What's going on in our back yard this year? Well... lots! Sept. 2013
When we bought our house in Nevada City a little over a year ago in June 2012, we thought the surrounding yard was beautiful. All we could see were majestic tall trees -- Douglas firs, Incense cedars, a monster Ponderosa pine, one or two giant Black Oaks, plus a dozen or so native Dogwood trees. In fact, I can still get a stiff neck looking up in awe at those gorgeous trees. Much of the ground was covered at least a foot deep in green stuff, which we later found out were the three worst pests in this foothill area: St Johns Wort, Vinca (Periwinkle), and Ivy. Also in all that greenery, throw in the occasional tangled wild blackberry vine, guaranteed to draw blood on the unwary arm or ankle, and you have a real mess. In effect, the backyard was unusable.
We knew we'd change that, knew we'd get to it in good time. First we wanted to tackle the area that we affectionately call our "RV Park," and widen the driveway, all of which happened last year. Then winter set in, which let us off the hook for several months. In April of this year, we hired a local man recommended to us named Carlos. What a boon he turned out to be!
These three pics were taken in April 2013, a week before we hired Carlos. Here's Jimmy in a backyard swimming in invasive ground covers. Click on any collage to enlarge.
Carlos and two helpers, working and clearing. He filled a LARGE trailer to overflowing with these "pretty" pests. Even uncovered a log (foreground) buried beneath the overgrowth. Hard work, for sure.
Jimmy and I knew that if we wanted to plant anything and KEEP it, we'd have to fence in the back. (And I have my heart set on a garden.) Deer had made an actual path thru the St Johns Wort and Vinca to the property behind ours. We liked Carlos' work and hired him to put in the fence -- all agreed it would have to be a six-footer, with a stout wire at the 7' level. In May, Carlos and his helpers returned and set to work. We wanted a wide double-gate on the west side of the house, and a single on the east side (not shown).
Except for the patch of Vinca (lower right), the backyard is cleared and a nice 7-foot fence is in place. From her front window across the street, Fran has seen deer stand in front of our fence, looking in vain for their cut-through! That does not hurt my feelings. Let 'em eat plants in the front yard (they do!). Carlos returned sometime later and removed that hog-leg-log laying on its side, no easy task. He evened out the stump top so we could put a piece of art or a planter on it. Carlos and his workers did their best to yank out roots, but now that Jimmy and I could get to 'em, the rest was up to us... and if you've ever tried to be rid of invasives, you KNOW that's a challenge!
Tomorrow: Making the gardens.