Monday, May 1, 2017

Thorns, weeds, and errant seeds

It's May, and that means WORK TIME in the yard.  We've got almost two acres.  Much of it is wooded, but we do have a big front yard and huge swatches of mulched areas that have to be weeded.

But first comes the pruning.  Trees need to be pruned, vines need to be pruned, and shrubs need to be pruned.  These "mystery shrubs" were clearly not intentionally planted, because they come up everywhere and have to be cut down.  They are spiky, shaggy, and thorn-covered, so it's best to prune them into submission early.  I like the yard to have a natural look, so it's nice to have a few tidily-shaped shrubs to keep it from sliding into chaos.

When our large trees came down, a gigantic shaded, mulched bed suddenly became a full-sun bed. The spearmint, which had been tidy and contained, suddenly went wild.  It's the tall, spiky plant in front of the ferns here.

Mint is pretty tough to eradicate.  Even worse is this weed, which also spreads through an underground runner system:

When you try to pull it up, it falls apart in your hands.  Even one small segment remaining behind will sprout new growth.  I like groundcovers, but this could get out of control fast.  My goal is to not try to eradicate either, but to not allow them to spread beyond a certain point.  I'm also going to add 3 or 4 spiky purple plants, like salvia or speedwell, to give the space more structure.  I like it to look messy, but not so out-of-control that it looks like a weed patch.

Like this, actually.

These are all weeds, and just a fraction of what has to be pulled from our mulched beds.  The recent rainstorms and 85 degree days have caused them to go crazy!  After weeding, we're going to mulch again and plant easy annuals, like cosmos.

It's not all work, though.  Without any effort from me, and in spite of the fact that I haven't divided them in 5 years (gulp!), the irises are blooming nicely!

This pretty bush blooms every spring, nice white flowers that make beautiful tiny bouquets.

These bushes are blooming too.  I used to know their name...

Sedum is spreading and flowering...

...and so are the herbs we planted, like this oregano.

The ferns we moved to the back yard are doing well, too.

We hear birds all the time, but they're harder to see because the trees are fully leafed out.  I bought a clear trough feeder and attached it to the door of our sun room.  It's very unobtrusive...

...maybe too much so.  Five days and not a single bird!  I'm going to try it in a different space.

In my spare time, I've slowly been working on my quilt.  I did do a craft project recently, for Easter. I took foam sheets, traced plates, cut out the circles, and used brads to pin them in to a giant fortune cookie shape.  Tyvex envelopes, cut up, made the fortune cookie paper strip (and address/postage location).  I used Peeps stickers and the fortune was:  "Easter is better when you spend it with your PEEPS!"  It was a quick and easy project, but alas...I used thinner foam than recommended for the project and many of them were shredded during transit.  This is how they were supposed to look:

That's all that's happening here - work, and the cats grabbing naps wherever they find a spot.

Have a great week!

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