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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gardening Mistakes

Have you made mistakes with your gardening decisions?  Our house is built on a steeply sloping 120 foot by 150 foot lot, creating a large lawn to mow with a hand mower.  The slopes make it impossible to use anything else.
We expanded flower beds and added flower beds to reduce lawn mowing.  Next, we had the brilliant idea of mulching the whole 120 feet across the back of our property, where it meets the street.  We planted Russian Cypress because it flourishes on slopes and therefore reduces mowing.

For a few years, all went well.  This year there was too much rain in the spring and summer, rain that washed the mulch down the slopes, making it easier for weeds to grow through in the thinner places and allowing ants (despite our diligent efforts) to begin chomping away at the cypress roots.
Now, we have mulch, Russian Cypress and weeds.  The weeds have gotten the upper hand.  Look at this.  There is a cypress struggling to escape the tangle of thistles, clover, dandelions, greenery that my Mum calls “cow cabbage and horse tails”, plus some other unidentified green weedy thing with three-foot roots snaking along under the mulch.

I‘m embarrassed that I’m behind with my mulch weeding, way behind, half-way to my knees behind.  Three hours yesterday and three more today made a slight dent in the weeding, even though I pulled out four very large bags of nasty stuff.  It will take that much time again to wrestle out the rest of the lurking unwanted.
What am I getting at here?  Just this: In our efforts to reduce lawn mowing and save work we have managed to increase the hours of yard maintenance instead of decreasing them.

The lesson is to think more carefully about changes to the yard, ensuring that a brilliant idea doesn’t end up as a major gardening mistake.  Maybe next year we’ll replant the grass…or buy more mulch...

One surprise and delight was finding a tiny bright toadflax or butter-and-eggs herb in all this messiness! Yes, I removed it too, I know it's a noxious weed.

As usual, any words in red will take you to another website with additional information,
 if you click on them.

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