Monday, March 12, 2012

Reclamation Day 6

(or "Mulch Boy Joins the Fray")

This past Saturday was all sun and blue skies, with the temperature hovering around 50 degrees--a perfect day for Reclamation Day 6. This day was made all the better by Mulch Boy bringing his talents to the side yard, as will be shown. Mulch decided to begin his 2012 garden efforts with this:

Big dumb holly.

As the caption makes clear, this is a big dumb holly bush at the top of our driveway. It is enormous. It gets more enormous very quickly. All the sparrows in Northern Virginia like to hide in it and then fly away in a panic when you park the car. It is extremely healthy and there is no reason to cut it down.

Which is what made the decision to cut it down so hard. Yes, we wanted more space for the vegetable garden space and to reclaim the top of the driveway. But I have a hard time killing a big ol' healthy shrub just because of personal preference. So I let Mulch Boy do it.

It looks even bigger dead.

Also, it looks kind of mad.

Wow! Thank goodness we bought those new loppers this year and that pointy hand saw last year. Not only did we gain at least three feet of driveway, we now have about two extra feet for the garden plus another (rooty) two for, perhaps, raspberry or blackberry canes.

Also? This was unearthed:

The black plastic pipe to and from nowhere.

We're still trying to figure this one out. You'd think it was part of a French drain... except one end just opened in the garden.

After we tied up all those branches and took them too the street, Mulch Boy continued his work by digging an edge around the vegetable garden.

Mulch Boy, triumphant.

While Mulch had been killing the big dumb holly, I was in the front, Weedy and I beginning the weeding of The Big Bed. Which, after two years of neglect, was completely overrun by bitterweed, crab grass, false strawberry, and the biggest bully of them all, black-eyed Susans.

It's the latter that was the worst: the black-eyed Susans were an invited guest, from my Dad's yard. And like bad guests everywhere, they completely took over, brought all their relatives, and totally took advantage of my hospitality. If they could have, I'm sure they would have used all my towels and left them wet on the bathroom floor.

But they come from my dad, so as much as I curse them, I can't help but love them, too. Containment must be my strategy. It's hard work, though, and I was exhausted after only getting this far.

It doesn't look like much, but you can't see all the dug-up weeds
flung into the lawn behind me.

I decided to switch gears before carpal tunnel syndrome took hold of The Claw, and so I took up the rake to clear as many old leaves from The Big Bed as I could. I hadn't thought there was much to clean up, but I was quite wrong.

This is just a little bit of it.

I was really surprised at how much better the bed looked, just being raked. Happily, raking also revealed that the side closest to the house was not nearly the mess the street side was.

At this point, Mulch Boy and I were both exhausted, and so after raking and bagging and sweeping up, we called it a day. The evidence of three hours' work was dragged to the curb.

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