Hit and Run Vent! GRR

SeaTac, WA(Zone 8a)

Ok I just have to vent! (I changed my screen name, so I am formerly "poobear439"). It has been cold here in the PNW and the road along my house had ice which caused a car to lose control and drive through my neighbors fence, run over my lilac tree, wipe out our mailboxes, and destroy two planters with Arbutus unedo 'Compacta' trees in them.. along with other plants that I had such as unusual 4 foot tall sedum that was given to me that I have not seen anywhere else..

I of course had the police come out (as it was a hit and run) and he asked if I even wanted to make a police report! Um.. yes. So I call the insurance people and go through the damage, and was telling the lady how all my plants were destroyed.. I was pretty upset about my plants and I just knew that no one else was understanding! It's not like I am crying like a child was hit, but I mean, I do really care about plants and put a lot of energy into caring for them properly.. I don't use pesticides and remove weeds mechanically ie. When the insurance lady was asking me what "real damages" occurred, I was thinking, how does someone place value on a plant that was a gift given to you.. or a 10 year old lilac tree you transplanted.. etc.

I mean, you can't even tell plants existed where the car drove over now!! And, what a d-bag to drive away not leaving a note.. even saying "sorry I don't have insurance one day I will repay you". Or something..

Anyways, I am trying to laugh it off on how ridiculous it is that this actually happens.. but I am a little frustrated because when I have talked about it I feel like people just sort of look at me like, "What is the big deal it's just a plant". I just think that there is something about putting time and effort into nurturing something, and when someone literally drives all over it, it is rude!

Just wondering if anyone else has ever gotten the "what's the big deal" when it comes to "plant drama"?

Thumbnail by LakeLivingRos Thumbnail by LakeLivingRos
Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Oh Ros what a mess. we here on DG do know it is a big deal. However- I think you may save the sedum, the roots seem very tough. the shrubs are probably goners. Have you decided what you will replace them with?

Vashon, WA(Zone 8b)

Wow! I'm sorry about your plants. Some insurance people just don't understand that the living things we nurture for years are not like any meaningless object. I am glad nobody was out getting the mail, given the state of the mailbox.

SeaTac, WA(Zone 8a)

Thanks for the support! Ha, I have been so busy gardening (cleaning up mailbox area & amending soil in other garden areas) I have not had a chance to respond back until now!

I don't know what I want to plant to replace the lilac tree. I was thinking of trying to find a more accent dwarf type tree, the lilac really only offered an accent when in bloom, and all other times was more bland.. I have been looking at different trees, but am hesitant because the conditions are REALLY "difficult" (beyond potential injury from cars plowing over it!). Some of my "would like to have" for lilac replacement would be something fragrant (so you get a wiff of nice smelling when getting the mail, or so the postman has a nice smell when dropping off mail), preferably spring & fall interest, preferably deciduous, being under a telephone line zone the height has to be no greater than the line, a plant that withstands car pollution & is beneficial toward really pumping clean air, fairly hardy & drought tolerant once established, and must withstand super cement clay soil that has awful drainage.. (I just simply can't dig more than 1 foot or so due to the clay (for some reason this one spot is super hard, where most other parts of my front side bed I was able to dig 2 feet down), I also will mound and raise the dirt as much as possible, and there is a lot of polluted water run off from the road (the road sort of slants toward my house). It is also a full sun spot that is in an exposed area with wind.

Haha, I know I have a TON of "ideal wants" for whatever plant I decide! I have been reviewing my plant books/encyclopedias for ideas but it's hard to compare and contrast when looking at books since I can't put different pages side by side! And, I also have been looking at other alternatives to just tree or large bush, like maybe pairing a fall interest tree with a hardy perennial to make that area pop at a different time of year.

I did buy two replacement arbutus unedo trees for my planters though, since I loved those guys for their hardiness & all season beauty. When I went to Furneys (my nursery) they had just happen to get a whole bunch in right before I went so I thought it was meant to be to replace my planters with the same plant.

On the positive side, with the fence down, my neighbor realized plants look better ;) and agreed to not replace the fence with the plans of slowly taking down sections with time when I want to plant a tree to be a "property line" instead! I have 4 taxus x media 'hicksii' (yews) as my main evergreen plants & a weeping blue atlas cedar 'glauca pendula" along the 120ish foot front yard line, but was thinking of adding some sort of dwarf fruit trees between those when I remove a section of fence.

I really hope my sedum comes back though!! That plant was so awesome for it's hardiness! Crossing my fingers!!

& Maury, I AM SO GLAD no one was getting mail.. or walking by during the incident.. Tyee High School is only a 5 min walk away.. and so many teenagers walk to school in the morning.. along with morning joggers running around the lake.

