Tuesday, April 8, 2008

(A wee little bit of) the fruits of my labors

Here's one corner of my back patio. See the azalea border? See the lack of weeds in the azalea border? That's part of what I did today. Over the course of winter it can get almost completely covered by tiny, invasive weedy things that I don't even know the name of. But they sure love to grow in mulch. Their roots don't even make it into the soil beneath. They just burrow into the pine bark nuggets and start growing.

If it's been rainy, the weeds come up by the roots fairly easily. It's just a matter of kneeling on the concrete patio, inching down its sixty foot length, pulling weeds. Yes 60, six-zero, feet. The patio runs 3/4 of the length of the house. You can get a lot of weeds in 60 feet of border.

Of course, there was also the mulch under the trees out front, which had grass incursions to defeat and red oak leaves to rake out of the pine nuggets. FYI, red oak leaves don't all fall in the autumn, like the rest of the sensible leaves. No, some of them hang on all through the winter and let go around the middle of March. I like to think of them holding on for dear life while the new sprouts push them into the oblivion below. "NO, NO, I'M NOT FALLING!"

So, when you clean up in the spring, you have to dig all the oak leaves out of the mulch and from under the bushes, where the winter winds blew them. The leaves are smaller than an English oak, leathery, and don't seem to decompose at all. Why the south isn't knee deep in southern red oak leaves is beyond me.

I also had a robust patch of turnips under my crape myrtle to pull up. No, I didn't plant them. I think they were a gift from the birds that visited the sunflower seed feeder in that corner of the yard. Someone nearby must have planted turnips last year, and the friendly neighborhood sparrows feasted on the seed tops, came to my yard, and -- well, you know. The seeds sprouted and were well on their way to turnip-ness by the time I wrestled them out of the landscaping.

Everything is looking pretty good now. I only have to weed the flowerbed around the birdbath, and I'll be ready to plant annuals in two or three weeks. A very strange ground cover-looking weed has completely covered the semi-circle bed. There are perennials in there, so I have to be a little careful what I uproot until they are recognizable.

Oh, is anybody going to ask about the wagon wheel in the picture? It was here when I arrived, and my husband kind of likes it. Me, I'm neutral -- it IS a pretty unusual decoration, but it's a real, honest-to-goodness wooden wagon wheel and it's starting to show its age.

It coordinated with the wagon wheel chandelier that hung in the den when we bought the house. Honest - I'm not kidding. A round wooden wagon wheel shaped light fixture about 30 inches in diameter with four lightbulbs covered in frosted glass chimneys and perky little scalloped brass shades. It was UUUUUUUGLY! I replaced it with a reasonable fixture when I bought my desk and bookcase for the den. I had never in all my life seen a chandelier like that thing, until I walked into the local Russell Stover candy store last Easter and about fell over in the floor. In the center of the store hung the big daddy to my little bitty wagon wheel light. It was about six feet in diameter. They even had matching wagon wheel wall sconces. Now, if I had had the matching sconces in the den too, maybe that would have.......nope.

ADDENDUM: I grabbed this photo off Ebay. This light only has three bulbs. Imagine it larger with four bulbs and you'll have what I removed from my den. Yipes, how many of these things were sold?


paula, the quilter said...

The weedy thing around here is Russian Olive. Ugh. The government considers it a noxious weed and so do I. I swear, I could become a reverse Johnny Appleseed and instead of planting apple trees I would have a chainsaw and chop down all the Russian Olive trees I come across. As it is, I pull those suckers out when I find them in the yard, thanks to the birds.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the yard looks GREAT! I need to get out into my torturous yeard next weekend and start making it more presentable. Thanks for the insipiration!

Jacquie said...

The yard looks beautiful. I love azaleas. I have two that I have to nurse here in Kansas...too hot and dry in the summer and many times get nipped by the freezes in the spring. I'm sure they would be much happier at your house.

Krafty Kathryn said...

Your garden looks lovely. The light saga had me chuckling. I must admit they look quite hideous. We'll be doing some weeding over the weekend too. Fortunately, we don't have any thugs to contend with.

Morah said...

Looks good! I only wish you were my neighbor....you may get confused and extend your weeding to my yard......

BTW the oak leaves make great mulch. I use them in my back yard and they must issue a dare to the weeds because there are none!!!