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Posts Tagged ‘Barney Schultz’

Today was Beautifuler.

My Sunday plans to meet up with friends fell through, but it could not have happened on a nicer Palm Sunday. I quickly changed gears and got ready to muck it out in the yard.

I had grass to deal with. We have a lovely lawn out front, with real lawn grass (and a lot of moss, but, hey – we live where we live). The back yard, however, is a mess. I don’t know who to blame for this: Barney Schultz, who bought this house in the 1930’s and turned the yard into a peony meadow, but then got old and couldn’t take care of it? Or the people who purchased it from the estate with the intent of “flipping” it, and so concentrated solely on the interior remodel and not so much on the garden?

The latter asked us if they could remove some of the peonies when they moved, and we gladly obliged because I knew that removing some peonies would not affect the overall peony garden (peonies, like irises, need to be divided every few years. And no matter if you *think* you got them all, you didn’t).

EVERYTHING in the yard then was overgrown in grass. I dug up sod, peeled back grass, and hand-created the flower beds we currently have. This is not ordinary lawn grass. We have crabgrass, clumping grass, running grass, and several other horrid invasive grasses to contend with in the back yard. The only reason(s) we don’t raze the whole thing is: my flower beds and the dogs. The dogs dig potholes in the “grass”. If it was lawn, I’d have conniptions. It’s not, and when I edge garden beds or dig out new garden beds, I use the sod to fill in the holes. Works for me, for now.

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I want to get the grass out of my flower beds, but it’s damn near impossible. Yes. I just swore. The clumping grass comes up pretty easily right now.

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You grab it and everything comes up as pictured above. But the grass that throws out runners…

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Yeah, that stuff. It’s not tall enough, the ground is too muddy, it’s too wrapped up around the iris tubers… Just.Ugh.

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Still & all, I made a really good sweep along the north end of the yard. I only left the grass in the iris beds, which I will just have to figure out some other time.

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My main goal was to pick up the oak leaves and pull up the grass and weeds that I could get to. And looky here! Gladiolas pushing upward!

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Oriental poppies getting ready to bloom!

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Pearly Everlasting pushing up through the hazelnut mulch.

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This happens when you realize you have runaway crocosmia that need extra protection from 80+pound dogs. I use whatever is available (in this case, old wire shelving) to form a fence around my precious plants. The mushroom planter in the foreground doubles as a place to hide slug bait where big dogs and birds can’t get to it – but slugs can.

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I have a method to my madness. Random stakes in random places also deter large dogs from deciding to lay down in flower beds – or make a habit of trotting through.

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You probably noticed I have a lot of garden fencing up against the wood fence. The reason is this: Harvey eats wood fences. What he can’t eat, he digs under. Plus, the fencing protects my gladiolas from being walked on or falling over.

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I mentioned digging up grass the old-fashioned way and lamenting how I can’t get rid of it. I don’t want to use harsh chemicals in my yard, around the insects or the dogs. I do use an organic herbicide (dawn soap + vinegar) in certain areas. If I have a few dry days, this is one of those areas. It works great for something like this, but the compound does *not* kill the roots and it’s darn hard to apply around precious plants. I’ll treat this area twice in the summer and it will kill all the grass under the wire, but I’ll have to repeat next year.

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Speaking of under the deck… Native bleeding hearts have taken hold on one end. They haven’t started blooming yet. I love bleeding hearts.

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I have one peony that gets bud eaten before it can bloom. Every year. I don’t know why this one peony has this problem: too much shade? I am thinking of dividing it this coming fall to see if I can get ahead of the pest. It’s a triple-burgundy.

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The one healthy blossom on it is crawling with ants – ants have a symbiotic relationship with peonies, so you don’t want to kill off all the ants in the yard.

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Yesterday, I blogged about problem areas in the yard… This is behind the garden shed. It’s full shade. Ivy, Himalayan blackberries, and nightshade love this corner. I love nightshade. It’s pretty. But it is invasive as heck. Ivy and the Himalayan blackberries… KILL THEM.

I have no idea if I will ever conquer that corner…

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This is what I am up against in my SW garden: pine cones. Acid. Tiny pine cones.

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I planted a bunch of bulbs last fall, but I don’t remember what I planted. Can we say “surprise”???

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I took a nap and then came back outside. I started on the south fence. The plan is to hack back the grass and blackberries to create a full shade border. Oh- did I mention blackberries? Not Himalayan ones: these are freaking NATIVE ones that creep along the ground. We inherited the Himalayan ones because some emigrant long ago decided that the NATIVE plants weren’t invasive enough or tasty enough. Or thorny enough.

I don’t think you can really see what I did there, but I dug up a lot of grass, blackberries, and pruned old fronds off of a native fern. I left the fronds on the ground in the hopes of encouraging new ferns to fill in the spaces. I can’t think of better shade plants than ferns.

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The first year that Harvey lived with us, I put up chicken wire to keep him from digging. I only put it up in small sections and I hope to remove this section this year for the more aesthetically pleasing fencing.

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He’s never tried to argue with this. 017

All in a day’s work.

I’m tired.

 

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