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Friday, June 12, 2009

Front Left Yard Project - 1

To the left of my front steps is an 8' x 12' area enclosed by the house, the steps, a sidewalk and the driveway. Years ago, I planted a thorny Japanese Barbery bush under the basement window for security and a couple of azaleas for color. I decided it was just too ugly.

Here is a picture of it last year.

I cut the barberry down last month. Some shoots started to grow back, so I sprayed them with Brush-B-Gon. I try to stay organic in general, but I don't mind using serious stuff in some limited situations. I use it for poison ivy that keeps crawling into my yard from the careless neighbors on all 3 sides, for example. It's not like I use the stuff where it gets into the water table...

I finally got the whole area cleared a couple of days ago. It was 4" deep in sweet gum balls and old dry barberry thorns and below that was the black plastic I had put down 20 years ago to prevent weeds from growing. The plastic was so old it came up in pieces only a few inches long at a time. And I kept stabbing myself on barberry thorns I hadn't raked out...

That was a dilemma! My leather gloves were too thick to grab the bits of black plastic. I finally found a pair of rubber gloves that were sensitive enough to pick out the black plastic, but thick enough to protect me from the thorns if I was careful about it.

My plan is to build an 8" high framed bed around the area and add topsoil and compost. I've going to cover the entire surface with newspaper and the roots of the barberry and azaleas with cardboard. Since they have been sprayed with Brush-B-Gon and will be covered by cardboard and 6" of soil, I don't expext to see them again. If they push through, I'll have to dig them out.

I'm going to plant caladiums there (it is on the north side of the house - deep shade).

I'll post pictures as this project progresses...

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