The yard and why I hate the old lady that lived here first.

So I knew that I needed to get this done asap. The lumber for my raised veggie beds will be here Monday, I have to get it stained, cut, drilled, and ready to be assembled by next weekend (plus grade the area, as that part of the yard is nowhere near level). I have to assemble the beds in a week, so that by next weekend, I can have soil delivered to fill the beds and fill in the hole where the vinca used to reside. So you see, it’s all connected. Plus I need to start hording newspapers from work. I’m laying down a layer of them before I put the topsoil down to dissuade the remaining vinca roots from returning from the dead.

I’ve been avoiding spending extended periods of time outside doing this because the longer I do it, the less it feels like I’m getting done. So in a valiant effort to procrastinate, aided by Craig’s concern that I can’t hear bad guys sneaking up on me, or the dog escaping if I have headphones in my ears, I headed to Wal*Mart. I got a little boom box, a candy thermometer (I’m making tortilla soup soon and need to fry tortilla strips), batteries for the boom box, (for the off chance that I lose power and ABSOLUTELY need to listen to music, and my computer battery’s dead) and some killer compound loppers. You’ll understand my need for them later.

After spending a great many hours avoiding doing the yard work, I started burning a CD (I bought the boom box after all!), and got to it. I’ve found that alternating what I’m doing may make it take a little longer, but it’s bearable, which is the most important thing. I dug out some vinca, then pruned out parts of the diseased rhododendron in the northeast corner of the yard. It has black mildew. I treated it with the sprayer once, but it doesn’t look much better yet. I figured it probably needs some air circulation, and having leaves hanging all the way to the ground won’t help. Plus it has awesome bark for a rhododendron, it looks like madrona bark, all coppery and peely with creamy greenish yellow underneath.
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Then I went back to digging for a while. Here’s my wreckage.
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Then I sprayed the loppers with starsan to kill whatever diseases they might have picked up on the other rhody, and trimmed back the bottom branches of the smallest one in the yard that’s being viciously attacked by vinca, so I could get in there and figure out how to remove it.
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And LUCKY ME! I found another stump.
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I also determined that I didn’t want to damage the rhody’s root system, so I pulled all the vinca that would come out easily, and cut the green parts off of the rest.
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Which was way more satisfying than digging it for some reason
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And I cut back the bottom branches and a great deal of dead wood from the inside of this stand/wall of 3 rhododendrons to mix things up
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Then I took a photo of Boris. He’s still tired today from running around outside trying to figure out a way out of the fence
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Here’s the little bit that I still haven’t removed. It was running late, and I still needed to shower and clean up the house before my dad and Kim got here for dinner.
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So I snapped a few pictures of my wreckage and headed in.
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While I was out working in the yard, the next door neighbor, who has like 4 lawnmowers and a few sets of tires hanging out in his back yard, but is VERY nice, and we get along well together, came out. Boris was barking at him (protecting me ๐Ÿ™‚ ) so I introduced them and we discussed the state of the yard. I ranted about the vine a little and he said “The old lady said she wanted a ground cover that she didn’t need to mess with.” Good for her, she picked the most invasive vine in existence! “And she made me cut back the bottom branches of my tree so her rhododendrons would have more room. She LOVED her rhododendrons.”

Which brings me to the reasons that I kind of hate her (even though she’s dead… I’m probably going to hell). She planted vines on Washington’s invasive species list. They’ll certainly come back, all because she was lazy. She could have just hired a crew of mexicans to come through twice a year and clean up the yard. Grrrr. Oh well. She loved her rhododendrons. Which is the reason that every time I look out my front window, I see this:

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Which is the real reason I bought the loppers. ๐Ÿ™‚

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