Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Great Yard Destruction

Last week (or was it the week before?) I decided that my back yard needed an overhaul.  I don't know where I got the gumption to tackle the back yard - maybe it was the cooler weather or something, but I finally got to it.

Unfortunately, I only have this one lousy before picture for you. I really need to remember to take pictures BEFORE I decided to overhaul something!

The only thing that you can really see here that I removed are the Pyracantha sticking up. Well, right there were three Pyracantha planted behind 2 carpet roses - making it next to impossible to get in behind the roses and trim them properly.

Also near there I identified three vines as Japanese Honeysuckle. It smells divine when it's in bloom, but it grows outrageously fast, reaches out and chokes the life out of anything near it, and it spreads via underground runners - so it pops up in places you didn't even plant it. It is an evil invasive vine and I hate it. I decided to dig it out.  Here are a few pictures of the detritus left over from the back yard battle.I tore all of this out of my yard inside of 1 week!


8 Pyracantha - 2 smallish and 6 medium sized pyracantha got yanked, 3 of which were infested with wooly aphids! They are terribly thorny, bear reddish berries that are a pain in the butt to clean up, and the birds don't even eat them. I've seen several mature pyracantha on campus and they are lovely, but these were all planted in the wrong places and looked sickly. The picture to the right shows where the 3 infested pyracantha used to live.

I plan to amend the soil here and turn the area into a flower bed for perennials. The area gets some morning sun and dappled sun throughout the afternoon. There are already some hydrangeas there - they don't looks so hot either though. I'm not entirely sure what I'll plant just yet, but I'm leaning towards a Virgina Sweetspire back towards the house.

Another 3 pyracantha used to live behind the roses in the picture to the left - one for each trellis. The roses, by the way, are carpet roses. They are supposed to grow 24"-32" tall. In the picture below, some of the stems are over 5' long! Needless to say, they will be cut back severely in January.

 The only problem here now is that the pyracantha did provide some privacy from the street. I might need to find something less bulky to go behind the roses to do that job now.

1 large Pyracantha - It's in the picture to the right in front of the air conditioning unit. You can't even tell what it is in this picture.  It had been cut back several times and was also infested with wooly aphids. I don't think I could have salvaged it even if I had wanted to.

I need to find something to plant in its place to cover up the AC unit since you can see it from the street now.  This spot gets great morning light and afternoon shade, so I'm thinking I might try a clematis here - one with dark purple blooms.

6 Japanese Honeysuckles - 3 large, 3 small - The three that came out of that huge hole in the ground you see to the left had sent runners 12-20 feet into my yard and all along the patio! I HATE this vile vine almost as much as I hate Smilax!

I'm thinking another perennial bed will go here. So many of the perennials that grow well here need full sun though and this spot gets little morning light, some heavy but brief afternoon sun, and dappled sun the rest of the afternoon. Planting suggestions for this spot are welcome.

I've recently installed a bed of Hostas to the left of the picture above, but I haven't taken photos yet. I'll do that soon though.

My awesome new roommate, Saalem, had a soil test run at the Clemson Extension office.  The soil is rather acidic, so I need to add some lime before I plant.  It's also very low in phosphorous and potassium.  If I had a compost pile I'd amend the soil with that, but I don't - at least not yet. In lieu of that, I'm going to add a combination of lime, composted manure, mushroom compost, and traditional fertilizer before I plant anything new.

The plan now is to buy some garden edging and define the bed space.  I'd use landscape timbers, but I like the idea of curvy beds. Once that is done, I'll amend the soil and get the beds ready for a spring planting!

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