Three weeks ago I hauled out my shovel and my grubs and got to work digging up the grass. Not all the grass, but a small swath surrounding the curb garden and the Chinese Pistache. Baby steps.
The plan is to replace it with drought-tolerant ground cover or small paving stones. Removing the grass is also better for the tree. Most trees need very little water once established. Ours is no exception.
This is my attempt to reduce the ‘footprint’ of the lawn in our parched corner of the world. We re-landscaped our front yard about three years ago, in part to install a ramp. My sister, who struggles with MS, could barely make it over the threshold of our home. We removed the original lawn, put in a deck and the ramp, then rounded things out with shrubs…and more grass. Although the square footage is less, I still find myself feeling a bit guilty offering a drink to a thirsty lawn during a drought.
Any way, back to the shovel and grubs. I worked for an hour and this is all I have to show for it.
It was much harder than I thought it would be. I don’t have the tools (nor the spine) to complete it. I feel a bit defeated by it all, as this was my idea, and I really want to see it through. I’m having to face the challenges of aging joints, old injuries and the reality that I’m not in my twenties any more…or thirties…and so on.
Plan B is to hire some help. I have three projects that need more strength then I can muster:
- removing a thick, dead vine,
- replacing what’s left of the lavender, and
- getting rid of the swath of grass.
One of our beloved Hardenbergia died last year. It used to cover the entire fence in the spring and summer with stunning purple blooms. I pruned it back each year, and it returned bigger and brighter than ever…and then it didn’t. I waited an entire year, because I hate giving up on plants. Not the tiniest sign of life. It needs to go.
The lavender is dwindling, too, for reasons unknown. We started with five plants lining the deck. Four thrived, one struggled and finally died. Last fall, a second one died and then the frost hit. They’re all looking pretty sad. I figured it was a good time to take them out and replace them with drought-tolerant Salvia (Mexican Bush Sage). Saliva is also a beautiful purple, and it attracts hummingbirds and bees. Once established, it doesn’t need any water! You can’t beat that.
Those are my big projects for the season, and I can’t do any of them myself. I’m struggling with that, but at the same time need to face this reality and get on with it. My sister helps me keep it all in perspective.
Aging is not for the faint of heart.
That’s my sister.
I like that ‘Aging is not for the faint of heart’ I feel there must be a painting for that quote somewhere 🙂 I am sure there is no shame in getting someone younger and stronger in to help with the tasks that are too much for our failing bodies [ 🙂 ] And of course from a purely philanthropic point of view you are assisting a young someone who is probably starting out in their own horticultural career and maybe even their own business ……. Oh what a wonderful thing to do 🙂
I also love how you survey your plants and think about what will suit your area and climate and the bird and insect life – it’s always trial and error isn’t it!
I was wondering about that dirt patch when you hi-lighted the curb garden yesterday. It can be back breaking doing those landscape jobs, especially if your back is tender to begin with. I was in much better shape over the summer months when we had a yard. It’s the pits when something dies off, but the Mexican sage sounds perfect. We had a Buckthorn tree planted in a bed out front. Buddy loved the shade. A porcupine climbed into it one winter and ate a bunch of bark & broke a fair size branch right off. Must have been a fatty, LOL. It never recovered and died a slow death. Thinking I was super woman or something, I borrowed a reciprocating saw & I hacked and chopped for two days. I wish I had been smart like you and hired someone. That’s when I began to feel the lake house was too much.
I love when Sharon looks at the camera and you both say, “weeeeeeee” in sync. You girls are so darn cute. It’s a fantastic landscape plan, I love that it’s built with Sharon in mind and suits your home so well too. That was a really great team you hired and a what a good investment. Can’t wait to see what happens next ! xoK
Why not try killing the grass covering it up – it will take longer but is much less work.
That never occurred to me. You’re brilliant!!!!
Thank you! It worked for me – I still had to dig out dandelion roots but it certainly was a much less onerous task.
Oh yes, the dreaded dandelions are up and all over the place, too.
If I lived near you, I would definitely be over your house helping you out! I am getting older too and I am finding out that I can’t do what I used to be able to do years ago, but I still keep trying. I sleep well at night after working out in the yard all day, but that is probably from pure exhaustion. LOL I am thinking of planting some Russian Sage or Lavender in the yard this year.
They both sound wonderful. And how dear of you to offer to help.
Are you finally seeing signs of spring?
Signs of Springs? Are you kidding me? Did you see my post yesterday? I would love to spend the day out in the yard with you!
I’m heading over there now. I know we are quite spoiled living in California. I was born in London, Canada, so I so remember the brutal winters. I hope this long, long winter ends for you soon.
I wish you could stop by. That would be great fun.
Digging the grass in that area is going to be a tough job. I’m with you. Farm it out to someone with a stronger back and arms. “Aging is not for the faint of Heart” is an understatement. I carried boxes down the stairs this morning and my knees are very unhappy with me. More to do though. Would love to find someone I could pay to do it for me. Lavender is a bit fragile to keep growing. but I do love it so. Have some here in a pot. I wish you all the best in getting your jobs done. Your sister appears to have a great attitude and lovely transportation.
Marlene, thanks for this lovely comment.
I’ve asked Nick (the builder of my Little Free Library) if he can do it. Now I need to get him a list.
Sorry to hear about your knees. For me it’s my hip joints that suffer wit a lot of stairs. Sigh.
My sister loves her purple scooter, though wishes it wasn’t a full time requirement. As her MS advanced (and after a bad fall and a broken hip) it became too hard to walk. She does it small ways with the aid of a walker, but we all worry about another fall (she’s had at least three, though only one requiring hospitalization. She’s only 53.
Wasn’t that the Rocky theme??
Love it! Your sister (from what I could see) is beautiful!
good luck with that drought resistant landscape … I sure wish more of us would use your example!
Thank you, Laurie!
My sister is lovely. She’s younger than me by just 13 months. She lived in San Diego and later Iowa, but relocated back here when her disability advanced after a fall and a broken hip.
Now she lives just one mile away so we see each other at least once a week.
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