It was with great anticipation that I looked forward to the monthly meeting of the B’z. It was my turn to benefit from the group effort and boy did I need it! I have a 3/4 acre lot, which didn’t sound like much when I moved here from my 2.25 acre lot, but is a lot to take care of alone all the same. My brush pile is at the far back right hand corner of the lot, and the front of my little plot of ground slopes up from the street quite a bit. So it’s a hike from the street to the brush pile, and I soon get worn out from the trips.
Also, I prefer working in the back of the house where I am out of sight and not under scrutiny by the constant parade of cars and neighbors. So needless to say the whole front area has been sadly neglected since my one big effort in spring when I discovered that my neighbors had been allowing their dogs to use my juniper bank as a restroom all winter. After collecting a good sized grocery bag of dog poo on just the left size, I walked away in disgust and abandoned all effort.
My trees belch sticks and branches every time a puff of wind stirs, and the ivy on either side was conspiring to cross over, join hands and eliminate the driveway altogether. The juniper was advancing over the orderly row of stones toward the street, and everything had generally run riot and misbehaved. It was, in a word, a mess.
Street view. Depressing!
As I got ready for the day, Stealth Cat (Stealthius incognicatus) watched me with a jaundiced eye. When I took his picture he accused me of trying to steal his soul and stalked off indignantly.
Whose idea was it to plant ivy? I can’t believe they still sell this stuff in garden centers and people continue to fall for it under the mistaken idea that they can control it. Ha!
The ivy plague advances.
I’m a person who likes things neat and tidy, I love a clean edge. But you sure wouldn’t be able to tell from my front yard. My neighbors have no idea that the back yard is a paradise. All they see is this weed pile disguised as a mailbox bed. I’m so sorry!
My untidy mailbox bed. Oh my.
So these were the challenges that stood before us. We gathered at around 10-ish in the morning to enjoy some coffee and freshly baked blueberry scones on the screened porch, then hitched up our sox and went to work. Jane loves to cut down trees, so I asked her to take out any of the small trees in the front that she thought she could handle. I have too many trees as it is, and don’t want to encourage anymore oaks or tulip poplars. The dogwoods and Japanese maples can stay because they grow slowly and stay small. I also had an abundance of drooping and dead branches hanging around. We dubbed her “Lumber Jane” as she labored all day to clear the view and turn my front into a deer park.
Suzi, Sharon and I spread out to attack the edges and clear all the fallen branches and sticks. We must have hauled six tarps or more of debris to the back! Suzi observed that even if you don’t have time to weed a whole bed, if you get the big obvious weeds and the edges done, it improves things by 100%. Very true. Sometimes we get overwhelmed by the big picture and give up before we start, but even a little effort can be rewarding.
But believe me, this was no small effort! We reclaimed the edges of the driveway, the edges of the mailbox bed and the edges of the juniper bed.
Wow! What an amazing difference! Just look at those edges!
Now my house doesn’t look like a neglected mess from the street. Hm, someone might actually believe a gardener lives here. Curb appeal plus! I’m shocked at how bad I had allowed it to get. It slowly spun out of control, but with the help of my wonderful comrades-in-arms it’s restored to its former glory, and even better than before. Now if I could only get the trees to drop their sticks into a bag I’d be all set. Soon the leaves will start falling again, and I’ll be mulching night and day to try to keep up. That’s why I love my Worx leaf mulcher! It spins leaves into garden gold! Finally I can use them for something instead of just creating a mountain in my back yard.
Oh look! There IS a mailbox there and not just a weed pile!
I’ll use those leaf shreds to mulch this mailbox bed, and all the other beds, for the winter. The leaves will break down and enrich the soil, then I’ll cover them with pine bark mulch or mulch from my mulch mountain donated by a local tree service.
I still don’t like working in my front yard, but maybe now I’ll be able to at least keep up with tending the edges and pulling the big weeds that stick up. If not, there’s always my next turn with the Backyard B’z!!!