Monday, September 6, 2010

Saving Susan(s)

Mother Nature is a bitch and worse, she thinks she is the boss of my yard.

I spent a good portion of the past three days reminding her that there's plenty of greenspace left in the world and she can just keep her nose out of mine.

It's the neighbors' fault, really. Mark and Jerry are going to take down most of the brick wall that separates our yards on the east side of the house. It's leaning. (The wall; not our house.) I wonder how much of that can be blamed on small red head and her gang of assorted fellow urchins who may or may not have used it as a tower to jump from, a balance beam to walk on and a "betcha can't do this" platform.

I'm trying not to wonder so much that I offer to pay for a portion of rebuild. I'll probably just blame Mother Nature. The wall is old. It was here long before we arrived. I'm sure it's not our fault...

Anyway. I have a bed of black-eyed susans that have basked in the shade of that wall for a few years now. Mark warned me that the wall crew comes this weekend. To save the susans, I had to dig them up and move them.

The first wheel barrow full of flowers went to the fence that separates us from the west side neighbor. They'd originally come from her yard years ago, and they've proliferated like crazy in ours. They grew so well, she actually got a little jealous, so a couple of years ago, I dug some up and gave them back to her, planting them alternatively on her side of the fence and then mine, thinking they'd poke through the pickets and be pretty for both of us.

They don't seem to like her yard as well as ours, so I've had gaps on my side this year. It's really been annoying.

I don't have any gaps any more.

The second wheelbarrow of black-eyed susans went to another flower bed across the yard, under the back porch windows. It's the crime scene where my backside was stung by a bee this summer, so I was wary. but I filled in some holes there, too.

On Saturday, I started working on the third wheelbarrow full of flowers but got distracted by the state of my front yard. My good friend Pamela planted some flowers and plants for me after I had Alison. It's filled in nicely, but it's all sort of at war. I moved the Lamb's Ears, which had been languishing as the flox, spikey grass and ground cover tried become lord of the range. We'll see how it does out in the open away from the battleground.

The spiky grass has been bullying the flox from Day 1 but I haven't ever really put the hammer down on the grass. I introduced the ground cover, thinking it would sneak in and choke out the spikes. I spent a good three hours digging out spikes. I relocated a little bit but bagged most of it.

I eventually relocated some flox across the walkway to fill in the areas left bare by the spikey grass eradication. It was bumping up against some other flowers in that bed. Why can't they all just get along?!

Today, I went back to the brick wall and got a third wheel wheel barrow full of susans and put them under the magnolia, and along the shorter end of the brick wall in the front yard. (That end is in good shape and won't be dismantled.) Then, I had to move some ferns that had overrun the stepping stones Ali follows to climb the magnolia.

In between all of that, we made time for a couple of walks, a bike ride along the tow patch and a trip to Lowes where I spent all the birthday money I'd gotten from my Maine family on nine new perinneals to fill in the bed along the driveway.

I told Jeff I was stopping at noon today, but it was probably after one o'clock before the tools were returned and the debris picked up. I stopped counting activity points, but I did allow myself some wine with and after dinner tonight. (I walked during that last glass, so I'm pretty sure I evened it out...)

Earlier, I'd made the mistake of noticing that the lilies of the valley that came with the house were encroaching again. Those things have more crazy roots than I do 5 1/2 weeks before my date with Julie at Ado Hair salon. And like mine, they refuse to stop coming back. It's maddening.

I ended up with four lawn bags full of crap, dead tree root and the remains of the tiger lilies and irises to show for my work.

There are still dozens of black-eyed-susans still along the back yard wall. I think I'm going to see if they can survive the great wall demolition and reconstruction project.

Jeff, who hates yard work, was a great help. Alison not so much. That's not really true. She makes a pretty good waterer, when she's not trying to water me. She even brought me an unsolicited cup of ice water this morning.

She's recently been allowed to subscribe to Moshi Monsters. Actually, seconds after I'd said yes, she'd found my credit card and was subscribing herself. It's been occupying a lot of her time, lately. I'm telling myself that it's educational...

I'm tired of the yard. As for Mother Nature, I think I'd remind her that I saved a bunch of susans this weekend. Surely she can find a better place for all the plants I don't want to see spring up next year...

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