30,000-39,999 SparkPoints 35,506


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Well. It looks as though last year's experiment - let the back yard go totally wild, and have a lovely meadow full of flowers - was a Complete Fail. Rather than a meadow, I got a scrubby patch full of burdock and brambles, studded here and there with hidden piles of dog...leavings. The point of the trial - aside from sheer laziness - was that a friend had reported great success with this, and that the yard is extremely uneven, everything from trees coming out (or going in) to a sinking leach field to Lord alone knows what other reasons.

I thought I'd spend today out there hauling out a large hunk of a cherry tree, an apple tree that died but resprouted from the root stock (which never works, incidentally - they graft the good apple tree onto different root stock and you rarely get anything usable from the regrowth), digging out the burdock and the brambles, raking everything out and generally getting ready for this summer, in which I'll do everything differently. emoticon

About an hour into this, emoticon I realized that the only progress Lucy the Dog and I had made was that we were both covered with burdock pricklies. We also discovered that the wire fence (that covers and is taller than the post fence to which it is attached) has come down in several places. If it were a house, we would say, "This is no longer a fix-up. This is a teardown." emoticon

So I went inside to consider and retrench. New plan: on Monday I'm going to retrieve my tractor from my neighbor. After he starts my chainsaw for me ( emoticon ) I'm going to cut down the apple tree that is regrowing, the 1/3 of the cherry tree that blew down in a winter storm (we'll see if it lives - I hope so), and then hook the rake onto the tractor and rake it that way. I'll need to go back and dig out the brambles, but all the dead grass will be done with. Then, I think, I'm going to try smoothing out the lumps with the back blade. If that doesn't work, I'll borrow the backhoe. Have to be careful of weight, though, because of the Stupid Leach Field. Once it's leveled, the grass should come back easily and I can proceed with Normal Yard. Need a new grade door out there too (that's that slanted door that covers the steps to a cellar) - mine apparently gave up under the snow load.

Not sure yet how to handle the fence. I really ought to unfasten all the wire, lay stone, then put the fence up again so the grass won't grow and the base (and thus no whacking) but I doubt I'll do that properly. I'll probably whack it once, then lay newspaper over it, then mulch and hope for the best. emoticon

The front gardens are still waiting for their fall clean-up, so I need to get busy on that right away. Part of the stone wall fell out - again - so I may pull that all down and relay it, but I seriously doubt it. Likely I'll just put the stones in a neat pile and hope for the best (you'll note I do a lot of that.)

Have to chop out half the rugosa, which is now roughly the size of a small SUV, and chop down the Japanese honeysuckle (again.) Maybe I'll chain it to the tractor and just rip it out. Messy but quick.

Then the raised beds have to be cleaned up and the paths around then cleared and re-papered and mulched.

And that's all before any planting can happen. Luckily there are some bulbs blooming here and there to encourage me. emoticon

But luckily (I suppose...) I have about another month before I can really plant anything, because of our absurdly late frost date - and I hate ditzing with plants, dashing out to cover them if they are in danger. I plant them once and wish them well. Sure, I do all the maintenance type stuff, but that's later, and it's fun, I think.

The "Life" part comes in when you realize that this would have been much simpler if I'd attended to it properly last fall. Like so many Life Issues, the old Stitch In Time thing pertains. Also, that things happen when you're not looking - the wall falls down, the tree splits, the grade door caves in, there's a giant ant nest in the fire circle - and they are, in all probability, not going to be discoveries that will be good news emoticon I'm sure there's some lesson here that I ought to learn, but probably won't.

Here's what it looked like last year:

And I'm not just an enthusiast - I'm a NY certified landscaper, arborist and master gardener, so if anyone has a problem (anything, if you're in the northeast, only very general stuff if you're in, say, Texas), describe it to me and I'll try to have an answer for you, or at least tell you whom to ask.

Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm exhausted after reading your blog. Makes me thankful that I have no yard issues beyond keeping the bears out of the bird feeders. Anything I plant outside is immediately consumed by deer or violently uprooted by squirrels and raccoon. I'd love to have flowers!
    1780 days ago
    You are a miracle worker. Welcome to M&M.
    1782 days ago
    What a beautiful garden.

    When the time is right you will be able to juice. Don't stress over it.

    1783 days ago
    Beautiful yard and stone wall - and what a lot to do! I love to garden but am happy to have a postage stamp yard after spending years with a pretty big one (although nowhere near as big as yours!). Good luck with all of that - and I wish I had your skills and talents!
    1787 days ago
    Holy tomatoe...and wowsa~ too!

