Discretion in dealing with gardener spouse

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My wife is the gardener at our place while I have the "maintenance" jobs of mowing, digging, removing brush, running the tractor etc. We live in a 25 year old house that has boxwoods, redtips, and more recently, azaleas planted next to the house. I've tried to tell my wife that it's not a good thing to plant this stuff so close to the house (less than 2 feet) but she ignores me and continues on. Her gardening style is a minimalist approach; as in, "it doesn't need trimmed/pruned/removed" even if it's sprawling across a path or covering up a window. Now we have a 12' Leyland Cypress about a 2.5' from the corner of the house. If I try and get her to move or trim things we end up in an argument and I just drop the subject altogether. Should I just leave well enough alone? We have our place treated for termites every summer, and no problems to date, although there is some seepage problems in the basement that I can't directly attribute to the plants being so close. Is discretion the better part of valor in this case, and am I making much ado about nothing?.. What is your approach!?
--Cheers! Duke
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Dukester wrote:

I discount trolls.
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Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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Sorry if the message appeared troll-like. My original subject line was: "Plants next to the house?", but changed it before posting. I guess I should have reprhrased the entire post, but the gyst of it is still whether there are guidelines about planting directly next to a house (or why not to), or whether to leave the entire thing alone.
--Cheers! Duke (wondering if posting "I discount trolls" as a reply to a message (troll or not) is acknowledging them?)
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The house will be fine. Everyone plants next to the house. If you're kvetching at your wife because you don't like her methods of gardening, & she's responding with a go-to-hell attitude, then you both need marriage counselling not garden tips. Seriously, you can get help now before it's definitely an emergency, or you can wait until the only thing remaining is to beg for that chance to pursue belated & neglected options to divorce. It'll be too late when one or the other of you are either enraged or grovelling & no longer even slightly appealing to the other. So do it now.
-paghat the ratgirl
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Ok, if everyone does it.

I'm not.
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paghat wrote:

Maybe. Maybe not.

If everybody jumped off a cliff....
If your siding is wood, anything planted too close to the house will prevent you from repainting your house. Some climbing vines will latch onto the wood, and may leave the wood too damaged to simply repaint. Some foliage and flowers may stain the paint on wood, or aluminum siding, or damage vinyl siding. Pests can use the plants to get into the siding. And that's just what can happen above the surface. Below the surface, roots can find cracks, or even cause cracks, in the foundation.
Now I wouldn't worry about putting some petunias within two feed of the house, but I would worry about "foundation" shrubs, trees, climbing vines, and flowers with pollen that stains on contact. The degree which I would be worried would also depend upon the materials used for the house, and climate conditions. The two-foot rule is a simple way to avoid most of these problems in most conditions. It can be broken often, but the effect of breaking the rule varies.
Tell your wife when it comes time to repaint the house, it'll be her responsibility to paint anyplace where plants are closer than two feet from the house, and you'll only take care of places with two or more feet of clearance.
--
Warren H.

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Thanks! Real advice from someone here! (And not a guide to marriage counseling.) We do have wood siding. What you told me confirmed things I thought I knew, but the "everyone does it" attitude seems to prevail anymore.
--Cheers! Duke
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Don't recall any climate/zone info, but in my area planting underneath the eaves is just asking for a spider mite infestation. The plants foliage stays too dry because rain can't hit them to wash away the critters.
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Toni
South Florida USA
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planting too close to the house is something a great many of us do precisely because we havent checked out what plants can do to houses, or because we are over zealous. My mother was a master gardener and our house suffered. deep rooted shrubs/trees over the septic system vines that pried the mortar between the bricks and pried clapboards loose trees with roots from hell too close to the foundation and one that we found out would explode if hit by lightning. during an ice storm big branches of this tree did fall dangerously close to the house and it had to be removed. and as you say, failure of some plants because they didnt get watered from being under the eaves. OTOH, house builders would like to see this minimum of 3 foot "zone" of crushed rock around the perimeter of the house. I think that might be too much in the other direction. I occasionally watch these "curb appeal" shows and basically they all involve whacking the bushes that are next to the house and/or hiding it. Now if the outside of the house is really ugggggly, maybe greenery helps hide it. around here is seems some people are using bushes on the outside instead of blinds on the inside. or maybe using bushes to prevent burglars from using windows to get into the house???? anyway, they seem to be hiding in their houses. OTOH, nice plantings near the house can accent it beautifully. I just know I dont have the best eye for this. Ingrid

