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.
I first posted this in November last year although I have posted a photo of the hedge every spring since it was put in. It is starting to get a lot of new growth now that spring is supposedly here so the other day I took a few new photos to add to the timeline.
The Photinia hedge was planted in October 2014 to enhance the front of the house. This was long before painting, paths or any other work was done. I chose these plants because I see a lot of them growing around here so I knew they would suit the conditions and also because I like the red colour of the new growth. I have tried to take a photo of the hedge each year . It’s been slow but now it is finally looking like a real hedge even though every bush seems to be growing at a different rate. The ones at either end are smaller. I think they get too much carbon monoxide from vehicles stopping at the letter box and in my neighbours driveway. A couple got nibbled by possums or possibly wallabies who visit the garden although I have never seen them. One was taken out completely either by the postie or the neighbour and just died but the rest are going strong.
Four years ago we decided to grow a hedge to screen the house from the road. I chose Photinia as it is a commonly used hedging plant locally so I knew it would have a good chance of growing and I like the colours as the new growth is red. Jason and Brodie, the “garden guys” got the plants for me and Jason suggested buying an extra one and planting it in an out of the way part of the garden in case we needed a replacement.
Over time we did lose a couple of the plants but the hedge was dense enough that the gap did not matter too much so the odd one was left in peace at the bottom of the garden. Some people do grow Photinia as a tree it is not only used as hedging.
Well today it has well and truly overtaken its hedge based brothers and sisters and is now taller than I am while they have not quite reached five feet.
I was chatting to Jason about this recently and he suggested that it is all about location. It rains a lot here as you know and in summer I water the hedge in dry spells but the soil is relatively dry there compared to the bottom of the garden which in winter is so damp that I nearly got my foot stuck in the mud when I went to the compost bin one day recently. I water the other garden trees but never that one. It has thrived on neglect.
The hedge has been trimmed a few times but only to tidy it up as some plants have grown faster than others and it has not been trimmed for a couple of months. The back yard tree has never been trimmed in any way. It looks untidy because Cindy broke a branch when she was jumping and barking at the neighbour dog who had chewed a hole in the fence.