Fall is in the air a full month early! That’s welcomed since we’ve had temps at least in the 90’s since March.
The hummingbirds are doing their thing on the back porch in usual style, one or two at a time. The numbers are still not great enough for the guarding males to give up fighting to dominate their feeder. Soon enough. Pardon the hand-held camera shot. I just don’t can’t bother with a tri-pod set up with my time constraints.
While I was standing there, Mr. Cardinal came up for some black sunflower seed off the porch feeder. He chirps at me something fierce, but he’s brazen enough to come within a few feet and stare me down.
The torpedo grass nemesis is finally gone! When I got home from the tennis match last Monday, half of the infested bed had been excavated down roughly 18 inches – yes, a foot and a half. That’s how deep the root system was in that beast of a grass. In all, 10 cubic yards of soil was removed, two trailers-full, with the same amount of new soil coming in to replace it.
Not willing to accept anything must be thrown away or hauled off, I asked the foreman if I could have it deposited somewhere else on my property. He raised his eyebrow, looked disapprovingly at me and then pointed to the infected dirt in the trailer, saying something in Spanglish. You no want yuck grass. No bueno. He was right. It was completely overtaken with torpedo grass roots and fragment. His point made – and the visual to cinch – it lead me a difficult choice. Haul it off. And good riddance.
Any landscaping plants in the area went too, including eight Knock-out roses, two holly trees, and some indian hawthorne shrubs. The roots of these plants were also deeply inundated with grass runners, there was nothing I could do. They all had to go.
The upside? We can actually see the front door from the street now! And I can watch for the kids’ bus from the comfort of the front porch shade. In order to make the bed more manageable for me, and to improve drainage away from the house, I had him add a good bit of sod over a large portion of the area.
Next is fall landscaping and front door beautification. But that’s for another day, perhaps next year’s budget (this one is wiped!).
And at least the HOA is happy that I took care of the shoulder-high grass in the front flower bed. All it took was hundreds of dollars of man-labor to get it right. Ouch.
Back in 2001, the original owners planted what were most likely very small oleander shrubs (each of which need an impressive 10 feet of space to sprawl). They were planted only two feet apart, six inches off the fence – really, really bad planning. It made for some pretty ugly, leggy plants with the beautiful flower stalks sitting 15 feet high at the very top of these thick sticks.
We hand pruned and otherwise “managed” these plants into a more desired bushy effect, several times, over several years to no avail. Hardly the privacy hedge it was intended to be, the new neighbors and I regularly talk “through” the thick sticks and discuss what to do with the thicket.
No more! I like having a real neighbor to talk to. It was a good enough excuse to rip them up. Some roping cowboys from Wharton came in to do the ax-and-shovel work for me – it took them all day, and another good portion of my garden budget. But at least it’s done.
I don’t like pulling any live plant up (except for invasive grass species), so coming to the conclusion that 43 oleanders also needed to be pulled and hauled off was a hard one (even harder than the cost of man labor), and since oleander is toxic, it could not be reused on my property. Another haul-away which is difficult for me.
It helped a little that I’m itching to release the 150 feet of bed area for an espalier fruit orchard. I am very excited to get started on the post-and-wire frame fencing! We’ll do that now when it’s cool and plant the fruit trees in the spring for their “training.”
More plums, pears, and peaches I suppose, and if I can find a Texas green apple variety, I will try that too. We lost our last lone apple tree in the drought last year from the original eight (which also died on my watch); I like to think it was the wrong variety versus my neglect (like the roses which I actually enjoy abusing).
Check, and check again.
And the two new lasagna beds are ready for planting as well! Time to get to it now that the weather is getting cooler. It’s supposed to get down the 50’s tonight. That’s downright chilly. I’m ready.
On a kids note, today is picture day at school. They can’t wear green (at least one of my children’s favorite color) due to the use of digital technology and the “green screen” background. Hm. Will see how that turns out. I love getting school pictures of the kids every year, as goofy as they tend to be. Maybe one day, they can enter in one of Angie’s photo contests like their mom did. I can already see several that will fit the bill – worth the $$.
A few more shots from the garden and driveway.
Later, alligators. I’ve certainly got my work cut out for me and it’s already past 8:00a.
And hey! I have some new followers, so this may be your first post from me.
Really glad to have all of you here sharing my crazy, dirty life. See you in a week.