Sunday, May 6, 2012

CSI: MyFrontYard

I'd been looking at the situation all wrong.  I'd reviewed the evidence and I just couldn't figure out how she had done it.  Had she booby-trapped the place before she left?  Was that niceness all a facade to get me to believe and trust her?  Did she come by after she sold out and do some guerilla gardening - stuffed vinca major into every possible space?  Just how had she pulled it off?  Things were not as they seemed, especially with the vinca.

I'd spent hours tirelessly pruning away at the vinca that seemed to appear out of nowhere this spring.  I didn't remember noticing it last spring when I was visiting the house - both pre-sale and after purchase.  Somehow, this kudzu-like plant had just appeared this spring, ready to cover up anything in it's path.  I cannot even count how many bags of the clippings I've set out at the curb.  All I know is that I purchased a Costco-sized bale of lawn refuse bags at, well, Costco, and I think I have two left.  The vast majority were full of vinca major.

So yesterday, while sitting out in the yard with pruners, going over every memory I had and every picture I'd taken, it suddenly hit me.  She wasn't pruning this stuff, she'd been ripping it out by the roots!  Or at least by the encroaching runners!  That's why I hadn't seen it - she kept it limited to just a certain area by yanking the crap completely "out" and of course, it can't be completely eradicated, but is slowed by extreme heat - so it was not an issue at all for me last year.  So I chucked my pruners and took after that stuff with nothing but brute force and gloves.  Extremely satisfying.

I also had had enough of the "drying poppies" on the stem, so I harvested a gallon jug of seed pods and yanked up all the dead and dying in the front yard.  I'm leaving them in the backyard for now, just in case I was a little premature - although I don't think that I am.  I believe this year everything is about a month ahead  of schedule, due to such a mild winter and I remember there being poppies in bloom in early April last year when I saw the place for the first time and by my walk-through on May 15, I remember seeing a glass jar full of seed pods sitting on a side table.  Plus, I know that PriorOwner gave several neighbors poppy seeds before leaving town.  So I really think I'm okay - even though most of the online gardening forums say wait until fall to cast the seeds about.

I put down some mulch in the front yard and transplanted/thinned a bunch of blue spruce stonecrops (sedum reflexum) down to the bottom of the "hill" in the front yard.  I'm actually surprised that the prior owner didn't do that, as there is an over-abundance of the stuff and it would look good trailing a bit over the rock edging - plus it would hold the soil in and keep it from draining down unto the sidewalk.  I also made some of my first plant purchases  - I bought a dozen dwarf Mexican petunias (ruellia brittoniana) and a couple of silvermound artemisia to set out.  This was, of course, before I read how easy the petunias are to propagate.

Spent some more time pruning shrubs and, again, realized I haven't done it nearly as aggressively as I will need to early next spring.  I'll know better next time.  A good hard pruning in the spring will make things a lot easier to maintain in the summer -  much like it was last summer - just a few easy trips in the morning with the pruners in one hand and coffee in the other.

At the end of the day (it was 93 degrees here), I drug out the hoses and sprinklers and gave the front yard a really good drink.  I don't know if a good water will fix what ails it, but I thought I'd try that.  I still think that I need to hit it with some kind of fertilizer.  I'm leaning towards a foliar feeding of fish emulsion, but lordy, that stuff does stink to high heaven.  I don't know that my city neighbors would appreciate that - but it's a good thing.  Another option is to pop down to Reata south, visit the horse's stall and load up on some supplies for some manure tea.  That may be next week's project.

So ends today's segment of "Gardening with Roxie".

I couldn't find any takers for today's planned ride - the usual suspects all have other plans - so I think I'll just head out alone - back out to the lake.  It's a nice 20 plus miles and it's usually busy enough that if I get into difficulty, it won't be days before they find the body.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Weigh the evidence.



  1. Hope you have a good ride this morning! And reading all your troubles with the vinca - we used that as groundcover in our house in California - it DID spread like crazy and worked well for the purpose, but I can't imagine trying to contain it if you didn't really WANT it...whew!

  2. I have vincas in my pots on my front patio. I love them, but then again they are contained to my pots :)

    20 miles is a great ride. Good for you!! I will be thinking of you, stay cool, Baby :)

  3. I could talk about the ride or the garden but for me, today, it is your voice.
    I adore your writing.

  4. Must look up this vinca as I have no idea what it is. I do like the mental picture of you with your pruners and coffee though. That seems peaceful to me.

  5. I love Gardening with Roxie! ;0) Go with the Horse manure... it's the best for fertilizer. That's what we use.


We'll try this for a while.