Fifteen years ago we moved into this house. Having just moved to the Carolina’s from Ontario Canada, we weren’t knowledgeable about the climate and planting. We loved our new house, bare though the landscape was, and we wanted shrubbery plantings along the walkway to the house.
Fast forward 15 years, and we got our shrubbery, and a few unexpected surprises. This climate, when we aren’t in a drought fosters massive growth. That growth left unchecked, as we were to learn, creates problems. Last year our intention was to revamp the front landscape, but as I was ill, it never happened. This spring this is what we are facing:
Notice how tall those hollies are, they’ve actually grown behind the siding at the brick work level, and behind the gutters to the roof. You can’t sit on the north end of the porch for the shrubbery growing through the railings, and the walkway and steps on the south end were so overgrown, my UPS delivery man couldn’t even navigate up them anymore!
Talking with a local friend who grew up here, my ant problem in the house is apparently increased with these shrubs along the house. So today I started at the other end of the house trimming back for removal of the shrubs. So far I’ve gotten this far: (by the way, this is my studio window)
And the damage I am finding on this side:
Not as bad as it could be. Those rotten leaves are actually from branches that have grown under the brick into the crawlspace. The mold is easily cleaned, the window screen is easily replaced. The branches blowing in the wind tore holes in it. What you can’t see is the number of branches I have torn out of that brickwork.
I can now walk up my front steps again, something I haven’t been able to do for months. Well, I can when I get this mess cleaned up:
By the end of the day today, Mike will have the chain saw running and take down the remainder of these on the Southeast corner of the house. We contemplated pulling the foots out, but decided that wasn’t a smart option as we sit on a 6″ (yep INCH) footer for the foundation.
In the first picture the largest holly, the holly on the farthest northeast corner, cannot come down for a while. A Thrush has nested in it and I won’t disturb her nest.
Once all these are down, then the leaky gutters can be replaced, the screen fixed, the house power washed, the shutters painted and next year I’ll decide on hopefully a better choice of front plantings!