Check out the ugly! Click on the picture to fully appreciate it's scope. This homely little corner of the yard reads like a checklist of last year's abandoned projects. Last year the center of this bed held a huge silver maple that was developing a house crushing angle to it. After one particularly creepy windstorm, we decided to take it down. The wood from it went to the woodpile, except for those for remaining logs which were so heavy and wet that I left them where they were. They became ant condo's sometime over the winter.
The lava rock boulders in front of the stumps is part of my husband's remove all hateful lava rock mulch from all beds project. It's a cruddy project. I'm glad he's taken it on. The stuff cuts your hands up, makes digging impossible and makes every bed into the equivalent of a pizza oven. He's been chipping away at its removal for two years now but often takes breaks from it. Its that bad.
The plastic container hidden behind the stump is missing tubberware from the kitchen that the kiddos apparently swiped last year for something. The grass in the bed? That's from me getting bored with grass removal last year and moving on to other things. The fire circle is my temporary set-up that I move all over. If there is a place that needs grass removal, it often sprouts a fire circle!
There was a lot that needed attacking in the yard today but this little area is among the worst and since there is a chance of frost tonight, additional planting is on hold so the improvement was on!
I started at about 10am after the usual coldframe fussing and stick pick up. It took me until about 4pm to complete which included a trip to Sids for some Cotton Burr compost. I think it came out pretty good! Aside from the obvious weeding, grass removal and raking, I added a gravel dust base underneath the bricks. I found this stuff under a bunch of leaves in the back of the bed (hubby's work) and had to do something with it. I also thinned the Norway maple that is nearest this bed which only took a couple of minutes and added a ton of light to the spot. When I moved the stumps over to make a new compost areas, I got a shirtfull of black ants and their eggs. GAH ROSE! That inspired the first garden shriek of the season. I wonder if the neighbors take bets on that? Finally I removed a ton of creeping charlie from between the hedges that I would never have to do if the neighbor would make some attempt at erradicating it from his yard. Its been years. You would think he would have taken the hint from my muttered swears by now.
Unfortunately the whole of this bed is far from done. While most of it still looks OK thanks to piles of leaf mulch piled in it last year, there is still a ton of work, not to mention planting that is needed in this space. In order not to go completely broke, I'll be dividing a lot of my shade perennials and adding them to this bed gradually. The area of the bed I finished today will get some vegetables. While it is high filtered shade, it successfully produced both corn and leeks last year so I'm going to ask it to contribute to food production again this year as well. Maybe some flowers too. Oh and a hosta! An area with soil that looks this great definitely needs a hosta. Or two!