Friday, April 29, 2011

Bittersweet: The bane of my life

Not to be melodramatic, but it has taken up an inordinate amount of my energy lately. 
When we moved into the house, the street front was bordered by a low, wide and kinda scraggly hedge. To build our fence we reduced the width of the hedge, but I wasn't ready to totally scrap it - even though a neighbor offered to bring his brushhog in and do the job. (Boy, do I regret turning down that offer.) 

After watching the "hedge" grow last summer and realizing that it was primarily a horrible, aggressive vine called bittersweet that had been pruned into a semblance of a hedge, I decided to rip it out and overhaul our street front beds.  To that end, a few months ago I attacked the remaining bittersweet "hedge." I yanked, tug and dug vines for 2 days, plus some.  There's nothing like pulling out long, tangled roots for a sense of accomplishment. 
Here are the vines:
(Somehow, the picture doesn't do them justice.) 
I don't have a picture of the pitted dirt that was left there when I stepped away from the project, but Better Homes and Gardens would not have been proud. Nonetheless, I let the wasteland sit until yesterday. Then, with the weather suddenly warming, I leapt into action. 

I plan to to replace the hedge with the wide bed of hostas and mums that were previously in front of the it. The first step was to get the ground ready for transplanting. 

A co-worker loaned me her "Mantis" rototiller and yesterday I started out. Running the Mantis was like walking a little energetic dog; bouncing and sputtering about to my great amusement. Unfortunately, it easily got clogged/tangled/choked by the multitude of roots still left in the ground and I probably could have used a bigger model. The whole process wasn't pretty. 

But by this afternoon, here are the fruits of my labor

And here is the bed, ready for the hostas, etc to be moved back 10 feet into it.
Isn't that nice? 

It would be even nicer to have hired someone to do this for me, but there are 2 reasons I didn't. First off, I'm a near pathological DIYer. Secondly (and more importantly) we need a new sewer system and that is going to take all the landscaping money. Yes, that is correct: New. Sewer. System. 
Aah, homeowner bliss. As I write, we are not supposed to be putting anything down any drain in our house because it could easily "bubble up" (our plumber's words) in our back yard. 
When is this new system coming? We don't know. All we know is that it is Friday night, the weekend is here and we can't flush our toilets, take showers, wash clothes or run the dishwasher. Thank goodness Murray's parents live only a mile away. 

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