conifer with scales tipped in white fading to sea green and blue as they age. Slow growing and compact to 5' tall in as many years and 4' wide. Full sun with protection from blasting afternoon sun. WELL DRAINED soil that is not too rich. Light summer water. Excellent year round interest for a border or landscape. Soft mein lends it to good combinations with Japanese Maples and other light textured plants. Oregon Native Plant

Now that's the right size conifer for us!

And here's the Wooly Tea Tree again - From Xera Plants: 

COLD HARDY FORM of the silver leaved 'Wooly Tea Tree' native to the mountains of Tasmania. Fast growing to 6' and 3' wide; one of the best silver leaved evergreens for our climate. Sparkling 1" white flowers in early summer and sporadically through the year. Full sun, well drained soil. Aromatic foliage when crushed. May be pruned quite hard to shape. Occasional summer water. Informal shape works in borders. LOVELY garden plant.

I love him! The contrast in foliage will be a welcome addition to this NE corner of Chickadee Gardens.

Looking forward to seeing it all fill in.

Lots of new silver foliage to contrast with the dark Laurel (right), Rhodie(center) and Arbutus unedo (center and far left) leaves and brighten up this corner.

Here's an After shot, again the sun and shadows make it difficult to photograph, but I think the makeover really opens it up. Overall, I think a good change. The tea tree will only get about 7' tall and is quite airy - also, it can take some serious pruning, if necessary. See the Ceanothus on the right - how much they have filled in? NICE.

That's it for Fall plantings and projects for now. There are other "before and afters" in the works, but this is officially the last big change of the year. Now that the compost has been laid out (done last weekend - and got it from a great place, Dean Innovations which has organic compost for those of you in the area), the last thing to do is put everybody to bed and to daydream a little about next year's garden.

What have you been changing in your garden? Post it in comments below with links, too! Happy Autumn, Everybody!


  1. fifi la fontaine12:23 PM PST

    Oooh, love that new conifer! The combination of the silvery needles and yellowish bark is really pretty.

    1. Fifi, aren't you in Italy? What are you doing blogging? ha ahahhaha yes, color = good in my book too! Have fun, man!

  2. I was mooning over that wooly tea tree at Xera just last week, but I was on a different mission. I'm sure it will be happy in its new home.

    1. I hope so Ricki! I'll keep you posted how he does...I sure do love him, if one can love plant life..!!

  3. Anonymous7:07 PM PST

    Love your photo documentation of the whole process! And I certainly relate to the "digging out the root" process. A few years back I went throught that under the watchful eyes of the neighbors as I dug and struggled to remove a ratty, much hated pyracantha shrub out front all by myself. Sometimes determination and persistence does pay off! Wanda Boboia

    1. Woo hoo! Good for you, Wanda! That's right, all a gardener needs is determination, to be sure :)
      Thanks for the comments and great to see you the other night! xoxo

  4. We had two trees taken down a little over a year ago, and I spent several days out there on my hands and knees, in full view of the entire neighborhood, digging out enormous roots, some as big as my thighs. So I can understand how you felt out there. So kudos to you on getting that stump out and planting a nice replacement!

    1. Oh, Alison, so you DO know :) Sometimes I wish gardening were a private affair, I get so engaged with what I am doing I hardly want to look up much less explain myself to passers-by....oh least I have great neighbors. Good for you digging out thigh sized roots! Wow! Congrats!

  5. Oh that leptospermum is sexy for sure, nice choice. It is so so hard to take out mature plants, even when you know they are wrong. Good for you!

    1. Oooh, thanks Danger! I'm glad you like him. Isn't he great?

      Yes, it was a tough choice but like you and your former rhodie, sometimes you just have to think big and think future....which is what gardeners are good at, right? :) I'm glad you the end it will be better, to be sure.


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