bout 2010, I had a really good yard going. I’d be out working in the yard in the evenings and neighbors would walk by and tell me how good my yard looked which is amazing because I had no clue what I was doing. My sister and I attended the Alabama Hydrangea Society’s tour of homes; I began hanging out at various botanical gardens in the area. I was in a gardening zone, baby. I was rooting hydrangeas, I had amassed a collection of about 75 hosta. I could show friends and family my fern collection and call out the botanical name for each one.
Last year, my yard looked like hell. I bought zero plants (well almost zero); barely even put weed and feed on my yard. The only thing I did was cut the weeds and what little grass that grew beneath them.
So what happened? In 2010, we had a drought of historic proportions and the next year was almost as bad. My mostly shade yard had become home to a herd of voles which tunnelled beneath my yard and began munching the roots of my plants. I had planted hydrangeas that seemed to need watering multiple times a day, so getting water to them was a daily chore. All that work, all that care, all the attention to plant location and which plants work best together – it all seemed to be a big let down when I began to see them die. I couldn’t get ahead of keeping them alive. So I gave up. I had a collection of about 30 hydrangeas. I dug many of them up; gave them to family and friends. Kept a few of each and returned to woodworking as a hobby.
The good news is the few plants I still have are now much more mature. They are becoming the basis of a renewed effort to whip my yard into shape. That is what I have been doing for the past month or so – moving a few existing plants (dividing some of these), buying many new plants and spreading pine straw throughout the large shade area in my yard. By the way, one reason we bought our house was the wooded nature of the lot. We have many trees of which I love. Our yard was originally all grass, but as these trees have matured, at least 1/3 of the front yard is now without grass.
Here are some pics from this morning. I’ll post some more in a month or so to show my hydrangeas in full bloom…
I’ll need to buy at least an additional ten bales of pine straw (for a total of 30) to finish what I want to do; but that will be about all for now. The plant budget is running low. I’ll continue adding some plants in the fall and a major fall project – re-sodding the front yard since it is now mostly weeds.
I’ll be back to woodworking soon…
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