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List at http://list.lovemyoldhome.com/puregold / WEBSITE AT: http://www.mu.edu/~buxtoni/puregold/home.html www.drsolo.com Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I receive no money, gifts, discounts or other compensation for all the damn work I do, nor for any of the recommendations I make. AND I DID NOT AUTHORIZE ADS AT THE OLD PUREGOLD SITE
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And I knew you'd be open to the worst-case scenario by a paranoid alarmist, cuz you made up your mind without need of knowledge & just wanted to hear what you "already know" rather than the facts. It remains, if you're only fishing for excuses to assault your wife for her gardening practices, marriage counselling remains your best option, & her second-best option (running off with a gardener would be her first-best).
-paggers
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"Dukester"

Ummm... let me get this straight. It is okay to go by the one extreme that "everything will be fine, just let it all go (grow)", but not the other "extreme" that roots can cause foundation problems, or shrubs, and the mulch under them up to the siding hides termite tunnels. At least the latter item I was correct about and the end result was expensive termite treatment and having to replace an entire wall of siding. When you see termites in your house, you'd be alarmed also. Hmm. On the other hand, I could just go by what you say and do nothing. Wait, except that, according to you that in wanting to maintain my house, and by seeking information to do so I must be abusing my spouse. Sounds like someone here is a paranoid alarmist alright. Hmm..Sigh. Plonk.

*T-shirts are $20, marriage advice is free*
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Looks like the first response to this wackjob was the correct one: A troll.
-paggers
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It's like you're coming here seeking justification to fight with your spouse, or perhaps beat on her, anyways, I don't like your tone. You sound like everybody's victim. Grow up.
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I have repainted a house that was surrounded by old large shrubs. Anyone can do it. You tie the shrubs in rope, you pull them forward, you paint the wall, the next day you let the shrubs pop back where they belong. For vines, you cut them down, they grow back fine.

Some climbing vines will kill your kids & the dog. It's hardly rational to therefore never plant vines. What your house is made out of will certainly help to define what sort of climbing vines are suitable. If it was inherently harmless, there wouldn't be such a driving market for vines that do so well climbing on houses. It's standard. It's traditional. All the great manner houses do it.

Humbug. And trees destroy sildewalks, therefore no city should have trees. A Japanese maple's feeder roots can travel twenty, thirty feet from the tree, so no one could plant a tree any closer than the next property over, if destroying the foundation is so likely. Even a moron could figure out how to do it right. It is paranoid worry warts with excuses like these who pave over their entire property & paint the concrete green. If you planted a honey locust one foot from the house, or thirty feet away from the house, its roots would in either case find the basement, provided the foundation is already shot to hell. And if live in a butt-ugly aluminum house, a little pollen isn't going to make it worse.
Your worries are nonsensical if they become excuses not to plant around a house. If are only sensible if you take such possibilities into consideration & plant sensibly.

Or just tell your wife "Fuck off & die, & your little garden too," it amounts to the same thing. Though that WOULD fit the tone of the original complaint, to take the approach of making a non-problem into a sound reason to find a nicer sweety to share one's life with. When a garden becomes a point of contention with one's spouse, it's a clue the spouse is a butthead, not that some roots are going to tip the house over.
-paghat the ratgirl
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paghat wrote:

Just as lung cancer is an excuse not to smoke, and not wanting to drive off the cliff is an excuse for slowing down when driving around a curve.
--
Warren H.

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More like not wanting to drive anywhere ever, at any time, for any reason, because some paranoid loon decided the plants were going to eat his house.
Or like never eating food, ever, under any circumstance, because a lot of what you eat could cause cancer. Or never drinking water because you could drown even in a teaspoon of the stuff, & it is often contaminated besides.
Or living in an aluminum "house" with no plants anywhere near it because that's ever so much nicer than an old English mannerhouse covered top to bottom in vines. And living in it all alone after the wife moves to the mannerhouse & files for divorce.
People do find their own water level after all.
-paggers
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paghat wrote:

Some people think aluminum causes Alzheimers.
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Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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OTOH if you ate a wooden house you'd get splinters in your arse, which would drive you crazy anyway. The best thing is not to eat your house at all. Incidentally, NEVER put the household dust on a little mirror in a line and sniff it up your nostril. You'll never be able to keep the place clean that way.
Janet.
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wrote:

Uh, isn't that what I was seeking advice about, "planting sensibly"?

I think that was in your min

Right. I didn't say the garden was a point of contention, (I asked how close, and what is ok or not ok to plant, or even *horrors* maybe I should not be worried about it at all! How convenient you leave out that last part!
Anyone this eager to berate someone based on 1 usenet posting must have a great time in the garden!

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Dukester wrote:

Yes it would.
I don't know why anyone would plant a Leyland cypress 2.5 feet from a house given they grow fast and huge. How can you maintain the exterior of your house if shrubs and such are right up to it? If you are watering the foundation plants that may very well contribute to your basement seepage. Does the ground slope away from the house? I am not a marriage/couples counselor.
--

Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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