I stared at the "hedge" yesterday morning and suddenly decided I just couldn't live with it another day.
It started out a decade or so ago as one red twigged dogwood shrub. It really did have bright red stems in the Winter. I liked it so much that I bought a dozen more (from a cheap catalog source). Bad decision. Yes, none of them ever had red stems in Winter. I cut them down twice, but they wouldn't die. And I couldn't cut them down low enough with loppers to mow over, so they grew back. In fact, I eventually got used to the ugly things and mowed around them. Naturally, "other stuff" started growing up alongside them and soon it was the ugly thicket shown above...
So it HAD to go. NOW! I plugged in my electric chain saw (no more attempts with the pruners) and hacked into everything at ground level. I got this far before the chain saw wasn't cutting through anything anymore.
After that, I used a hedge trimmer to take out the soft stuff, and an axe to chop out stumps and junk saplings. The hedge trimmer is a rechargeble electric type (I hate noisey gas-power tools and can never keep those 2-stroke tools working anyway). Then I couldn't find the recharger transformer... Argh.
OK, pruners for the vines and the ax for the shrub roots and saplings... I finally got to the top where the one good original red-twigged dogwood is (still surviving, amazingly). It took some real work to get the junk out from around it without damaging it!
And least I had some company! I seem to have made a new friend.
He (I think - well it didn't seem appropriate to investigate too much) seems to live across the street as a daytime outdoors cat. I had never seem him (?) before, but his predecessor was also friendly and would come over for scritches whenever I worked outside in the front yard. He sat in the shade of a bush watching me work and whenever I sat down for a minute, he was right there rubbing and curling up at my feet. Apparently, I am very cat-attractive. He enjoyed investigating the garage thoroughly whenever I got too active with tools.
Well, I managed to fill the trailer with "hedge" debris.
I'll bring it to the brush recycling center Saturday so that I can have the trailer filled with free mulch. The new front landscaping box needs a couple of inches worth and I have places in the backyard perennial bed that are bare ground and want to grow weeds.
I could take tip cuttings from the "good" red-twigged dogwood shrub, but I bought a primo plant of that type named "Arctic Fire" that is suppose to be even brighter red, So I will plant it next to the orginal dogwood and see which looks best. I'll take tip cuttings from the winner next Summer. I LIKE having the hedge along the driveway; I just want it to be something worth looking at and maintaining...
And if the tip cuttings work, I will eventually plant a row on the other side of the driveway.
BTW, the big shrub that appears in some of the pictures is a "burning bush" (Euonymus alata "Compactus"). Praying mantises love it (I sometimes get a couple on me while mowing around it) and it IS a spectacular crimson color in the Fall.
But I have to say that, between moving the upright bar yesterday and all the cutting work today, every muscle in my body hurts. Heck, my toes hurt! Just lifting a beer to my lips hurts (it's the triceps). But I'll manage. ;)