Very bravely, I invited Becky and Martha to come see the oak tree garden at its peak, knowing full well that they would insist on seeing the whole garden, bare spots and all. Even when warned off from the side cutting garden, they forged ahead and now know all my dirty gardening secrets.
They were, of course, kind and generous in their comments and gave me lots of good ideas. Among them:
*Instead of ripping out the honeysuckle and the akebia (which is actually at its most charming now, with tiny scented bell-shaped flowers and new citrus green leaves everywhere),
how about companions? Maybe a rose in front and some clematis in back?
*The transition from the aucuba along the walkway garden would be made beautiful by some black elephant ears, a wonderful contrast to the gold.
*When I take out the oddly failing white azaleas in the white garden, how about a hydrangea?
*Since the dogwood out front is soon going to its reward, all the more reason to rip out the forsythia along the fence and plant a pagoda dogwood (which I happen to know Colesville has in stock, but maybe I'll wait till fall).
Inspired by these ideas, I've also decided it's time to take out the less attractive of the pink azaleas I inherited by the front steps, which will allow me to come up with a better transition to the walkway garden on that side.
It was delightful to have them here, and I'm so grateful for their advice!