Shrubs We do Not Like (2)

It appears by lack of response that unlikable trees are more interesting to discuss. So Based on the few entries, I would guess it is time to move on.

In the next week or so we will move on to trees and shrubs we do like to have, and use in the landscape. We Designers sometime fall into a pattern when using shrubs . . . What we like, dislike, commonly use in the residential landscape . . .

See: 50 years of Taxus sp. surrounding houses.

That’s a Shrub  Update: Speaking of shrubs, I was told this is from a Chelsea Flower Show, anyone know for sure?

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.


  1. It isn’t so much a lack of interest as pure distraction my the Python… which was good.
    I am delighted by your list. I was at a nursery yesterday that had seemingly ACRES of burning bush and Juniper. I just shook my head.
    Mostly my thought is sort of a headslap thought: “Yes… these shrubs DO suck. How come it never occurred to me before.”

    I couldn’t talk about shrubs without bringing up the Knights of Ni, and yes those two are in every nursery-everywhere.

  2. i think the comment about common use in the residential landscape is important. i get into patterns based on what i know works. it will be nice to hear from others about what they know works –

    Works-and get used a lot, it can become a habit . . . but if it’s designed for folks who aren’t going to work with their plants, we gotta go with what works. Did any of that make any sense?

  3. I just tore out 3 of the largest Burning bushes ever. 250 lbs rootballs each! Cut down a couple junipers too..
    I just bought this home and it looks like nothing has been done to the yard for years.
    The b. bushes have bee there at least since 1980 according to one neighbor.

    Ripping out burning bushes, and cutting down juniper .. . good for you!

  4. Okay. I like burning bushes. I’m considering a tall hedge of “common privet” (which grows literally like a weed here) on my western fence line where I just had three huge maples removed (more about that on blog). I hear everyone on Long Island has one — why not here?
    I have 3 burning bushes that I intentionally planted alongside a very blank wall (beneath windows) of my gray garage. I think the red leaves definitely add character.
    Is there something wrong with me??

    In a word . . . yes!
    Most professional Designers, and the vast majority of great Gardener’s that visit this site will tell you to come up with another solution-especially “next” to a wall. Oh; “common privet”-growing ‘like’ a weed . . . well . . .

  5. Speaking of growing like weeds and foundations. One of the thinks one of the previous owners did was to plant BAMBOO by some of my foundations. This stuff is killing my foundations!
    How do I kill it? I have been spraying with Bayer brush killer. I seems to make some of the bamboo wilt, but more comes up! I have been avoiding digging it up just this yet for fear of spreading it more.
    I cannot beleive how much is there and this is western NY! I moved from about 2 hours away, and in the nearly 20 years there never saw any bamboo, unlike here.
    Help me please.. he cries with anguish…

    . . . one word . . . backhoe . . .


    Funny you said that.. My boss came over today to look at the landscaping I just completed in my front yard.. You know, one spot is where I tore out the dreaded burning bushes.. The other spot had this ugly huge juniper..

    We walked around back to where I was working on clearing out the bamboo, and he said the same thing.. BACKHOE!

    So I guess that’s what I will need to do. Have them just take the dirt out with the roots….

    I was hoping getting full strength roundup would do the trick.

  7. this will do the trick , use full strenght round up but mix amonium sulphate with round up and spray on the young leaves only from 6 am to 9 am only and the rest to be applied on the roots the technique is to put it in a small plastic bag / s and have the roots exposed to the mixture so that it will be absored by the plant as it will go to the whole system of the plant since bamboo is still considered as grass , you where right in selecting round up but th e mode of application was incorrect hope this info will help you in solving your problem, but do take not no water what s0 ever to be applied on the plant as this will render the application useles .

    best regards ,


  8. Can you explain in more detail the technique? Where does the the plastic bags with roundout and amonium sulfate go? Do I dig a hole and place it in the ground?

    1. This sculpture is also at the Lost Gardens of Heligan down in Cornwall in the uk along with a couple of others. Stunning isn’t it?

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