Its been way too muggy lately but not necessarily hot, at least compared to other parts of this country. It cannot be fun to deal with a hundred plus degrees everyday, so our eighties cannot be considered hot in comparison. But, even so, it is still grossly humid. And the humidity makes me feel less than inspired to work on pasture and woodland projects. So, not wanting to go far, I'm looking at the yard just out the door (did they call it the dooryard once?).
And just to the side of the stone courtyard, (the courtyard consists of stones set into the ground taking the place of lawn), is what I call an oasis. There are other such areas here, and this one is planted in trees, shrubs, and perennial flowers. It harbors an abundance of life including a bird’s nest and our resident snake. And it seems to have become seriously overgrown. You probably know that it's hard to visualize what kind of growth will take place when you first put the much smaller plants into the ground.
|The oasis from the driveway|
The over-abundance of this oasis is grabbing my interest even though in the humidity a kind of muggy lethargy seems to have set into my bones. I decide to shake it off, and off I go to gather some tools. Even though a machete might do the job better, I opt for loppers and shovel and my trusty four-pronged cultivator. I feel my energy returning.
|The oasis from the other direction|
Pretty much the only way to go at a project like this (yes, I’ve done it before) is to start at an edge and work your way in. Now that might sound obvious but the oasis has some real density going on and there is no way to get at the middle of it before paying attention to the edges.
The Apothecary rose has gone in all directions via runners and is peeking out at the sides. It seems like a good place to begin. A combination of hacking at the ground with the shovel, pulling hard on runners with the cultivator, and lopping incites a great deal of sweat. I ignore the sweat. Yanking up the rose runners also helps to extract some extraneous vinca and seeding bellflowers. Way into the whole process of it, and drenched in sweat (still trying to ignore it) I trim back the sprawling peony, dig out an oak tree, move some bergenia and bearded iris to better places, and drastically pare back the weigela and the bayberries.
And take out the invasive honeysuckle which has been on the agenda to be exchanged with a native variety. The hummingbirds loved the flowers, but they will have to make do with different flowers for now.
|Voila! What a difference!|
Left behind are two oaks, two arborvitae, bayberry, day lilies, bergenia, heather, the peony, the original apothecary rose, the trimmed weigela, hens and chickens, some lilies, vinca and plenty of seeds from the bellflowers. And a large pile of landfill material not to mention the usual stack of extracted stones.
|The pile to the left is the stuff removed.|
Well, sweaty satisfaction. Now that the excess is removed I see that there are some big rocks in there. Wow! I had not remembered those. It will be fun to see it all grow back again. I'm looking forward to another sweaty day next summer. -jmm