Friday, May 10, 2013

Ivy League Landscaping

We've had some really great weather in the last couple of weeks, so it was the perfect opportunity to spend some time outdoors and do a little landscaping. On the driveway side of our home, we had a monster rhododendron bush that turned out to actually be a trio of bushes that were growing together (and out of control) so they were first on my list to undergo the knife. It was incredible how much dead growth there was under the canopy of branches, so it took me a few days of cutting, pulling, and trimming. I wish it were just as easy as clipping a few branches, but the undergrowth of ivy had managed to wrap itself around all three bushes. There was also some other kind of unidentified vine that had, too, wrapped it's way around all three bushes, and had started to grow over the top of them. I have no idea how long it has been there, but from the size of the trunk on the vine, it had been there for many years.

Behold, a before and after:

On the day we had our home inspection.

What an amazing difference, huh? Here's a view from the front side. The before pictures are from when we had our home inspection (because the bad blogger in me forgot to take before shots before tackling the bush). Sorry that they aren't the best angles, but they still show you how drab the landscaping really is was.

So... where you see the brown dead-looking patch above is where there used to be two giant mounds of ivy growing. When we first walked through the house, and saw the ivy I thought to myself, "Oh! How charming!" The charm definitely wore off after we moved in and I realized what a pain in the butt ivy really is. Yes, it's beautiful ground cover and super easy to maintain. Kind of. It grows incredibly fast, so i was having to trim it quite often to keep it from overgrowing onto the porch. The nightmare under the rhododendron bushes was another nail in the coffin, and the bees and wasps that were seeking sanctuary sealed the deal. My husband is deathly allergic, and if I didn't want to reenact the scene from My Girl, the ivy had to go. As you can see, I am taking it out in phases, because it is horrible, back-breaking work. I took out the top layer with the mower, and the thick, viny root base has to be pulled up individually.

As you can see, I am far from finished. I've managed to de-root most of the area where the rhododendron's are planted, but I have yet to finish pulling up the roots and vines along both sides of the walkway. And of course I'll be laying down landscaping fabric, edging, and mulch to keep the ivy from returning.

The azaleas are blooming beautifully in the front of the house, but unfortunately they, too, are being choked out by the ivy. Eventually I'll muster up the strength to tackle the front and left side of the house. Maybe in the fall. Next year (I'm kidding. Maybe.)

Anyone else getting out in their yard and gardens and getting things cleaned up for the summer? I can't wait to get started on a vegetable garden, but I might not be able to get to it this year. One thing at a time, right?

Any suggestions for what kind of plants to use for brightening up our walkway? I'm so tempted to do some sort of edible landscaping. We also have a beautiful rose bush that was on the verge of death by ivy, but it may need to be transplanted because it looks like it will grow HUGE. More on that later.

No comments:

Post a Comment