Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I pine for yew

When I moved here 7+ years ago, the back of the property was a lot more secluded. The branches of the pine trees were lower, screening me from most of the 15th fairway. The 14th green (right behind the big split-trunk silver maple, though, has always been exposed.

this place was for sale, it was touted as "secluded private yard with park-like setting". And it was. There was good cover at the back of the property and my neighbor to my left also had lots of saplings and shrubs along her border to the golf course which was great additional visual screening for me.

Since then that house has changed hands. A single guy moved in and cleared out all the screen shrubs. Then last year the golf course limbed up not only the pines behind my house, but throughout the entire course! They wanted easier mowing (like those cemeteries where all the markers are flush with the grass so they can mow right over the graves). So now, not only am I exposed to the fairway adjacent to my property, but all the golfers as far as 3 fairways over! (And all the noise now carries further, too.)

Last year was the big deck arbor repair so couldn't swing any serious screening. I thought this year I'd at least make a start on the project. I wanted several Eastern white pines to screen the 14th green. I also wanted some hefty yews to plant along my entire 165 feet of rear property line.

Yesterday my friend and I went to see what was available. We planned to go to Sam's Club, Home Depot and Lowes. We started at Lowes. Last week there wasn't much there. But wow, now racks were full. I didn't get my hopes up, though, especially with my modest budget.

First thing we saw were balled Eastern white pines. $26. But they weren't great -- 3.5 feet tall and kinda scrubby. Obviously they needed water and were suffering. We passed those. We checked out inside and as I was walking along an employee was placing a display cart with a fresh delivery of yews. I took a gander. Taxus "Runyan" in 1 gallon pots. I read: Fast growing. Good. 8-10' high, 12' wide. Better! $5.98 BINGO! The rack held 24. Four didn't look so good, but the other 20 - mine mine mine. LOL I had expected to have to pay at least twice as much for yews that size!

Still, I didn't know if I could do pines this year. But we wandered around some more and found 5 2-gallon pots of Eastern white pines that were maybe 20" tall. They looked wonderful. All soft and green - though very small. $18. Well, I reasoned, I saved a lot on the yews. We're here. They're there. Guess I should spring for them. As I was loading them onto the cart, the same employee passed by and mentioned that there were bigger outside. Yeah, we said. But they looked bad. She agreed, then said she needed to move them or they will just die. How about $10 each?

Oh man. From what we saw they looked like all they wanted was a place to die. We told her we'd think about it. Eventually we checked out the big pines again. There were two pallets and all the outside ones where nasty. But in the middle, where the root balls had retained moisture, there were some salvageable ones. Hmmm. So I counter offered. $8? Calls were made. People paged. Okeydokey. Shazaam! (Honestly I don't know which was more exciting: finding what I needed or playing lets-make-a-deal. LOL)

So now I have evergreen screening to install out back. I'm sure there are aches and pains in my future, but will be well worth it!

It was as if the planets had aligned. A beautiful day, out with a good friend and her cavernous van, and the price fairy perched on my shoulder. When we stopped for ice cream on the way home, my friend said it was such a lucky day for me I should buy a lottery ticket. I laughed and said, "Well, yeah. But only if I could get it for 75 cents." ;-D


  1. Great job finding all you wanted at great prices :) Should do the screening job well!

  2. I'm looking forward to seeing all the trees go into places. Bet it will look like heaven!
    Congrats, Kris. I always love your garden photos.

  3. Felicia, hi! Thanks for visiting me. (Your pillow pic is cute.)

    Felicia, Ha Xuan: Yes, I'm hoping this will really improve the cozy sanctuary feel I'm shooting for.

    I must admit I went back to Lowes yesterday and 'rescued' 4 more of the pine trees. Not as good as the first 6, but might make it. I'll use these 4 as 'filler' way in the back. I just couldn't resist at that price! :-)

  4. Never pay full price at Lowe's for a shrub that isn't 100%. Always find the Live Nursery Specialist and make an offer. Usually, they'll cut you a deal. If the LNS isn't available, as for the Dept Mgr or Zone Mgr. They hate having to write off dead plants.

    Congrats. I've got some Honeycombs coming to me from a customer. And I've started rooting your white butterfly bushes. They grow 8-10' tall here, so they can be used as screens too. Don't forget about privet. It can get huge.

  5. Hey Tom, that's GREAT advice regarding the Lowes stuff!! THANKS!

    I'm seeing that maybe half the privet I put in the hold bed last fall (that I sprouted from your seeds) have made it through the winter. When they get perhaps 12" tall, I'll transplant them along the driveway.

    And I appreciate your extra efforts on the butterfly bushes and honeycombs. Did any of the hollyhocks sprout for you?


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