Monday, May 25, 2015

Do not disturb

Voila! Here is the privacy screen on my patio, a virtual wall of laurels. Six years down the road, they've finally achieved enough height and stature to shield the view from passersby.

Do not disturb

Voila! Here is the privacy screen on my patio, a virtual wall of laurels. Six years down the road, they've finally achieved enough height and stature to shield the view from passersby.

Technically, these are Prunus laucerasus 'Schipkaensis,' a variety of cherry laurel that more typically is called just plain old skip laurel or 'Schip' laurel. (Now I know why!)

It's an evergreen with glossy green leaves and, as you can see from the photo, beautiful white flower spikes in spring, followed by tiny black fruits. Unfortunately, the beautiful white spikes turn to dirty brown about now. Pretty horrendous, and while some may consider the fragrance - I use that term lightly - pleasant, I can't stand it. So I keep my distance.

This spring, I discovered a lot of dead branches in the middle of these now-substantial evergreens, so I cut them out. The birds who hide and hang out in there were delighted. You can hear them from the kitchen. I think they're catching up on the local news, and maybe hiding from the hawk we often see at the top of the elm tree nearby.

Skip laurels grow to 8 feet tall. These are about 6. That's a foot a year. Not too shabby, and a nice alternative to something people are still planting for privacy - bamboo.

That makes me want to hide!

 

Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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