The grass has spread under the rhododendrons and has sprawled well past its edges on the sidewalk and driveway. Greg was away on a crazy business trip all last week, jet-setting to amazingly humid locales like Atlanta. He came home and I was like, "I missed you so much! Let's spend some quality time weeding!"
I am the worst girlfriend.
We got the area under the rhodies cleared and discovered there are bricks outlining that area! I wanted to mulch the area under the rhodies but was worried about using a wood product and possibly encouraging termites. I asked the two instructors at my Naturescaping class and they assured me that mulching with bark or bark dust would not cause termites. Now I know where to send the Terminix bill if they are wrong.
While we were clearing out the area Greg started whacking a rhododendron stump. There were, at some point, FOUR rhodies and one azalea in this area. The stump popped right out with a few whacks.
Greg: "Well that was easy."
Heather: "Nice job! Now go remove that one."
Greg: "Where? I don't see another stump."
Heather: "Right there. And there."
Greg: "You mean the live rhododendrons?"
Heather: "Yes. Just go whack them until they fall down."
Greg: "That won't work."
Heather: "Yes it will. Just try."
I was convinced (convinced!) that it wouldn't be that hard to pull the live stumps out so the next day I cut down one of the rhodies and started working at the stump. Mothercusser wouldn't move. Greg came out and nicely didn't gloat. I was hoping to trick him into picking up the pickaxe but he wouldn't go for it.
Whatever, I don't care. I'm glad this thing is no longer blocking all the light into our dining room. LEAVING THE STUMP WAS PART OF MY PLAN.
Instead I weeded the parking strip, spread a nice layer of compost on it, then mulched it. Again. I have weeded and mulched that strip so many times. My coastal strawberries are finally taking off but my kinnikinnick is just sitting there, not forming a nice ground cover.
It doesn't help that I never amended the soil after I removed the arbor vitae. This fall I plan to have a couple of yards of compost delivered so I can spread it on all the beds. I always thought compost only helped if worked into the soil. It turns out that if you leave it on top, the worms will come up through the soil, grab it, and bring it lower. Working it in initially would be better, but laying it on top will eventually improve the soil structure. It will also work as a mulch during the cold winter months.
I plan to build compost bins this summer so I can start making my own soil amendments. And a new fence. And a deck. We're gonna be busy.