Showing posts with label rhododendron. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rhododendron. Show all posts

Friday, November 18, 2011

Like they never existed

A dude came out this week with one of those fancy earth-moving machines that make me so nervous. He dug out the rhody stumps, including the one located over our water main. I was working from home that day, ironing out a presentation while the windows rattled and the floor vibrated. It wasn't stressful at all.

As the guy left he yelled, "Enjoy your clean slate!" It amazes me; in about an hour he was able to make it like the rhododendron and azalea never existed. I feel extra stupid for ever trying to remove a stump myself. He also ground out the rhododendron in the backyard, nicking the berm on my rain garden a little.

How funny is that perfect square of sod in the middle of the yard? I broadcast seed around that area, trying to soften the square, but our lawn is rejecting it. I'm just going to start telling people that it's a modern grass installation. "Eames totally did that in his yard."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Our little box is a naked box.

Today the tree trimmers came to prune up the dogwood in front and the cedar in back. I think I've established that I don't know what I'm doing when I prune, so I hired out. While they were here they took away the rhodies and the azalea.




Oh shit.

I had a moment of panic when I saw the cedar (so naked! where are her petticoats!?) but I'm getting used to it now. The plants underneath are all shade-loving plants but I think they'll be okay. They'll get a little more water this winter and the fence should get a little more sun, which means it might not rot as quickly.

The guy pruned up the andromeda (Pieris japonica, just to the right of the bamboo) after I told him I wanted to rip it out. He basically told me that I was crazy and that it just needed to be prettified. And I think maybe that silly hippy was right.

I guess we should get rid of that huge dirt pile (which I call "the neighborhood cat toilet") that formed while I was digging the rain garden. Next week the guys come to grind out the stumps and I will officially have a clean slate out front. Hooray!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I'm not as strong as I think

The front yard has been looking particularly bad lately. The house needs to be painted and the landscaping is non-existent. If we neglect to mow the lawn our house goes from looking rundown to looking abandoned.

To wit:

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."
Heather: "Please?"

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.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Why I won't be quitting my day job.

Did your mom ever give you a haircut when you were little, and maybe it wasn't perfect?  Did you maybe give her grief about this for years on end, as if it didn't just grow out in two weeks anyway?

Mama, I am so sorry.

I tried to trim my rhododendron myself.  My bangs may have been a little crooked but my mother never left me with bald spots.  They look so much worse in person.

I'm going to blame this on the fact that: 1. I have no idea what I'm doing and 2. there were SPIDERS THE SIZE OF KITTENS IN THESE.

It was terrifying.  I'm betting right about now that my neighbor across the street wishes I had just left the arbor vitae in, so she wouldn't have to look at my house.  I did mildly better on the mystery willow in the backyard. 




It's harder than it looks!