Garden chores

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I have been holding back on you. The last time I posted something about what I am doing in the garden was a while ago. On July 22nd I ruminated on whether my garden is actually “low maintenance.” To be able to answer with an honest and emphatic “yes it is,” I have done nearly nothing in the garden since. Yes, I did do some minor pruning on the young oaks in late August, removed a dead flannel bush in late September, and cut back a crownbeard (Verbesina dissita) but not much else since the wedding.

Looking further back in this blog just makes me tired! We learned of our son and his wife’s interest in having their wedding in our backyard about a year ago. From then on it was a whirlwind of activity. We – that’s the royal we, actually my husband did this – removed the dilapidated deck, grew sunflowers and other wildflowers in pots, smoothed out paths, chipped and cleaned up green waste, painted our neighbors’ garage (the side that faces our yard), had a new fence installed… It exhausts me just thinking about it. The big event came and the big event went. Since then I have done very little in the yard, except enjoy it.


Today the yard called to me. The lawn was screaming to be torn out. So first I strolled through the front and back yards looking for promising areas. The front parkway stretching between a busy sidewalk and street is one possibility. Two large, ugly sweet gum trees occupy the strip with roots winding through the thin, weedy grass. It will be difficult to grow anything in this compacted, root-filled soil but a layer of organic mulch chipped from my own garden green waste might look just fine. I think I’ll just stop watering the strip and see what happens. The trees are large and probably well rooted into the front yard so cutting the water on the strip shouldn’t be too bad for them.

This picture was taken in December 2009. A few new plants are being added to the bed next to the sidewalk in our front yard. A portion of the front parkway and the sweet gum tree can be seen on the right. The parkway is 6 ft. wide and about 80 ft. long and there are two sweet gum trees in it.

The second spot that caught my eye is the edge of the backyard “green pond,” i.e. lawn. The small oval lawn that served so well for the wedding is about to retreat a bit. On the east side of the yard is a California Glory flannel bush (Fremontodendron ‘California Glory’). Yes, the same type of plant that passed away during a summertime heat wave. It does not like much water, especially when it is hot. The lawn in front of a shrub on the east side of the yard is brown from lack of water. It needs to go. Several deergrass (Muhlenbergia rigens) mark the transition from wet to dry. I transplanted three more of these from large containers.


I dug out about 25 square ft., turned the sod upside down so roots would dry out and decompose. All I can say is: I am not as young as I used to be.


Also had some fun mowing the lawn with my trusty push reel Great States mower. My husband noticed it didn’t have the neat look of the electric mower – scruffy was the word bantered about. Still I enjoyed pushing the mower, reliving my early childhood before gasoline powered mowers. Love the sound and smell of the push mower. I mow this lawn about once every three or four weeks, even less frequently during the hottest part of summer and the coldest part of winter.


So far I have removed about half of the lawn from my yard. More needs to be taken from the front yard. Right now I’m thinking about keeping this patch in the back, though who knows, it might just call out to be extirpated.

2 thoughts on “Garden chores

  1. I just love your posts. And go push mowers! Yes, their scissor-sound is music to my ears too. Also, to have your own son have his marriage ceremony in your garden? Now that is something to be double-proud of. 🙂

  2. Thanks Robert. I do like the push mower – counts as exercise as well.

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