Thursday, April 2, 2015

It's Hard to Know Where to Start

I mean that in all ways possible: this post, the yard....

To recap, last Fall I got started on the disaster that is my backyard. See posts here and here. I later planted the following:
  • Natchez Crepe Myrtle tree
  • Chocolate Mimosa tree
  • Rootbeer plant (aka Hoja Santa, aka Mexican Pepperleaf, aka Piper auritum)
  • Sweet Almond Verbena (aka Aloysia Virgata)
  • 'Prince' Pennisetum purpureum
  • Another Pennisetum (maybe Vertigo?)
  • Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' in tree form
AND I laid brick edging on the left side of the backyard. Then it got cold-ish, so I painted my kitchen cabinets.

Over the last three weeks I've overhauled the garden bed against the back of the house:
  • Ripped out what remained of the #*@!& holly bushes
  • Dug out another bed of rocks the former owners used as either mulch or decoration
  • Cut down the sad and spindly crepe myrtles that never got sun due to the giant oak
  • Ordered 2 cubic yards of soil, shoveled it into a wheelbarrow 1013 times, and dumped it in the bed formerly occupied by the #*@!& holly bushes
I've also learned a very important lesson about the difference between this yard and my old yard in Crestview. In my old yard, I was constantly digging up random stuff: broken electrical cords, socks, tin cans, bricks and cement clumps. I never found any skeletal remains but it wouldn't have surprised me in the least.

In this yard, things are buried that matter. Say, for example, your sprinkler system:

I bought a fabulous yucca, dug a giant hole, and busted a sprinkler pipe with my shovel. I thought it was a big stupid root from yet another poorly-sited crepe myrtle.

The following weekend I bought an amazing Loquat tree, and dug another big hole in the far back corner. Before I even started digging I noticed a cable sticking out of the ground by the fence, the end frayed and weathered. I didn't think anything of it, because of my experience at my old house. I started digging and came across a skinny dark root, so I hacked at it with my shovel. Turns out it wasn't a root,  it was another cable. I figured maybe it was the other end of the one sticking out, so I kept digging. I came across another skinny dark root, and chopped it in half too.

You know where this is going.

Turns out that in this neighborhood they bury the cables underground, instead of running them overhead like at my old house. Those "roots" were our cable and our internet. Did I mention Ryan works from home? Good times.

Two weekends ago I finally cleared everything out of what I affectionately refer to as the armpit of the backyard:

Everything went: the Hibiscus, the crepe myrtle, the rose (Belinda, I think?). It wasn't that any of it was inherently bad, but:
  • That corner spot only gets filtered sun, so it was all pathetic looking
  • It was all planted way too close to the (sagging) fence
  • It had been pruned by the criminally insane and was unattractive
I borrowed the neighbor's pitchfork so I could till compost and garden soil into the bed, and now I wonder how I gardened without one for so long! I'd have broken my spleen trying to do that with a shovel: it was mud and clay, and made loud sucking noises whenever I pried a chunk up. I'm not 100% confident that anything I plant there this year will survive, but it's a start.

My next post will detail all the things I've planted, with bad pictures from my iPhone! Good thing you aren't paying money to read this, huh?

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