Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dirt, Glorius Dirt

A few weeks ago I posted a picture of the shameful landscaping in front of my house.


It's one of those things were I kind of knew it was getting out of control, but after looking at it like that every day, I stopped seeing just how bad it looked. Then one day I actually looked at it and saw just how bad it looked. I can't imagine what my poor neighbors have been thinking.

I know how this happened too. I've wanted to redo the landscaping for several years, however to make any changes I'd need to submit a plan to the landscaping committee and then wait two months for approval. That's way too much work for me as a working mother with a young child, so I kept putting it off. Then, when I finally had enough energy to plan for it, I was faced with finding time to actually do the work. While Michael loves being outside, he's never really been one to stay in the front yard while I sit and relax. In fact, this is the first summer that I've actually been able to sit at all when he's outside - normally on the neighbor's front lawn because their daughter doesn't wander as much as the boys do.

And then, there are the gold Finches. Every year I look at the Black Eyed Susans and decide that I'm going to rip them out. They are invasive to the point of having killed one shrub already and after they bloom, the leaves turn black. To be honest, I don't even like them when they bloom. However, we have a charm of Gold Finches that live in the park next to us, and they love the seeds from the Black Eyed Susans. Every year when the flowers start to die and the leaves start to turn black, the Gold Finches show up and I decide that I'll leave them for another year.

I'm sorry Gold Finches, you'll have to make due on the Thistle that grows in the park because those babies are coming out!

With the gorgeous weather this weekend I took the opportunity to start working on the landscaping project. The first evening I attacked the patch next to the steps. And I mean attacked! I pulled and dug and raked and yanked while Michael and the other kids played around on the sidewalk with chalk and dinosaurs. I worked really hard for about an hour and made a tiny little dent in the jungle. Not only has have the Black Eyed Susans doubled in size and sent out runners all over the place, the emerald and gold shrubs are also trying to take over the world. The further I got into it, the worse it all seems. But once I cleared out the entire patch next to the steps, I was encouraged by how much better it looks.

The next night I decided to attack the patch in the center of the flower bed. I was hoping the kids would be out again to keep Michael busy, but everyone was away for the holiday. Michael wanted to wander and play. I wanted him to stay with me. What to do, what to do?

Um...duh! I had a nice little plot of freshly dug dirt just sitting there waiting for Michael to play in it. I handed him a small shovel and let him go to town. The only rule was to keep the dirt on the dirt, and not on the sidewalk. That kept him busy for an hour, until sundown forced us to fold up for the night. I was able to make another small dent into the overgrown landscaping, and Michael got to play in the dirt. It was a perfect evening for both of us.

Well, except that he was so filthy I had to carry him up to the bathtub. But that's a small price to pay for an hour of uninterrupted yard work.

When I get the rest of the Black Eyed Susans out I'll snap a picture so you can see phase I of the project. Phase II is going to involve digging out the big old evergreen shrub next to the steps, and if it's going to happen this year, it needs to happen soon. I think I may need to invest in a full sized shovel for that job.


LauraC said...

I would like you to imagine the dirt fights we've had in my garden in the backyard.

That is all.

Kara said...

Can't wait to see the finished product. I love before and afters.