Monday, July 25, 2016

Suburban Jungle Maintenance

A real, wild jungle is almost maintenance free (or rather self maintaining, striking its own balance). 



Not so much for a suburban and contrived jungle garden. It needs lots of maintenance and the balance is struck by the gardener.

Our supervisor overseeing the work we're doing.
The maintenance is mostly cutting back. With the summer reaching its peak here, growth is very fast and the lush look is easily achieved. To keep the balance and let in more light in the 'jungle' lots of cutting back needs to be done.


Lots to cut, lots to clear!

Most of the scenes you see here are by the bottom patio which is part of the jungle area at the farthest point from the house in our garden.

Let there be more light!
Our canopy along the jungle walk
If you can see through the greenery you can just about notice something new in this area...a concrete block wall which is the new garden outbuilding/garage our neighbour built on his property.

I spy something new...
A concrete wall! But our plants are doing a good job so far screening it
An 'ugly' wall as a backdrop, something to be annoyed with? In theory yes but in reality neither of us are bothered with it. First it's in their property so they can do what they want within what's permitted and legal. Second, I'd rather have that than the prospect of having a large trampoline at the bottom of their garden. By having that outbuilding it means that trampoline scenario is not going happen at all.

In fact we gained two significant positives which is an enhanced privacy at the bottom of our garden and the area becoming even more sheltered with less cold winter winds passing through it and the occurrence of frost significantly decreasing as well as settling of snow.

A quad of Aloe suprafoliata gracing the edge of the pond.
And everyone should have a graceful Podocarpus growing in a pot!
One of the views through the jungle walkway
Our neighbour offered us several options to help blend in or soften the look of the wall facing us, almost free reign (apart from smashing it of course). And we promptly did...nothing! So many options we're considering and with life too busy we opted to just let it be for now as it's not bothering us that much. Perhaps something for 2017!

Mark :-)

24 comments :

  1. I agree with you 100%. I'll take a wall any day since it's so easy to hide (if desired) compared to other things.

    What do you do with the trimmings? Do you guys have a compost heap or bin? Or green waste pickup?

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    1. Green waste pickup, every two weeks they collect a brown but which are for green waste :)

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  2. Please tell me that you use machetes for the cutting back -- that would just be so fitting! Every summer I'm amazed at how private your space becomes, seemingly miles from another house. Perhaps the wall will become more of an issue when the colder weather thins the vegetation?

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    1. Indeed Alan, the wall is a lot more obvious during the winter but then again we rarely hang out there during the colder months. Secateurs and loppers but yes we also have a machete :)

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  3. A trampoline! Yikes, you did dodge a bullet there. I love the sense of enclosure and privacy your jungle provides. My old garden had much that same feeling while the current one feels much more exposed even with the harbor and ocean on one side.

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    1. I know Kris, whew! Imagine a kid full trampoline during the weekend when we're at home, would have been a nuisance!

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  4. Hi Mark, your garden looks fantastic this summer! I can imagine that it is a lot of work to keep your jungle in check, but so worth it.
    It is great that you deal with the new concrete wall with such ease. I guess not many people would be able to respond like that. On the photos it really doesn't look too bad and as you said your jungle plants conceal it quite well. Happy summer days!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Thanks Christina! The wall isn't too bad, and do love the extra privacy it provides :)

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  5. A wall can add a nice sense of enclosure. I'm thinking that a trompe l'oeil painting of a jungle scene on the garage would be fab or painting it an amazing shade of blue to make it seem like more sky. Your jungle looks amazing!

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    1. We're thinking of mirrors but that's a pricey option, tromp l'oeil sounds good!

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  6. Cute supervisor :) those Aloes are beautiful.

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  7. What a kind neighbor to actually consider that the wall is now part of your garden! Which is looking fabulous by the way...

    (And oh what I would give for a simple concrete block wall instead of the eyesore I have!)

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    1. Thanks Loree :) and your wall isn't too bad either.

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  8. Along with the rest of your garden in full summer glory, your suprafoliatas look great. That's a beautiful Aloe.

    Yes, better wall than trampoline. I have a nice clear view of the neighbor's trampoline and batting cage--but they are such good neighbors, it's okay.

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    1. Thanks Gail! Happy to take the wall over trampoline anytime :)

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  9. I think you might come to really appreciate that wall - if nothing else so in terms of micro-climate. I put my most tender plants on the west walls of our house or garage, to protect them from the icy eastern Gorge winds. And yes - SO much better than a trampoline! :)

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    1. Indeed Anna, in fact I'm surprised with myself how much I have warmed up already to the wall.

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  10. It is amazing how it really looks like a jungle. It is beautiful. And it is nice that the plants hide so well the concrete wall.

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  11. Lovely neighbour, lovely garden. I'm guessing that any additional shade from the wall is not an issue when you have to do so much cutting back anyway! The wall is definitely a bonus! Cx

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    1. And another angle to be creative with :)

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  12. I love your jungle walk!
    The subject of neighbors who build unattractive buildings next to the property line is a sore one for me. I had to spend a lot of money planting a screen to hide an unattractive workshop (3 stories tall!) my neighbor built in full view of our front windows. But yours is not so bad. It would disappear if it were painted green or covered with vines, and and as you say, one hardly notices it even as it is.

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  13. The best way to relax is to sit under a tree and listen to the sounds of the birds. There is something different about plants. They are very special. I love gardening and thank you so much for the blog Question Signal

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