I had a free weekend all to myself this week and really nice weather, so I decided to work on the yard. My decision on what to do was primarily driven by looking at the calendar and noting that next weekend is the bi-annual city yard waste pickup, so I figured I may as well make the most use of that as possible (given how near-useless it is already).
blurry house pic
So on Saturday morning, I picked one of my dead bushes to cut down and dig up. This one was a decent effort, given that it was only about 95% dead, and so the roots were still pretty firmly in place. After I got it up, I went ahead and cleared out the space where it was, spread down mulch, re-planted a few bulbs that I had put aside while massacring that section, added a few more, and now it looks a lot nicer. Then I had to bag everything up, which was nearly as much work.
After that I decided it would be a great time to muck out the compost pile and pull a bunch of compost for the garden. This was super annoyingly difficult as a) it had been overful since last summer and overdue for this, b) thanks to spring thaw and a lot of rain it was all pretty soaked and mucky, and c) there's a pretty good system of roots that have grown through the bottom of the pile, which makes it a challenge to dig out the good stuff. I'm also a little worried parts of the bin are going to collapse soon, being made of half-rotted wood that has taken a bit of a beating. I really don't want to deal with replacing it, but that might be on the list for eventually. It was a pretty filthy job, although fortunately (since it's a healthy compost pile) not a terribly smelly one, as far as dealing with decomposing things goes (I only fell into it once). The garden got a nice layer of muck, and the rest of it fit back in the bin much better.
After THAT I showered and changed, had a nice lunch at Pittonkatonk
, rode into Squill and got myself a well-earned massage, then went late to the seedling swap party and got plants for my garden. I slept extremely well.
Sunday I planted all the seedlings I got. Main garden has tomatoes (four different kinds), jalopenos, brussels sprouts, as well as the existing potatoes, peas, bolting brussels sprout, and a squash that was really eager to get started. Herb has huge swaths of cilantro which is looking lovely, several basillings which I hope to not kill, a small rosemary which hasn't done much yet, and oregano, chives, and parsley from last year.
After that, I figured I had hedges to trim, but as I was getting out the trimmers I noted that another of the dead bushes in the backyard was actually 100% dead (being held together by vines and weeds), and would be super easy to pull up (and it was). And once I had the loppers out, I could just go ahead and trim all the deadwood off a couple other bushes out there, and THEN get the electric trimmers and trim the living stuff. Bagging up all of THAT ran me out of yard waste bags, so I declared myself DONE with that crap and mowed the lawn to finish (because grass). I now have 9 yard waste bags ready for pickup next Saturday, and some nice empty space where dead bushes used to be. And hopefully I will sleep very well tonight as well, as I tried and failed to nap today.
Current flowering: the first iris bloomed today! Chives are poofy, columbine is fully open, phlox is still hanging on. Pink azaleas are finishing up, red is still going, white is just starting in earnest. In the blurry house pic above, you can kinda sorta see all of the above except for the chives (although the phlox is pretty hidden). In the side yard, the peonies have a ton of buds out. Those should be nice, soon.
Things I have done:
- Took down 2/3 dead bushes. Feeling particularly accomplished about this one. The last one is only about 85% dead, and tiny, so I may let it go for a while more.
- Tossed and spread compost. That was awful but I'm glad it's done. Should probably happen again in late summer so I don't overflow the heap again. Note to self: don't do it right after a lot of rain. I pulled out several chunks of squashlings; gave some away and planted some in various places. We'll see if any of it survives.
- Trimmed hedges. That should last another couple months.
- Mowed. Yawn. This was at least the easiest part this week, after the rest of it.
- Planted things! Now I need to remember to not kill them.
Things to do:
- Watch out for volunteers, now that the compost is turned and spread. Figure out which ones I want to keep and which to kill.
- Figure out what my living shrubs are and how I'm actually supposed to maintain them, since doing nothing is probably not actually very good for them, but basic maintenance is probably less work than ripping out dead stuff.
- Plant grass? Am I going to try this yet again? Maybe.