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Wrestling with my yard

April 29th, 2013 at 05:25 am

Yesterday I made good progress wrestling small portions of my yard back from Mother Nature who, if she had her way, would entangle the entire 1.5 acres in a thicket of impenetrable greenery.

The birds would love it; I don't.

I have an elongated island in my front yard that contains exactly this: 5 peonies, 1 birch tree, 1 wiegela, 1 butterfly bush, 1 beauty berry and an assortment of smaller perennials including sedums, blue milkweed, lamb's ears and clematis. Right behind the island I planted some gray (silky) dogwood and a nannyberry.

All great plants if you want either color or berries (for the birds). However, the gray dogwood was a poor choice for a suburban yard. Once it's settled in, it happily spreads by underground roots. And so it began doing its thing. Long, thin sprouts began popping up all over the island bed. It's attempting to colonize the whole island. So I had to make a hard choice...I sawed down the tree and pulled up a bunch of those seedlings. Those seedlings are all attached to long underground roots, so I'm sure I haven't gotten them all and they will return, but I had to make a decision about the source of my problem: the mother plant.

It's all about trying to turn a high-maintenance yard into a low-maintenance yard. I brought this on myself.

I also hacked away at a large burning bush I hadn't had time to cut back last fall. Everything was getting so bushy and overgrown in this island bed and I need to be able to mow around it. I also pulled out a large bittersweet (invasive) vine that had ensconced itself in the wiegela, and I also see a large bramble shoot in there that I somehow need to get to without hacking away at the wiegela.


These docile-looking tulips often distract me from the more menacing plants that call this place home.



If ticks didn't exist, I'd just lean in there and let my head and body be brushed by assorted branches as I pulled the thing out, but having had Lyme disease 3x now, I am extremely careful about doing that sort of thing. There is deer poop all over my yard, and deer (as well as mice) are primary carriers of deer ticks that carry Lyme disease.

Yesterday I also saw a woodchuck dive into a burrow close to the house. I have to dump cat litter in there again. I haven't been able to properly bury that burrow because of its location at the corner of my rectangular picket fence, where all the gooseberry with thorns grow. Sigh.

The clock is ticking. Every day, plants in my yard grow another 12 inches. There is no such thing as leisurely, civilized gardening around here. It's a war I'll lose if I miss a single day's opportunity to weed, hack down and mulch heavily. AT least that's how it feels...and it's only April!

Now is the very best time to get a handle on some of this stuff because it's not brutally hot, insects are not a problem and you can better see what your situation is when not everything is leafed out yet.

I have a relatively open schedule today. I want to get a haircut with a $6 coup at Great Clips, but after that, I'm free. I will walk out there and Do Something. I have only to look around and dozens of jobs present themselves to me.

At least yesterday I got the rest of my lettuce and peas planted, as well as some basil.

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