Sunday, March 01, 2009

Extreme Yardwork

I have a rather big backyard. It has always been rather "natural" (not landscaped) but I try to keep it maintained. Lots of trees means lots of raking. Because the back of my lot is against the old trolley track easement owned by the city, and because the city does not maintain this area, I have always had an ivy problem. As long as I keep it cut back everything is OK but if a year goes by and I don't do maintenance it becomes a problem.

So I realized that the last time I did any kind of maintenance back there was spring 2004, and not a great deal that year. Let me 'splain.

2004: I re-did my bathroom and had my chimney rebuilt from the roofline up. Then I went to the Caribbean in July where I ruptured both Achilles and was in a wheelchair for 8 weeks.

2005: I was in Japan the whole year.

2006: I had a hysterectomy in the spring and it took quite a while to fully recover. Hard yardwork not really an option.

2007: I was here, I was healthy, and I managed to get a little bit done but was working mainly in the areas directly outside the house. Since these areas had been ignored so long that was a huge undertaking.

2008: I was in Chile.

The key is that all this work needs to be done in the early spring. By Memorial Day the heat in Atlanta is too much to be doing more than simple upkeep. Also there is the snake factor. I hate snakes. I am terrified of snakes. If I am mowing the yard and I see a snake I stop immediately and go inside and leave the mower where it is. If it gets stolen I don't care. This is how much snakes terrify me. So upper backyard work MUST be accomplished prior to snake weather.

We had a couple of lovely warm weekends in February and I got started. I don't have full "before" photos but I do have a few that will give you an idea.

This area beside the shed was a mess - ivy, blackberry vines, leaves, debris, vines on the fence . . . This is where I started.

I raked the lower backyard thoroughly and cleared all the dead planting stuff from around the pond.

To orient you - the tree in the center of the above photo is a huge magnolia. Magnolias have the biggest, toughest leaves. They don't even compost they are so tough. You see the dirt before the patchy grass starts around the pond? The ivy was all the way to there and up into the magnolia tree. I got all of that cleared.

Since I began in February and as of this morning I have put 43 Lowe's bags on the street PLUS all the branches I've picked up. I have in my possession 22 empty Lowe's bags and fully intend to have them all filled before the weekend is over.

After all this work and all these bags what could I possibly have left to do you ask?

Just this.

And that.
I'll take more photos Sunday to show you the progress! I really do think I can get all of this done before heat and snakes move in.
I have a Brit co-worker who, in addition to earning what I am certain is a huge salary (he is one of the top IT people), owns several of his own companies. He lives in a multi-million dollar MacMansion in a swanky neighborhood. He asked me why I don't just "hire a gardener."
Right. I'm going to get right on that. But until then I am thoroughly enjoying being outside on my own property sweating a little.

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