Sunday, April 10, 2016

Ever Just Get Tired of Something?

ProfessorRoush does.  He gets tired of winter.  He gets tired of the peak of summer heat.  He gets tired of mowing grass.  He gets tired of drought.  He gets tired of frosts on the fruit trees.  He gets tired of resurfacing blacktop.  He gets tired of cleaning the garage.  He gets tired of home maintenance.  He really gets tired of large furry white-tailed rats invading his garden and smaller naked-tail pack rats invading his shrubs.

He also occasionally gets tired of a particular plant, and this weekend's victim was this short hedge of Buxus microphylla koreana 'Wintergreen' that I had planted in the center curve of the circular driveway.  I planted it initially to partially hide cars parked in the driveway in front of the house.  If I had a more mystical side, I'd say that it served as a feng shui improvement to divert bad energy flow from my front door.  It's been a love-hate relationship from the outset.

Before planting them, I was ignorant of boxwoods, save for my extreme desire to surround myself with broad-leaf evergreens instead of conifers, the latter being a magnet for bagworms in this area.  I didn't know then, but soon learned, that they smell like unneutered male cat pee over vast portions of the year.  I didn't understand that a medium hedge would break up the view of the prairie from the house. I was unaware that in a very bad winter in Kansas, boxwoods could sustain snow damage and look terrible for most of a spring season.   I didn't even suspect in my naive state that the pack rats that would soon consider me a particularly benevolent god for erecting safe shelter as a base for their nefarious car and lawn mower wire-eating activities.    

So, this spring, tired of my boxwood pack rat condominiums, I resolved to eliminate them.  Yesterday, I took advantage of the prediction for strong spring winds and I used the tractor and bush-hog to mow them all off at ground level.  That took a satisfying 15 minutes and it only took another half-hour or so to load and remove two cart-loads of debris.  It's not perfectly clean yet, but I'm hoping the Kansas wind completes the job before Mrs. ProfessorRoush takes issue with my work.  I can feel her somewhere inside, trying to find something fault with the effort anyway, because she was merely lukewarm to the idea of savaging the hedge in the first place.

But the house, in my opinion, looks much better now.  In tactical terms, I now have a clear field of fire to defend against pack rat invaders. The prairie to my north view can serve as a guide to all the summer storm clouds that want to slide over the Flint Hills.   Passing cars will also have a much clearer view of the flowering trees and spring peonies and the summer Orientpet lilies and roses that dot my front landscape beds.  Thankfully, given the natural inclination of Kansas landscape plants to die, it is fairly simple to give them a nudge and correct gardening mistakes, I'm not sure what a Feng Shui practitioner would say, but ProfessorRoush feels much better.


  1. It's always cathartic to remove the plants that drive you mad. I had this with removing several lilies that were taking over one of our gardens. The college here likes to plants boxwoods everywhere, but I don't get why. As you said, they tend to suffer cold damage in the winter, and look nasty most of the year after, or don't survive winter at all. And then you have a nice hedge missing a foot or two here and there. There's got to be a more friendly hedge option for our region....

  2. Love this! I have three out-of-control boxwoods. I was thinking they might meet with an "accident" sometime very soon. I picture over-pruning them, which would hopefully kill them, then asking my husband to dig them up. Sounds like a good plan, doesn't it? Besides, parts of them look sick. Really.
    Thankfully, they are near a Juddi Viburnum that's in full bloom - its scent overpowers the cat-pee odor of the boxwoods. I better work quickly.

    1. I'm a +1 on the Juddi that scent!

      Not digging up the remnants of mine....if they grow back, I'll brushkill them with herbicide and then wait for them to turn to compost.

  3. I can imagine how satisfying that must have been ! Will all the rats be looking for a cosy new abode now ?

    1. They might, but they're going to have trouble. The nearest outposts are all posted with rat traps...and I must admit, the nonhumane kind of rat trap.

  4. oooo....I just planted 4 Sprinter boxwoods last fall. On the other hand, now I feel like cleaning out my closet.


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