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Much accomplished

July 23rd, 2012 at 08:54 am

I certainly got a lot accomplished yesterday, yardwork-wise. I'm by no means done, in fact, I'm never "done" with yardwork.

What possessed me to start an entirely new project that will mean even more work? Not sure, but I had a moment of inspiration mixed with bravado after drinking a bottle of Otter Creek ale on the front stoop. That COULD have something to do with it!

I was sitting out there, looking around and thinking that overall, despite several consecutive years of winter pruning of my mountain laurel foundation plants, that passers by would probably still be inclined to say many of the shrubs around the house are overgrown.

Well, that's true, The foundation plants are mostly mountain laurel and rhododendron; both are 2 stories high and got to be that way partly becus deer will browse them.

In the front, they are not 2 stories, but still high enough to partially obscure the 2 front first floor windows.

Also, I've been thinking about selling the place in a few years and I know i've had a longstanding problem with a high water table. The basement never gets wet per se, but the concrete floor does get damp spots. I've noticed in the past week or so that, despite no rain, the entire front part of the floor extending in from the front wall is damp, about 3 feet inward.

On the other side of that wall, outside, is a thick bed of pachysandra and the aforementioned mountain laurel. It would be my hope that by cutting the shrubs WAY back and removing the pachysandra, that area could possibly dry out enough that the dampness doesn't creep in along the basement floor.

This is an issue. I think that regrading would help on the east, north and west sides, however, that would be a major expense and major damage to existing shrubbery. It also wouldn't be possible on at least the left half of the front of house since this is where I have a stone staircase and retaining wall, where these plants are.

I have pulled out the pachysandra on the north and west sides, and along the driveway becus in tick country, they say it holds in the moisture and makes for prime tick habitat.

So....I got my handsaw and cut down to just a few inches above ground, 3 mountain laurel shrubs on the left side of house front. This was hard to do. It's a gorgeous plant when in bloom, and the state plant of Connecticut, no less! But they were overgrown, and while I cut them down somewhat last winter, they grow back very slowly and honestly look very ungainly after a pruning.

There is also one more giant shrub to their left, forget what it is, but it takes a hard pruning well. However, it's so big, and since this little plot is where my stone stairs are, i have to prune it from a step ladder in the driveway and i can never get the very top of it.

So I want to really prune that down to TINY as well, If it dies, I won't be heartbroken, but I think it's very hardy.

Here you can see the stumps of 3 mountain laurel I cut; they were the same height as the large shrub in the background, which will also come out or be pruned way down. You can see how you enter my front door by walking from the driveway up the stone stairs. The picture was taken from my front door.

After cutting down the 3 mountain laurel (don't know if they will live or die at this point), I started pulling out very crowded pachysandra. The roots are all over the place, very thickly matted.

Here's a large pile of pulled pachysandra from just this small area!

Here are the mountain laurels I cut down. Notice the size.

What I envision here in their place are at least 2 autumn joy sedums, which grow in a nice round cluster and don't generally try to take over the place. It gets morning sun...wondering if that's enough.

I have other autumn joy sedum very nearby, but they are a bit further from the house and so remain in sun longer, before the house shades them in the afternoon.

I'm going for neat and tidy here. I don't want huge and towering, which is the feeling you get currently as you climb the stairs to the front door.

It will take a while before I'm able to plant anything, cus i want to make sure I get all visible pachy roots, or it will regrow. Which it has done in other places, but I can easily spot the little rebels and will often pull or dig them out with a hand trowel.

This morning was my first day of driving the guy who lost his driver's license. We dropped off his kids too. He showed me a back way to go to the school, and get to his apt., that avoided a very busy intersection literally at his front door.

3 Responses to “Much accomplished”

  1. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Every photo you've posted shows me how beautiful your garden is! Your shrubs are beautiful, but I can understand not wanting that towering effect on the walk to the front door. I think too many people (passers-by) nowadays are influenced by office park and parking lot landscaping which is, for security reasons, kept tight and tiny, even shrubs whose nature is to be twelve feet tall and wide. So if they think your shrubs are overgrown, well, I think they are likely just blatantly wrong.

    I love your graceful, old shrubs that witness to the value of age, calm persistence, constancy, and the wisdom of nature doing what it will.

    Hope your dampness problem clears. The shrubs and pachysandra could have been transpiring more moisture out of the soil than they were shade-mulching to remain in the soil. Hope not.

  2. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    You sure did get a lot accomplished today!

  3. rob62521 Says:

    You are certainly making a huge amount of progress!

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