U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8a. Sunset climate zone 5

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Under The Big Trees

Before and after.

The area in front of our house with dry soil is taken by the roots of two big fir trees stealing all the moisture. Those roots create a thick mat that turns digging into torture and suffocates the other plants' roots.

Yes, I know, it's ugly.
Azaleas and pinks helped a bit, but the shrubs were miserable and some perennials that I tried to incorporate died.

What has been done:

Old mulch removed; soil loosened; compost added and mixed with the original soil; new plants added; new mulch added, watering increased.


Added plants: Lavender, Pacysandra, Sweet woodruff, Sedum, Knock Out rose, Mondo grass, Vinka minor, Hydrangea Endless Summer (in a bottomless pot), Dwarf Lily of the Nile, Moor Grass.

Who is doing the best: woodruff, vinka, moor grass, sedum (in the shade of the Japanese maple).

This project isn't finished, yet. But I can already tell that my husband likes this area more than before because he is not ashamed to display his OU flag now.

Go Sooners!


  1. That's it - you need to come and figure out what to do with my yard! What a great job!! I have been concentrating on the veggies, and my poor yard needs so much work.

  2. I love before and after photos, and I especially enjoyed these, because I want to plant under some evergreen trees, too. Thanks for the tips! The area is looking lovely!

  3. Those areas under big conifers are so challenging. I have a giant cedar that takes up a huge amount of ground space, the roots seem to spread forever and almost nothing will grow. Hence, many bare patches right at the front of our house! I like what you've done, but have a question - I heard Ciscoe Morris talk about trees the other weekend and he said that you should never never change the level of soil around a tree after it's planted. Apparently they get very used to the exact amount of available oxygen (? hope I'm getting that right) and altering it will kill the tree. Maybe you have info otherwise? Just wanted to pass that along, maybe it doesn't apply if you left the area at the same level as before.

  4. Fantastic! Your remedies really worked, and it sounds like you had a little fun along the way, too;-) I know it's not over yet...but the process itself is what really matters. We learn from that! Now you are ready to come and give expert advice and opinion in my yard!

  5. Tatyana,I would say Azaleas will do quite well with lots of mulch and some Azalea fertilizer. They can stand it quite dry. I don't know about the Lavender because they do best with lots of sun and they might not like it under fir trees. Lavender also likes basic soil while Azaleas and Rhododendrons like acid soil like fir trees. The plantings look good.

  6. Tatyana,

    You did a great job on this project! Hope the fir trees do not take away all the water for your plants.

    What the heck is a Sooner?

  7. You did an awesome job! Love the plant selections!

  8. Hi Melanie and thank you! After all the vegetables are planted, I hope you'll have some time to play with your yard!

    Thank you Sue! Some commentators gave good tips.

    Karen, thanks! Yes, you are right -trees can suffer even if we put too much mulch near their base. That is why I tried do not touch the soil that is close to the trunk and didn't put mulch there, just a bit, for color.

    Jan, thank you! I agree with you - the process itself was fun! I know that some plants won't survive and I'll learn from that.

    Titania, I think I do such weird combinations pretty often. That poor lavender was in the pot for a long time. I didn't find a better place for it and put it there while saying: If you want to live, you will survive here! If I find a better place, I'll move it. Thank you!

    Randy,those trees not only take the water, their roots created a thick mat that suffocates the other plants'roots.
    Sooners is the name of Oklahoma University and its sport teams.
    The US government sponsored several "land rushes", the most famous in 1889. Settlers that had placed their claims on plots before the official land runs were called "Sooners", thus giving Oklahoma its nickname, the Sooner State.

    Robin, thank you so much!

  9. It looks great. I love the hydrangea in the pot, great idea! Your gardens are beautiful!

  10. It looks fantastic. Great job.

  11. Well done. The post I read before yours was all about KnockOut roses -- they sound wonderful. I'll be interested to see how yours does in this garden.

  12. Tatyana, a very good plant to grow in these conditions is Lo-Gro Sumac. It is fragrant, blooms, and spreads a bit. It would feel right at home here. The other plants are looking good too, especially the azalea.

