About four years ago, I helped my friend Joyce relandscape her front yard in Kearny. She has done her best to take care of it, but doesn't know much about plants. So I went up last Saturday to do some pruning and yard work with her. One of the trees we planted was a desert willow. This is a delightful tree, minimal care and beautiful flowers. For Joyce however, it was a monster. It wasn't trimmed into tree form when it was young and so grew into a mulit trunked out of control shrub. It blocked her view out of her front windows, keeping her from being able to spy on her neighbors! Here are some before photos:
The tall, multi trunked thing, taller than the roofline is the desert willow. Her cassia is also blocking her window.
So we went to work. We had a hand saw and some loppers. I did the best I could to try and turn the desert willow into a tree. Time will tell If we've been successful, but I think it will work out as long as she keeps the suckers from growing. Her neighbors weren't happy with what we were doing. They said they loved the tree and thought it was awful, what we were doing to it. I think they just didn't want Joyce to spy on them. My after photos are before I got to it with a chain saw I borrowed from the Hales. I couldn't saw through some of the branches that were up to 6" thick with the chain saw.
As you can see, she can now see out of her front window. We got the cassia trimmed too. There are still a lot of ugly stumps sticking out of the tree in this photo. It was almost dark when I was back with the chain saw and I don't have any photos of that.
Here are the grasses after we got some of the dead stuff pulled out. They could still use some cleaning up, but we were about done.
All in all, I was still very pleased with her yard. Her golden barrels are growing very slowly. Her rosemary in her front planter looks great as do the fairy dusters behind the grasses. She had already trimmed back her bird of paradise, but one neighbor lady had already been by and told Joyce that she thought her bird of paradise was the prettiest one in the neighborhood. I was excited to see how much her hesperaloe and ocotillo had grown. The ocotillo was only 2 stems about 12 inches high when we planted it. Here they are now. Hesperaloe, first.
I like her yard. A few things have died, but it still has some good structure to it. It was fun.