For many years, the BGC has maintained our signature Blackridge corners utilizing primarily heavily sheared yews and euonymus. We are moving towards a more sustainable paradigm, and as a result, have removed all of the sheared shrubs except for the ones remaining at the Collins Road corners and the BCA corners, and those will be eventually replaced, as well.
I know that folks have enjoyed the symmetry and formal look of the sheared plants, and I also know that a more naturalistic look will take some getting used to, but we are committed to making the corners look beautiful while making them sustainable. As a small and shrinking non-profit, we can't afford to make all of the changes at once, but we are looking at it like we look as raising our children--we want to give them the ability to make it on their own when we aren't there to take care of them. (Eventually, we won't have anyone left in the club who is able to lug water to the corners like Ma Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie.)
To provide consistency, we have selected some of the same plants, like Euonymus alata 'Compacta' or burning bush, that had been used on the corners as sheared hedges, but are now using them in their natural form, and will prune them selectively as needed, but will not shear them. Don't worry; if Versailles is on one end of the spectrum and Fallingwater is at the other, we are probably more Louis XIV than Frank Lloyd Wright.
I have listed a link below to a good article from Plant Amnesty that describes some of the problems with shearing shrubs, and I've posted a very short video from One Garden At A Time. (Nancy and I met the lady at the WPa Gardening Symposium two weeks ago!)
Plant Amnesty article on "Shear Madness: http://www.plantamnesty.org/shearmadness.htm
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