Anyways, hope you guys had a wonderful Christmas and/or holiday!

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I have been thinking about your spot. I have hardpan clay too. Most of the shrubs that are carefree are like lilac with one-season-interest only (Ceanothus, Escallonia).
I have a Hamamelis x intermedia 'Pallida' that is happy, but my particular cultivar retains it's dead leaves so I do not know which cultivar to recommend (if it would drop it's leaves it would be great, with multi-season interest.
My smoke tree 'Golden Spirit' would suit that spot but it grows sloooowly. Other cultivars seem to grow faster. Most have bluish or purple leaves.
My Japanese Snowbell tree is trouble free. They get to 20-25 ft ( How high are the wires?).
I looked at a book for PNW by the American Horticultural Society. They have a list of clay tolerant shrubs, trees:
Magnolia x soulangiana for clay, sun, pollution tolerant. grows to 20 feet
Viburnum plicatum 'Mariesii' also 20 ft, might get too wide.
V. plicatum 'Pink Beauty 10'x10'
various Spirea
Pyracantha 'Mohave" (12'. but has thorns).
and of course...Syringa vulgaris, the Lilac (but you knew that).

But I have another idea-plant another lilac, then grow a hard-pruning (Group 3) Clematis to grow up into it and bloom mid-late summer! It can't overwhelm the shrub because each spring you whack it off low. It would need a bit of water, but would not mind your clay. Presto-multi-season interest.

Also-lilacs can sprout from the roots so unless you dug out the whole thing it may bounce back. Overgrown lilacs can be cut back hard.

All your other plans sound great. I like the idea of the fence replacement. I like Arbutus too. I killed mine with the lawnmower. I replaced it with a manzanita 'Sentinel' with red-purple bark. I hope it survived the cold spell to 9 degrees.

Vashon, WA(Zone 8b)

Those are all great ideas. I have hardpan clay also, which is definitely a challenge. I have only 2 more possibilities to add. Physocarpus (ninebark) is a native plant, and there are a few more ornamental varieties with different colors of leaf. I have Coppertina, which has reddish leaves and pink flowers. There are also one with darker leaves and one with more of a chartreuse leaf I think.
If you want to consider a small evergreen there or in another location, I have a Thuja "yellow ribbon" that is supposed to get about 10 feet tall. it has survived the worst soil location, where it is very hard clay that gets soggy in the winter, with occasional standing water if there is considerable rain.
Not a fabulous picture below, but it has the Coppertina to the right.

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Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

Oh my gosh Ros, I would have been screaming and sobbing "You don't understand!" I am so sorry. I hope that you end up with good out of it though. Seems like folks have some really good ideas.


Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I understand why you care about your babies getting run over!

We had a house on a corner in a quiet neighborhood, but there was a long, straight run of road coming up to that corner and, at least on weekends, I guess it was a hard-drinking town (Westport, CT).

Anyway, on Friday and Saturday nights, we would lose several mailboxes per year. I would sow grass in the ruts running through our lawn, and we would either prop the mailbox up again with rocks to support its pole, or replace pol and mailbox.

No one ever stopped or paid towards fixing the damage. Luckily, every one of them missed an old, old smallish dogwood tree.

We put up reflective arrows, and they got mowed down too.

But we got tired of it.

Finally I spent a few weeks wheelbarrowing big stones from the back yard to the border of the road and made a wall around 18" tall right on the corner. I left the reflective things up, BEHIND the stone wall.

We never lost another mailbox, but we did catch a Volkswagen once. It was hung up on the wall and the driver soon to be hung over.

SeaTac, WA(Zone 8a)

Again, thanks for all the suggestions and advice! I still have not made up my mind yet.. I like the idea of clemantis, I also like the idea of the coppertina or ninebark with the color, and viburnum has been a plant that I have always wanted (although so so many choices)!

I think my choice will depend on whether the lilac comes back or not, the leader was still sort of attached, although severely broken, so for the moment I sort of pushed it up and taped it (I know ghetto!) and I just shoved some of the branches of the yew into the ground as sort of a joke but the branches have not turned brown yet after two months? The heather that was on the ground, didn't seem to mind the car going right over it.. and it still is in bloom, I almost wonder if it became more vigorous from being driven over.. seriously looks more healthy than it ever has?

My picked out a new mailbox post ($100 post on sale for $18!!) and my neighbor cemented it in and did a custom job where he cut the top to fit the mailboxes. I then added rocks around the mail box area for the time being.

