Spring Cleaning, Part One

by brandt

Spring is a time of renewing.  Of refreshing.  Of rebirth.

It’s also a time when you get to see what havoc Mother Nature wreaked on your lawn during the cold dead of winter.  And when you purchase a house that has been unoccupied for about a year previous to when you inhabit it, you get to see Mother Nature in her full, unadulterated glory.

First, let me set the scene.  The location?  The Malone Compound, Michigan, USA.  The date?  May 21st.  The weather?  Nice, hot, sunny, humid – probably about 80 degrees with nary a cloud in the sky.  The mission?  Well, I referred to it as “Operation: Reclaim House from Mother Nature.”

Here’s the nitty gritty.

First, we knew when we bought the house that there needed to be some hardcore TLC in the landscaping.  Both Ashley and I come from loud-and-proud green thumb families, and we wanted to carry on that tradition with our little family.  As the snow was melting and the plants started budding, we began to notice that there was some cleaning up that needed to be done.  Since we’re focusing on the exterior of the house (while the weather’s still good), the front yard was our point of attack.

The goal was to clear out that side of the house, just a small portion next to the garage for this afternoon we were working, and see if it made a difference to how it looked, as well as to give us a feeling of what we wanted to do with it.  And boy, did we have our work cut out for us.

Those are the wonderful vine-type plants that like to intersect and interweave everywhere.  After Ashley got in and started clearing those out, we began to find the little treasures.

First was this little bugger.  Upon first seeing it, I’m not going to lie, I thought it was a decomposing mouse with a really bad case of rigor mortis.  In a sense, this was almost as creepy.

We then found something to bring out my “softer side”

I think those are two bunnies forming a heart.  I couldn’t tell with all the moss growing on it.

As we got all the loose plants out of there, we started realizing the work in front of us.  To quote one of the Orcs from “Lord of the Rings,” “Their roots grow deep, my Lord” (Yes, someone spent all weekend rewatching them – NERD ALERT!!!!).  Just how deep did they go?

Even after putting all my weight into it (trying to remember proper lifting form, so I didn’t blow out my back), they were still a bit deep.  Thankfully, pitchforks and axes are great for this kind of stuff.     We used those to break away some of the really deep and knotty roots, pulled the main plant out, then got our fingers dirty digging around for the remaining roots.

All that being said, I must admit, we were both quite happy with the “resetting” of the landscaping.  After whipping out the power-washer to give a brief deep-cleaning to the pavers and reset the soil to where it was supposed to be, we started seeing the light.

Then the excitement started.  We cleaned up the soil that had been tossed up on the bricks on the house as well as getting it a bit more cleaned up.  After we had cleaned everything, we started scheming.

Here’s where we could use the collective hive-mind of you all,  the readers.  See, the left side of our garage (the side you can see here) has a light above it.  Previously, there was a HUGE overgrown shrub/tree thing that was so overgrown, it was blocking the light.  We’ve also got some pretty bold shrubs on the left side of the porch (where I’m standing) and behind where Ashley is taking the picture (she was right up against it).  Because of that, putting MORE shrubs here seems like it’s overkill.  We’re thinking of planting some nice flowers to go along this side, adding some color to the bland red of the brick.  Thoughts?  Should we go back to shrubbery?  Leave it as-is?

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8 Comments to “Spring Cleaning, Part One”

  1. Welcome back! I’d been keeping my fingers crossed you weren’t anywhere Tornado central …

    I’d suggest a topiaried juniper or boxwood (you know, cork-screw shaped, etc) with some flowering groundcovers perhaps? Otherwise it’ll just take over this fairly small corner and inhibit visibility :o)

    • 🙂 Thanks. Yeah, the tornadoes were down south. Usually, we’ll get one decent scare here in Michigan, but I haven’t been around any decent tornado weather in a long time. Tornadoes would be a cool excuse. Laziness, however, isn’t that cool. 😉

      That’s the biggest problem we’ll have with that corner – we want to to be there, but not overgrown with stuff, but not under-utilized, but not overbearing. A tough balance.

  2. Hm we just went through the flower vs. shrub debate on Saturday too! What about a little flowering plant? Mike and I are on a day lilly kick because they bloom for most of the season and fill out nice and grassy, though not tall.

  3. look at you all domestic!

    and yes, i think flowers to soften it up!

  4. My vote is flowers not more shrubs. I can see roses there quite nicely.

  5. My vote is…. that I don’t know anything about plants because I kill everything 😦 but what Rebecca said sounds nice!

  6. LOLZ. I love, love, love your creepy lawn finds. Why not fill it with mulch or gravel and leave as-is? less to take care of.

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