"It's a sign things are wrong when trees and shrubs are too big for their location. Or paths are overgrown. Or arbors and arches are lost under mounds of foliage. All these are symptoms that a garden has lost its identity."
January 25, 2002
On this day, the Vancouver Sun shared an article by Steve Whysall called Three R’s Hold the Key to Garden Renovation.
The three R’s are Restore, Renovate, and Revitalize.
Here’s an excerpt:
To pull it off, you have got to be honest. You need to look at your garden without sentiment or romanticism and admit (painful as this may be) that things have not worked out as planned and that changes are needed.
For help, you could call in an expert. Someone like Nenagh McCutcheon of Langley is now a specialist at renovating and upgrading gardens that have gone astray.
At one time, Nenagh was a copywriter in advertising… She is now one of Vancouver's ace garden designers.
For example, in West Vancouver, she came to the rescue of a waterfront garden grossly overgrown by red roses and mugo pines.
Most of it had to go," says Nenagh. "To renovate, it's usually a case of digging up 80 percent of what's there, everything that can be lifted and turfing what you don't want, replanting what is worth recycling, and then bringing in new stuff.
What are the signs that a garden needs a makeover?
Loss of structure is the most obvious, Nenagh says.
It's a sign things are wrong when trees and shrubs are too big for their location. Or paths are overgrown. Or arbors and arches are lost under mounds of foliage. All these are symptoms that a garden has lost its identity.
Loss of color is another clue.
Perhaps a tree that once had a small canopy now casts so much shade that instead of growing roses, you have to start planting hostas.
Or perhaps plants that were once a comfortable distance apart have grown too close, and the effect is jarring, she says.
The loss of a sense of peace and tranquility is another sign.
And, of course, there is always the fact that you may be simply bored with how your garden looks.
Step one is to evaluate what plants are worth keeping.
Some will be too big to move.
Some can be "shovel pruned," dug up, and tossed out.
The next step is to prune.
Intelligent pruning can change things dramatically. Not only can you end up with a more attractive plant, but the pruning will also let in more light and air so other plants can thrive.
[Another step is to remove old or unwanted plants.]
When you lift plants, it gives you the opportunity to revitalize the soil. Over time old soil can become sour and compact. When you renovate, you empty the border and can bring in new soil."