Cleanup: the end of the front yard, and more

There is just a little more cleanup left in the front yard, then just a bit more in the back, and I'll be done with the Spring cleaning! Yes! So today, it's basic raking of leaves and trimming of grasses.


These three photos are the "before" shots, and each photo is to the right of the previous one.

I have to admit that these beds are not doing as well as I envisioned when I planted them.

The main problem is the large maple tree that dominates the area. Its roots suck up all of the moisture and nutrients, leaving very little for the other plants. I'll have to keep on them with the fertilizer this year and see if I can wake them up a bit.

Nothing fancy here, just raking and clipping, and all finished:

Doesn't look like much right now, but there are some interesting plants here under the tree:

That's my only surviving oak leaf hydrangea. The deer nibble it every once in a while, but it's doing fine here. There are a couple of different heucheras there too:

Some Japanese painted ferns:

And some hostas ('Sum and Substance') that are struggling.

There are a lot of tree seedlings around... I think they're Ash. You can see them in the hostas above. I don't want to think about them right now though. I definitely need to refresh the mulch here. Plus, there's this issue:

which is a little brick walkway that the moles keep burrowing under and covering with soil. You can barely see any of the bricks right now. I'll have to deal with that later this Spring. Not today, though. Not today.

Since that's the end of the front yard cleanup, I'm going to jump ahead one day and continue with the side of the house... It seems like it's going to start raining any minute, so very little time today. This is the South side of the house and it gets really hot over here during the summer, especially for the plants next to the house.

The lavenders (in the small boxes) seems to really like the heat though. The native grasses (little bluestem and prairie dropseed) are doing pretty well too. There's a Rosemary that barely survived the Winter and might need to be removed, but everything else is doing OK. Besides the heat, the Maple roots extend over here too, so the soil gets dry and is nutrient-starved just like the front yard. It's also downhill and water really runs down it when it rains.

Not too much difference after cleaning it up. The nearly-dead Rosemary is on the right edge of the photo. You can also see some silvery Lamb's Ears in the back, and the oregano and rose that I trimmed earlier.

This is one of the first planting boxes I made:

It contains a sage, some thyme, liatris spicata ("gayfeather"), various Rudbeckias, some salvias -- a little bit of everything. There is also a Poppy Mallow (callirhoe involucrata) that is just beautiful when in bloom and has reseeded I've noticed.

There are some violets in there too I see. The mallow gets pretty large, so we'll see if there's really room for more than one of them in this bed. I don't know if I can put them in the ground though, since rabbits seem to love them. That's one thing I've found about most native plants: the native critters love to eat the native plants. Ah well. Plant enough and they can't eat it all, right?

Here's what the gayfeathers look like right now:

Can you tell that they're starting to green up below all of the old stems? They're really beautiful when in bloom. If you ever take the trip along I-55 between St. Louis and Chicago in June, there is one stretch of the highway where they've planted liatris in large patches. Really impressive!

This is the sage that needs to be cut way back:

Here's the cleaned-up bed, except for the sage. I think I just felt a raindrop though, so have to hurry...

I got the sage cut, but didn't have time to snap a photo before the rain started.

It's coming down pretty hard right now. I like sitting in the garage and watching the rain. It's even better later in the summer when a good thunderstorm moves in.

You know what plant likes a good hard, soaking rain this time of year? Well, everything really, but bamboo in particular:

The shoots really start growing after a good rain. Yahoo!

How long did it take?  1:00 (both days combined)
Total time spent on clean-up so far this year: 19:00 (19 hours)

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