Sunday, April 18, 2010

Springtime! (or, oooh, look - yard pictures)

First, let it be known to all and sundry that I am *not* one of those people who is filled with bustle and energy come spring. I hear tales of people who fling open their windows and clean their home from top to bottom and I cringe. Spring saps my energy - all I want to do is curl up in a little ball and doze.

But the yard doesn't care that I have no energy. Still, it really is tremendously satisfying to get stuff done. It's even more satisfying to watch the bulbs and perennials grow and bloom. ;)

I really ought to know what the yellow-blooming plant is, but can never remember. We got it as a freebie when we bought something else. What a delightful plant! It takes no effort save cutting it back after it dies off for the winter, and it looks incredible year after year. On the left of it is a burning bush we just transplanted from the back fence, and on the right you can see the nandina that's rather the worse for wear after all the snow this winter (but the leaves are healthy so I staked and tied it, and am keeping my fingers crossed).

Hosta and a handful of lily of the valley. Gotta love the hosta - you can almost see it grow when the leaves come up in the spring.

A whole raft of lily of the valley (can you tell I love these?), about ten feet to the right of that hosta.

Trying again to grow grass beside our dogwood. I'm about ready to let the pachysandra take over (and yes, there's a lot of straw, but around here spring often lasts about four days before we have summer heat and I want to make sure it's protected).

How 'bout a man-battles-nature story? Four or five years ago we made an island bed in the back yard with a zebra grass at one end. The zebra grass is incredible - it's gorgeous in the summer and fall, and beautiful in winter as well. It's also big and very, very determined. After being hammered by 22 inches of snow this past winter, it lifted back up when the snow melted! But it was too close to the snowbell tree (translation: we had no clue the grass would become so huge!), so we knew it had to be moved. And since we were going to dig it up and move it, we decided to take a chunk of it to Erie so we can enjoy it there after we move.

Husband dug around the grass and tried to … erm, pry it out with the shovel. Grass said no (husband bought a new shovel on Friday). Prybar (this is a five foot long, one inch diameter piece of iron? steel? anyway it's *heavy*), mattock, pick, axe, chainsaw. Grass said no. Husband is stubborn and the grass finally began to yield to very concerted use of axe and mattock - we got not quite a quarter of it out, in two pieces which I quickly potted. (the two on the left are Karl Forster grass which will be transplanted to Erie in a few weeks)

Then we got another quarter out and quick-like-bunnies replanted it far enough away from the tree that had been crowded. Running out of light, we gave up for the night.

The next day, husband got the remaining half dug up, cut in two with the chainsaw, and replanted along the back fence.

For comparison (and to understand why my feeling is pretty much ohmigod, we've *killed* it), here's what the zebra grass looked like last summer.

And then there's the front yard. I will never forgive the previous owner of the house for planting vinca behind the shrubs. You can't really get rid of vinca. I truly believe agent orange couldn't kill it. Spent two weeks pulling garbage can loads of it out of the big front garden several years ago and now I merely have to rip out every leaf that shows its shiny face (constant battle). This year I'm determined to beat it back on the other side of the front door. Here's what I'm fighting.

The tall growth in back and on the left is the foliage from my fall crocus, descended from bulbs my grandfather gave my mom. Big strong leaves in spring, delicate flowers are the first indicator of fall.

Have gotten the %#$@?& vinca out of about half that garden at this point. And look! My cups and saucers survived - wheeeee!! *dances tired happydance* These are divisions from plants that were in my back yard when I was a kid. Old fashioned primrose (uh ... aren't they?) - they're cups'n'saucers because each bloom is double.


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