  13. You did a wonderful job transforming that area. I love the selection of plants! -Jackie

  14. Well done you they all look lovely and such a challenge under those trees.

  15. Oh how funny! You probably do not know but I am from Oklahoma. Both my parents attended OU, I went to TU in Tulsa. My grandparents lived in Norman so we often visited the campus there. My dad was the trainer for the football program back in the late 1920s. Now to the gardening segment, it looks so much happier now, the plants are smiling. :-)

  16. Very nice Tatyana - although I thought the first picture looked good but I know what you mean about wanting a bit more or fuller or just a different look. My woodland garden is loaded with stuff that grows ok with the firs like azaleas, rhodies, camellia and some little things. Cept mine isn't nice and neat like yours - it's bushy and at the moment weedy - haven't got to that one for weeding yet. ;-)

  17. Good work Tatyana! I agree these spaces are challenging. I am planting under an aspen grove in my backyard and am thinking of adding a retaining wall around it to make a raised bed of sorts. Seems easier then all the digging among the roots, etc. You did a wonderful job tho ~ everything looks beautiful and happy.

  18. Hi Tatyana

    I guess it'll be trial and error.

    Good luck


  19. Таня, беру все свои слова обратно. Я - дилетент, ничего не смыслящий в садоводстве. Просто много беспочвенных идей и неуправляемых эмоций. Ну вот опять идея: а если из ни сделать бонсай? Другой вариант: "Банзай!!!" ... И нет у тебя больше хвойных деревьев, которые всю влагу на участке выпили...
    Люблю, обнимаю. Светка.

  20. I've thought of getting my husband one of these. Now after seeing yours, I know for sure I need to do so. It is lovely out there, a bright spot of color for his beloved Sooners! Boomer Sooner! Thank you for steering me straight to it.


Thank you for stopping by and for your comment! I appreciate your time! See you soon on your blog!

Blog Archive

Search This Blog

Follow by Email

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...



Abyssinian Banana Actaea s. Alaska Amaryllis Amur Maple Aquilegia Aralia Arizona Arundel Castle Gardens Autumn Before and After Berry Bird Houses Blotanical Blue Poppy Book review Botanical Gardens Bouquets Butchart Gardens California Calla Canada Clematis Coleus Conifers Containers Corydalis Dahlia Dan Klennert Desert Landscape Dogs Dry creek bed Elandan Gardens End of Month View England Euphorbia Eze France Exotic garden Fall garden Favorite plants Favorite plants. Tree Philodendron Fences Foliage Formal gardens Foxglove France Fuchsia Garden decor Garden elements Garden works Gardening Tips Gardens of nature Gardens to see Gardens to see (tours) Geraniums Germany Giveaway Giverny Gossler Farms Nursery Grasses Great Dixter Greenhouse gunnera Hampton Court Hellebores Herbs and Vegetables Heronswood Hidcote History of gardening Holidays Hops Hosta Hydrangea Illumination Italy Japanese maple Kew Lakewold Gardens Lavatera Lavender Leucosceptrum stellipilum ‘Ogon' Lobelia tupa Meconopsis Melianthus major Minter Gardens Missouri Botanical Garden My Garden My Open Garden MY PICTURE OF THE DAY Neighborhood NPA Open Gardens NWFGS Old Goat Farm Orchids Oregon Pampas grass Peony Perennials Plant ID Poppy Problem areas Recipes Rhododendron Rock garden Romneya c. Russia and Russian Art Sarah P. Duke Gardens Serre de la Madone (Lawrence Johnston) Shade Garden Shrubs Sissinghurst Sky Watch Slope garden Slugs Spring/Summer garden Stachys Succulents Summer/Fall garden Texas Arboretum The Garden of Great Depression Tree Peony Trees Trips Tulip Festival Uncategorized Vegetable garden WA Weigela Wells Medina Nursery White garden Wild animals Wild flowers Wineries Winter and winter garden Wordless Wednesday
Copyright 2009-2018 TatyanaS, MySecretGarden Blog


Thank you! Best 130 Gardening Blogs