Friday, July 30, 2004

Tree trimming & such garden stuff

Husband and I neatened up our front yard tonight as the sun set and dusk crept down the streets. We have two multi-trunk river birches in our front yard, but the lower branches were kind of a bother. The kids sometimes ducked between the lowest branches (most of them nearly touched the grass) and into a sort of green semi-hideaway near the trunks. But that also meant dear husband has had a terrible time negotiating those same branches to mow, and I couldn't see what the kids were doing down the sidewalk from anywhere near the house. Hmm.

Tonight's tree trimming actually started with me pulling some baby weeds from the flower bed while dear husband did something play-like with Son1 and Son2. Then I got my pruners and cut out all of the big and little suckers from the I-forget-what bush at the corner of the house. It's tall and yearns to be a huge bush, but some previous owner cut off a lot of 3-inch-diameter limbs so it doesn't have a lovely shape at all. I pruned and trimmed it last year so it does its variegated-greenery thing at the height of my head and doesn't look too bad. I hope to plant a rose bush or some other thing to climb through it and soften the hack job that can't be undone. Cutting out the suckers tonight really opened up the bush. Much better!

That led to asking dear husband if he'd be willing to lop off branches of the river birches now, per our many discussions. Oh yes, indeed, he would. Off he went to change from work gear to ... different work gear.

He and I chose what branches to trim or lop off, branch by branch. End result: we stopped before doing TOO much, and our trees now look pretty good. We realized they'd looked like overgrown bushes before! I'll post a picture tomorrow if I remember.

A previous owner laid out landscape lights, including an uplight at each tree, and tonight they really look nice. The cinnamon-colored peeling bark is my favorite thing about these trees! This autumn I really want to follow through on my plan to create a kidney-shaped island bed under these two sets of trees. That'll remove the mowing bother and visually anchor the tree groupings. I'll be able to plant spring bulbs to come up through the mulch while I keep my eyes open for great, cheap or free understory, groundcover, and grassland plants to tuck under the trees.

Back to now: I have a bunch more scavenging of the lopped-off branches to do tomorrow. I'm stripping all of the side twigs and leaves off all of the long branches to use in the back yard. My cosmos in one bed are leaning forward over the phlox, so I plan to attempt a wattle-type fence to hold the cosmos back.

Dear husband is happy, I am happy, and our kids and those next door love our tree trimming, too, 'cause we removed one branch that overhung the sidewalk. They no longer have to duck to zoom past on their bikes. The walkers in our neighborhood will probably be pretty happy, too. Also, I can see down the sidewalk better when I'm in my favorite chair at the front walkway/driveway intersection. A plus for mom supervision.

I even conferred with my neighbor about the weedy vine and sapling that are overtaking our joint corner of our back yards. We agreed to attack it separately as best we could. I don't know what it is, but I firmly believe it's a weed and no friend. Outta here!

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