Or – as we all find and fall for new things – at the very least do some research first. On my walks, I often pass by this new planting, just down the street from us. The other day, the hired installer was there, so – with some hopefully not too obvious disbelief – I asked him if that plant really was what I thought it was – Senecio (or Brachyglottis) greyi. He confirmed, so I gently asked him if he knew they easily get 5′ wide – meaning it would soon gobble up the little Hellebores planted around them. He said he did, which made me think that maybe this might just be a case of stubborn client ignorance and insistence.
To add insult to injury, facing east and north, the light aspect of this particular planting is far more to the liking of Hellebores than it is to anything Brachyglottis. Maybe they are banking on that to stump its growth? Since I possess intimate, empirical experience in this matter, I could have told him that if it doesn’t get enough sun, it will get rather leggy, and lean toward whatever light it gets. I planted one in one of my sunniest spots, but it still wasn’t enough. As as saving grace to its deprived condition, last year my neighbors removed an old Cypress, which had an instant brightening effect on that entire bed – including the Senecio. But, since I figured I had probably annoyed the poor landscaper enough, I didn’t offer up this additional bit of unsolicited advice, and instead moved on. Maybe he really was doing exactly what he was told to do, against better odds. If so, I feel for him – it’s never fun to have to do things you know will soon be doomed.