I noticed a few days ago that my sedum is sprouting!! I honestly am SHOCKED at this one because the whole plant seemed ripped from the ground with nothing in sight? Attached is a close up photo of the sedum!

I also got a few more planters and put my new arbutus unedo trees in them.

RickCorey, man and I thought I had it bad.. that must have been SO frustrating! Mailboxes are not cheap.. I am glad the city let you put up rocks around protecting them, one of my friends did something similar and the city told her she had to remove them because it blocked the right of way.. which reminds me of the 188th st. exit going south on i5, I took a photo of it from google maps. The offramp has this curve at the end of a straight, but the road you take a right onto curves, so at night it looks like you are supposed to keep going straight.. I swear every other time I use that off ramp the reflectors are run over and chunks are taken out of the grass. There is "perma removed" wheel sized chunks missing from the cement barrier from so many people driving off the road!

Anyways, I got a few coupons from the northwest flower and garden show so I am certainly going to use them for plants in my mailbox area!

Thumbnail by LakeLivingRos Thumbnail by LakeLivingRos Thumbnail by LakeLivingRos Thumbnail by LakeLivingRos
Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> that must have been SO frustrating!

It WAS frustrating and infuriating and we were always afraid that some drunk would knock our ancient (but skinny) dogwood tree flat.

But we were all smiles once we started catching low-slung cars!

>> I am glad the city let you put up rocks

I built the low "rock wall" 100% on our land, with a little gap between the road and the "wall".

It's funny, but once they had a real MOTIVATION not to plow right through our yard, even the drunks were mostly able to stop short or make the turn. We still saw deep skid marks in the sand and grass, and I sometimes had to piles the stones back up straight, but they stopped swooping right through our front yard and mailbox.

Ya just gotta know how to motivate them!

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Ros- we need an update!

Seattle, WA

Rick Corey, I like the way you think. So far we have only lost a mailbox, and there is but a mere suggestion of a white picket fence to keep cars from entering the pond below. As I see it, speed is the enemy. The City is rather unhelpful when it comes to slowing the traffic. For that reason, I always hope certain roads won't get repaired too nicely. I want so badly to find a way to "gentle" the traffic flow---having two blind hairpins hasn't done the trick. I need something that won't get me arrested or sued. The really fast drivers don't pay attention to any sort of signage, and most road hazards would just annoy my neighbors. The road is narrow and windy, so why isn't everyone going 25 or less? A couple of old beater cars sticking way out might work, but I'm not volunteering mine......

SeaTac, WA(Zone 8a)

velvet - Your street sounds like mine.. although I do not have 2 hairpin turns, just really curved road that makes it impossible to see, and since I am between the 188th and 200th street exit on i5 on military (which is less than a mile between the 2 ramps) people speed to bypass traffic or just go way over the speed limit on their commute.. so I was curious if there was a way to slow down cars..

according to the web some top ways to make drivers slow down
- fake speeding camera
- strategically park an empty crown vic
- solar power fake cop lights
- hologram children (I guess communities actually donate together to purchase these)
- put naked women at the side of the road
- add public art on the side of the road

What I was thinking ..
- children at play slow down sign (they sell the plastic kid with a flag at costco)
- a sign that says caution to a deaf child at play or deer crossing zone.

so for updates on my hit and run area.. the crazy news.. pretty much EVERY plant that was hit has come back.. EVEN the arbutus unedo that had the whole top chopped off.. about a month ago I saw a bud on the stump.. but the severe drought I think toasted the bud.. but after the heavy rain a new sprout right next to the stump is protruding from the soil!!

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Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

Well holy dooley, LLRos; that's terrific!

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

It looks so nice now-the lilac and the sedum and the pots and the gravel and the mulch and the flowers......
Totally cool about the Arbutus. I thought the sedum and lilac would likely come back from the roots, but this one surprises me. I ripped one out a few years ago that got 'Lawnmower blight" oops. Probably I should have waited to pull it out, it might have resprouted.
I m thinking hologram cop with speeding camera in a Crown Vic, with naked woman and a deer bounding across the road. And repeating loop of a child's ball rolling out into the road, which plays when a car gets near. Howabout you make friends with the local cops, and offer them free lemonade to park there and eat their lunch?
More realistically, I kind of like the deer sign idea. And fake blinking cameras affixed on a tree.

Vashon, WA(Zone 8b)

LOL about the hologram cops, deer, et cetera!! It does look really good. nobody would even know it had all been run over so shortly ago. That is about the prettiest mailbox planting I've seen.

Camano Island, WA(Zone 8a)

It looks great - really, like no catastrophe happened!

Grants Pass, OR(Zone 8a)

Nice recovery!

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