Every year since it was planted in September 2014 I have taken a photo of the photinia hedge in my front garden.
Five years have passed since then and now the hedge is looking magnificent. It is always at its best in spring when there is a growth spurt and it is covered in new red leaves. It has got so big now that when I am coming home on the bus I can tell the driver, “Drop me off near the house with the red hedge.”
It has survived the early attacks of possums or wallabies who chewed the leaves. It survived the neighbours who like to drive their quad bikes in front of my house and the postie who pulls up beside the hedge to get to the mailbox. It has survived dry summers when I didn’t like to water it too often in case it seemed wasteful, especially last summer when we had the bushfires and we were afraid the local supply might not be enough for the firefighters.
Now it is a home for small birds who hide in it. I see them popping in and out from between the leaves in the morning when I am waiting for my ride to the shop.
Finally, I’d like to show you the backup tree. When I ordered the original plants the garden guys suggested that I buy an extra one in case any died. That way we could replace it and there would not be a gap in the hedge. I took their advice and bought one which I planted myself at the bottom of the back garden near the compost bin. As it happened I did lose a couple of trees but not in the first year and the others had grown sufficiently that the gap would be covered. Just as well too because the backup tree grew like crazy and after a year or so was much bigger than its front yard relations. Looking at it today it is hard to believe they are the same age.
Photinias are sometimes grown as trees and this one flowers regularly. This article rather unkindly states that they are rather unattractive flowers and smell bad. Granted they are not the most attractive flowering plants in the world but people mostly grow them for the leaves. I never expected my little plant at the bottom of the garden to turn into a big, leafy tree but it does a good job of blocking part of the view of “Ugly House” behind me.