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#Thuglife in the back garden! - Comments, thoughts, critique!

Sooo not content with lugging a tonne of stones to the dump, my (heavily pregnant!) wife started hacking around in the back garden today to put in a couple of plants given to her as birthday presents. So, I thought I'd share what we have really, and I'm interested to get people's thoughts.

Essentially it's a rectangular garden, and in each of the four corners we have these raised beds constructed of railway sleepers. They're all fairly busy and I sense haven't been touched for a while. 

On to the pics.. 

Area 1: #Thuglife... 
I believe this rather large shrub is a Cherry Laurel? - RHS rather amusingly referred to this as a Thug Plant! - Hence the title of this post!  I've read up that it's best to prune it now once it's finished flowering. Any tips on the best way to prune it? - It blocks a lot of light into the kitchen but we'd not want to remove entirely.

Also, around the bottom, what's the all the green stuff that there seems to be tonnes of?



In the same quadrant, right in the middle is this:

Sorry for the rubbish picture - is it a Hebe? - Is it likely to do anything interesting?!

Parts 2, 3 and 4 (you lucky, lucky people!) are to follow after this post, and, I promise, they're more interesting! 


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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,991
    You can hack the laurel back as hard as you want and it'll grow back.
    All the other stuff is the pernicious weed - Carex pendula, by the look of it. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,672
    There's something small-leaved right by the base of the laurel but I can't see it clearly enough to say whether it's a Hebe or not.
    Agree about the sedge, that really is a thug plant.
  • ChilliBobChilliBob Posts: 80
    On to area 2...

    Area 2: Semi Circle
    As you can see, a lot less busy than the other areas - my wife attacked it a little today and I attempted to prune the (is it also a Laurel?) at the front, quite a bit). We've got two plants we intend to put in here, and also discovered what I think is a nice tree fern. 

    The tree on the right is one of the bay trees, the two in the middle I'm less sure of. One almost looks dead but has these lovely coloured and shaped leaves. The other one has more autumnal colours, nice. 

    Just next to this, on the right, is 
    Which is really rather lovely and a nice discovery! - What is it?!

    Parts three and four to come!

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,299
    edited April 2022
    the tree in the middle looks like an unpruned Purple Elder. Happy to be cut back to about .5m tall if you need to. 
    The red on is a Photinia
    the last one is a Pieris
    Devon.
  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,850
    I think you have Photinia 'Red Robin' to the left of the Bay. Can't see the other clearly enough, or the possible Hebe
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,991
    edited April 2022
    Pieris. Several varieties of those.  :)
    A Photinia in your first pic. With the red foliage. Would need to wait until there's foliage to ID the tree.
    I've just realised you meant something else in your first post. It's too well covered by the carex to make out though. 

    Some closer views would help if you can  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,672
    edited April 2022
    The second pic is a pieris.
    1st pic I think the one with the larger reddish leaves is probably Photinia Red Robin. I can't really tell at this distance what the others are.
    The deciduous one has a bit of a look of the purple-leaved types of elder, just sprouting clumps of new leaves, but I can't be sure. If it is, you could prune it as hard as you like but don't leave it any later.
  • SlumSlum Posts: 357
    I’d start by crown lifting the laurel to retain some height but make it less dominant in the bed. It may expose some interesting shapes in the branches. If you’re not keen on how it looks then, it can be hacked back more. 
  • ChilliBobChilliBob Posts: 80
    Fairygirl said:
    You can hack the laurel back as hard as you want and it'll grow back.
    All the other stuff is the pernicious weed - Carex pendula, by the look of it. 
    Thanks. Right, so best to dig it all out. Cool, my wife will be delighted he he. I did think the laurel would be like that. I guess I need to look at general pruning tips then. I think my Mum suggested I thin it out, alas, unlike a hairdressers, no thinning shears! I suppose this means as opposed to just taking off the general shape try to see 'inside' and see if there is anything big to saw out to thin it? 
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,299
    you could cut the laurel from the front to leave a " fan " behind  if you needed the privacy it provides
    Devon.
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