Saturday, March 31, 2012

Still the "before" stage

At least someone likes the bamboo...

It's called yard work, I remind myself. Not "yard play." Not "fun for everyone."


And believe me, I've been working. My husband just suggested that after dinner we watch an old Doctor Who episode called "Seeds of Doom," about an alien plant that triggers all the normal, earthly plants to run amok, until, without the Doctor's help, the world would have been taken over by an invading army of leaves, vines, stems and runners. A very appropriate choice, under the circumstances.

The recent bout of unnaturally warm weather has, like that alien seed, triggered an explosion of growth in my yard, and, as the best that can be said about it is that it is a neglected weed-infested disaster area of invasive plants and eyesores, means one thing: work, work, and more work.

My first project is one I call "Operation Raised Beds." There are four raised beds, surrounded by weed-infested gravel, to the side of my house, which I think would make an excellent place to grow vegetables and herbs, and maybe some sun-loving native plants.

This is what it looked like when we moved in at the end of last May:

I did try to whack it back a few times over the season, but since it was too late to plant much of anything, I mostly let nature take its course. I was curious to see what would pop up. Well, the course that nature chose to take was pretty ugly, so this year I am trying to get things in hand before it gets to that point. My plan is to dig everything out of the raised beds (even the things that were kind of's clean sweep time), and start from scratch, and also to address the weed problem by putting some landscaping mesh down under the gravel. The previous owners did not do this step.

Of course, before putting the mesh down, there is the matter of moving the gravel around.

Holy hernias, Batman! Of course, after the gravel has been moved (and all the weeds pulled out by their noxious roots), and the mesh laid down, well...then one has to shift the gravel back onto the path, right?

The fitness world is full of "extreme" workouts, like Insanity, P90X, Crossfit...those that only the bravest and most dedicated of fitness buffs attempt. I am not such a person. I would never attempt a workout called "Insanity." want an insane upper body workout? Then try shoveling gravel. For a couple of hours. Just saying.

Meanwhile, while I have been toiling like a convict, the bamboo behind the house has been going crazy.

Look at that crap coming back! Like I never cut it down!

No really...look at it! Arghh!!!

And I have a new nemesis. I think of it spreading beneath the ground, taking over the whole yard---taking over the whole town!--and my heart beats with a black and putrid hatred. The bamboo doesn't know it's an offensive, invasive plant. It just wants to live and thrive. And I care not a whit. I plan its demise, and rub my hands with glee. Mwa-ha-ha! So who is the arch-villain here, me or the bamboo?

My favorite arch-villain: The Monarch from The Venture Brothers

In his contribution to the yard work, last weekend Greenturtle did his best to dig out some of the bamboo. I do believe his exact words were, "We're f*@ked!" As I described in a post last summer, bamboo is a wacky sort of plant. Although it grows as high as a tree, it's actually a grass, and spreads by means of underground runners...which are very hard and not at all easy to dig out of the ground. I keep saying we need a Bobcat....

The underground runners in the light of day

He's right...we're screwed.

When he wasn't trying to dig out the bamboo, Greenturtle tackled an even more alien addition to the garden:

At least that one finally came out.

OK, it didn't go quite as far as down as the bowels of hell...

I am chronicling all this so that when my final Avian Haven has been created...the lovely, bird-friendly backyard of my dreams...I can look at the evidence of all this work and pat myself heartily on the back.

Providing I can still lift my arm that far when I'm done that is.

Anyone else busy with yard work these days?

1 comment:

  1. OMG, my back aches just reading your account of your labors! I would definitely go for the Bobcat! And I thought my former yard had miserable weeds, ivy, deadly nightshade, some kind of horrible wild morning glory vine, and Sacred Thistle. Okay, I admit I actually planted the Sacred Thistle. I liked the name. At least your yard has a Trevor in it (and a Raven, and a Leo)! Mom