This yard, where half of it is gravel beneath turf, and the other half is completely waterlogged, is very difficult to cultivate. When we bought the place, it was horribly overgrown. It has been a decade of hacking, digging, sweating, screaming, and crying to plant ANYTHING here. The good thing is that we are old pros now. We know what to expect and are armed with strong iron tools to fight back. Today’s project was no different. I’ve been wanting to do this for 12 years! Today was the day!
There’s a small asphalt walkway in the front of the house. It led to the neighbor’s parking lot (the two properties were once one large lot). We put up a nice fence between the two properties, mostly to keep out the scads of snowmobilers that roared across our yard in the winter. But the asphalt walkway remained, it just led to nowhere! Today, I had one of the kids bust it up and cart the pieces away. Hurray!
Then, we removed the tangled mass of weeds and groundcover. I’m planning on extending my Secret Garden area to this area around the tree.
Before and after:
The pipes are from our sump pumps. We have two pumps running day and night– there’s a LOT of water underground here. If we do not keep pumps going, our basement floods badly. The town has balked at helping us build a basin at the street side, so all we can do is pipe the water up from the basement sump well and into the nearest discharge basin (in the neighbor’s yard). Part of building a massive garden bed is to conceal the pipes under plants. I also want to make it so that we do not have to mow and weed-whap around the pipes all the time, an onerous job. I have plans on plunking down some choice monster-sized hostas here, because it’s so wet and shady. I’ll plant taller, water-loving shrubs in this area, too.
One such plant I have found PERFECT is Purple Loosestrife. It’s hated by many, because it is so invasive. But this plant and I are going to get along very, very well. It SLURPS up water like there’s no end. The plant is hated because it roots otself in waterways, like creeks and streams, and clogs them. For my water-weary yard, this plant is a God-send. I have two plants thriving right now. It’s taken them two years to really get established. I’m looking forward to placing it in my watery areas.
And it looks gorgeous next to my purple Butterfly Bush, doesn’t it?
So the saga continues…. next time we have another sunny day, we’ll develop this area more. I cant wait to get plants into this area!