The Cool House: Tidying Up

Monday, June 19, 2006

Tidying Up

front border
Originally uploaded by modernemama.
I know it doesn't look like much but this bed represents hours of work. From the middle of the photo all the way to the centre of the left edge there used to be a berm - a man-made mound of silt and mud that our landscaper had collected each time it rained. It had washed down our street for years until the village put in a 6" berm on the roadside of our property in 2004.
The amount of stuff that had collected made a pile 15" deep, 12' long and over a foot deep. For the last two years I have been raking, digging and pushing this mound around, I have used the soil to plant new trees and shrubs but I didn't seem to make any impression on the pile. Meanwhile, the ivy and weeds threatened to take over that half of the dell while the other half was a desert.

I was determined to improve the look of the front of the house and I started by adding small, low shrubs to the rockery last fall. These are now a good size and lift the eye up past the wasteland, but obviously more was needed. I moved three big rhododendrons that had been doing nothing under the hemlocks and put the in the bed. Then I planted some hostas between these, but I'll need to plant some more when they have the half-price sale at the nursery.
Last weekend I spent five hours moving earth with a shovel and a rake and got the berm down to level along 4'. I cut down one unwieldy rhodo to about 15" and moved another that I think was once half of a huge bush. The next day I couldn't move. But everyday after that I spent an hour or two chopping at the remaining berm, hoeing and pulling weeds. This weekend Steve did the heavy weeding and removed all the ivy, and I replanted all the pretty vinca we came across.
The berm is gone, the soil that has been revealed is dark and looks nutrient rich, so all that remains is to plant it before it gets covered in weeds again.

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