    I was in blog reading planting bliss over one of my friends gardens and the steps she is going through to get it ready...she posts tons of pictures so it's perfect for visual me! friend...your little saga adds a WHOLE new universe of green thumb bliss to my world!

    Talk about deferred maintenance... we aren't doing a blasted THING around this house until we know if the creepster bankers are going to succeed in stealing it from us. I've blogged long and exhaustively about the whole sorry mess. emoticon

    Well we did have to break down and replace our a/c compressor to the tune of over $ choice there...we live in friggin' 100 degree weather with 100% humidity at 6 a.m!

    BUT if I could have put that nasty little maintenance item off too.. I would have. Why spend our hard earned $$$ for some creepster that is going to scoop in and steal this place for pennies on the dollar.

    WHICH of course brings me to a WHOLE nut'her rant...why do the banks steal these homes from hard working earnest homeowners that have paid the price to get these so called modification payments with everything but their blood the house away and then go right out and sell it to someone off the street (or more likely their brother if it's a great house like ours) for pennies on the dollar???

    Of course they move it off their books and probably get a bail out from the good ole' government...but really if they are going to take a loss..why not work with the homeowner and give them the same sweet deal they are getting?

    Makes no sense to me..and I'm a pretty common sense gal from Iowa.

    Can't wait to see all your sounds like you will be burning that calorie meter BIG time! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1788 days ago
    We knew a guy my hubby used to work with who lived at a lake near here who tried the wild yard experiment too. It looked like some place in the Amazon. People had trouble finding his front door. I think he did too. Apparently some clever teens took advantage of the overgrown mess and planted a pot plant which grew to amazing heights until the cops noted it and showed up on his doorstep. They have dogs that are smarter than people and can find front doors. I guess he had seen the plant but both he and his wife thought it was pretty and that the other one had planted it. The cops were not as thrilled with it. LOL.
    1788 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/29/2013 10:12:13 PM
    You know that is just about what happens to me. I always did great work for my clients but many of my clothes waited till I was desperate for them or I outgrew them during the time lapse.

    I have finished my fence and DH was impressed.
    If I had taken the fence out (NO WAY) I could have done the trench in hours but no way put the fence back. we live on BLUE clay .
    I love listening to yout life.

    HUGS Pat in Maine. emoticon so much emoticon
    1789 days ago
    OK! I'm exhausted just reading this blog! Tractor? Chainsaw? Backhoe? Really??? I used to plant and weed, etc. but not much anymore. I do not have much of a green thumb so my husband by default started planting, weeding. His thumb is much greener than mine. However, now my husband's interest has waned and our yard has suffered. I can't get organized inside let alone add outside chores!!!
    1790 days ago
    Well, it all looked delightful last year. So northeast that it makes me pine a little bit. I'd ask you for advice about staghorn ferns, ti plant, orchids, and sea hibiscus, but I suspect your specialty is hosta and columbine!
    1790 days ago
  • _UMAMI_
    Whew! Our yard is a mess, and I'm actually making an effort this year, after two years of letting it go. We have a tree falling, slow as a glacier, across our front yard, that we should take down, but no $$$ or chainsaw to do so. I just loaded up on zinnias, pentas and lantana, 'cos I love watching butterflies and hummingbirds in our yard.

    I love your stone wall! I might even attempt something like that in our yard. One of these days.

    I don't have a green thumb, but I have moon in Taurus, so maybe there is hope for me.

    I'll certainly be taking up your offer of "general" advice. Wish I lived further north, because I would LOVE some peonies or ranunculas. Or even Dahlias, which are native to Mexico, but our nights are too warm here.
    1790 days ago
    So much to do and so little day light in which to do it! All the best of luck with the outdoor "reno's."
    1790 days ago
    I love you dearly, you know I do, but everything you've just described is exactly why my dream is to be a tenant of a well-kept property, lol... "Blackthumb" be my middle name.
    1790 days ago
    I got a great work out just reading your blog emoticon I love reading about people fixing things up,"Under the Tuscan Sun" was a delight for this very reason.Your old house is great,and the stonework brings back memories of living in New Hampshire as a teen.Enjoy your beautiful gardens!
    1790 days ago
    Happy gardening!
    1791 days ago
  • CDCSMITH2013
    I wish I could teleport you here for a general opinion of the yard. What should be kept, what should be trimmed back. A good portion of the yard/property is left in its natural state (a river runs through the property). We have deer that come in, nesting swans, all sorts of very cool things meander in. I don't want that to change, but I'd like to strike a balance.

    1791 days ago
    LOL..."I'm sure there's some lesson here...."
    1791 days ago
    Sounds like you have great plans for your yard!
    I wish you luck!
    1791 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.