I'm getting frustrated by the ficus trees. They're so tall we can't clip the tops anymore, even with the ladder. The path there on the left is pretty narrow but the ficus keeps growing out into the path. I have to clip them 2 or 3 times a year just to keep them under control. And they're so thick that no light or rain gets to the ground beneath them, making that whole area a dark, dead zone.
So I'm considering cutting down all three ficus trees and replacing them with a smaller, more open and deciduous tree. I'll keep the elephant yuccas, they don't really fit the style but they're so tall and stunning I don't have the heart to kill them. And I'll keep the cumquat tree. But I'm thinking something like a crepe myrtle, or of similar size and shape, would really open up that bed. The tree would be on the south side of the yucca, which is why deciduous would be better, when it's in winter shade it'd be dormant. I'd be able to plant underneath it, and you'd actually see the plants!
In any case, it's best to plant deciduous trees in the winter when they're dormant, so that's a project for next year. But I'm open to suggestions for what to plant!
The other project is for the side beds. Remember how I filled in this half with pebbles? Well I'm now thinking that all those pebbles are wasted space. All I need is a path to walk along, I don't need 30cm of blank pebbles! So I'm thinking of pushing back the pebbles and moving the bed forward, all the way along the house. On the right side, I'll extend it at the back half but probably not the front half whilst I wait for the creeping fig to cover that ugly fence.
I made some extremely gimpy "drawings" of what this might look like. For the nearer left-hand bed, I'm thinking I might move the hellebore forward and plant something with some height behind it. Or I might plant something short in front of the hellebore. Something a bit lush and shade-loving, since this corridor doesn't get much sun.
On the right I'll need something more temporary. At the moment the back-right half gets a fair bit of sun so it can take things like marigolds and sun-lovers, but the near-right half is more shady. So I might stick to annuals or cheap perennials in the short term. In the long term, in maybe 5 years my vitex (in the raise bed to the right) should start to spread some shade across that whole area. Then I'llbe able to transform that whole right-hand side to a more shady-woody zone.
Just when you think your garden is "done" ... heh.