P80923It was so long ago that I barely remember it. I was just a little tyke. My older sister tripped on the driveway and broke one of the Japanese boxwood shrubs in the hedge on the edge of the driveway and front walkway. The hedge was still young then, and not completely filled in. My Pa replaced the missing shrub shortly afterward, but not before my younger brother and I learned that the gap was a shortcut through the hedge. The puny new shrub was not enough to compel us to go around like we had done before. Of course, it did not survive for long. It too got broken off.
We did feel sort of guilty, but only for a while. The second shrub was replaced with a third, which seemed like it should be sufficient to patch the gap in the otherwise formally shorn hedge. We were careful with this one, and actually got into the habit of going around the hedge to avoid altercation with it. However, it died even without our influence. Again, we felt guilty about the g. ap.
I do not remember if there were more attempts to fill the gap in the hedge with other shrubs. When we moved away from that house, the shrubs on either side were slowly filling in to obscure the void. A few years later, the gap could not be seen.
However, many years later, the hedge was pruned with an up-do, which exposed the lower few inches of trunk of each of the individual shrubs. Although there was no gap in the very uniform hedge, it was very obvious that one of the trunks was lacking, right where it had always been lacking. Oh, the guilt!
Even if someone wanted to go through the effort to cut a hole in the otherwise exemplary hedge to replace the missing shrub, it would be very difficult or impossible to find a shrub of that now old fashioned cultivar of Japanese boxwood. Modern cultivars are darker green. A single shrub of a modern cultivar would only compromise the uniformity of the now very uniform hedge. The missing shrub will need to stay missing forever. More guilt on top of guilt!
The satellite image below and the street level view from Google Maps shows that the hedge is now foliated all the way down the the ground. I will not even bother mentioning where the the missing shrub is missing from. I know you could not see it anyway. The hedge is a bit more overgrown than I can remember it ever being before, and it has a bit of that fat hedge syndrome going on, but it still looks great for half a century old. The gap is long gone. Only the guilt remains.P80923+

18 thoughts on “Guilt Trip

    1. This is one imperfection that I could do without. I am impressed though that the landscape is so perfectly maintained. There is an old holly oak out front that was in bad shape forty years ago. I would have cut it down decades ago. However, it looks better now than it ever did!


  1. I think I feel more guilt now about destroying plant life back then, than I ever did at the time I was a kid. But to cut myself some slack, I was ignorant to a lot of the harm done to Mother Nature and life forms.

    That hedge filled in nicely. Nature had her way filling in the gap anyway. I’d let that guilt go!!

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    1. tee hee . . . I worked for arborists who cut down more diseased Monterey pines than I can count in the summer of 1988. I cut down acres of diseased coast live oaks in the late 1990s. I regularly procure permits for the removal of trees in urban areas. Yes, that makes that little boxwood seem rather insignificant.

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  2. When I was a child my mother went to visit a woman she knew, and dragged me along. They talked, and talked, as adults will do. And I got bored, as children will do. “Go out and play” were magic words and out I went. The woman had what even I could tell was a beautiful garden, laid out over two levels. Well, I’d been watching steeple chasing on TV, and so naturally when I saw those 2 levels it suggested a jump to me and so I spent the afternoon being a steeplechaser. I cringe every time I think about what I must have done to her beautiful garden…

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  3. I can’t believe it’s been left there! The first thing I’d have done is to tear it out! I despise boxwood, and the tidy little way they’re usually pruned. I know that particular hedge is nostalgic to you, so excuse my boxwood hatred! Although it comes in second to junipers. Those went when I moved into my current home! Huge spider-web collecting junipers blocking the front windows, and one lovely prostrate one creeping all over the front yard, which was only it, a barberry and bark chips over black plastic and netting to keep the cats out. Horrid landscaping. 50 years and they hadn’t even planted a single fruit tree! I grew up with a father who had a lath house, and brought seeds home from family vacations, even sending them through the USDA from Europe! The yard was more wild and native (CA) than formal hedges! Although as a child I loved the lush perfect lawns of neighbors.

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    1. Actually, if I had not known it all my life, and it were in my garden, I would have taken out the curved part on the walkway. I like the straight section along the driveway, even though it is that old fashioned yellowish boxwood. I really dislike concrete driveways, so will do what I must to separate it from the rest of the garden. Besides, I really like old plant material and old fashioned landscape features. That front yard it too small to do much with. The back yard is where the fruit trees are. I can see that some that were there decades ago are still there, although the shade trees that got too big are now gone. The old apricot tree is gone just because it was too old. It was too old forty years ago!


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