Like a deft enchanter, the warm April weather beguiled the whole neighborhood out into our yards this late afternoon and evening. If I was going to do anything on the house today, I'd planned to work on filling the cracks in my 2nd floor hall floor. But then I heard the sound of the neighbor childen (three or four houses' worth) playing on the front lawns (plural) and the voices of their parents watching over them, and I had to come out, too.
And noticed that my front lawn really needed mowed.
So I mowed it, reflecting that with an electric mower, I didn't have to worry about changing the oil or cleaning out the filters or anything like that, I just had to put in the battery and go. Of course, it would turn out to be the battery that holds only half a charge, since I forgot to plug the good one in after I ground up leaves with it the beginning of last week. But never mind. There was enough power to do the front and side yards, and that was enough. The back could wait till later, because this evening I was-- totally on the spur of the moment-- inspired to dig into the border on the west side of the house and clear out landscape rock so I maybe, maybe can plant my hollies.
The Blue Angel hollies, I got for half-price at Lowe's last fall. They overwintered in pots in the back yard, mulched in with leaves and the now-melted piles of snow. I am reliably informed they should be planted by the middle of April. I'd worried about that, since I'd expected to be on restricted activity by now, and how could I ask anyone else to go haul out rock for me?
So it was very satisfying to get out there this evening and do it myself.
I'm surprised I got as much done as I did before it got too dark. Pretty much everything on the near side of the air conditioner. And that's considering that I didn't want merely to clear out an area big enough for the planting hole. I intend to get all or most of the rock out of there eventually, and I may as well do it before I get the plantings in, especially ones as prickly as hollies.
There was even more rock to extract than a cursory glance might indicate, as I discovered awhile back. The west rock border extends farther out from the house than it appears to. A good foot or more of it is overgrown with grass, but the landscape fabric and six or seven inches of rock is under there, too, and needed to be removed. (I think I only have about 15" of actual grass between the border edge and the property line.) I wheeled four or five loads of rock out to the alley in my garden cart, and found myself musing on how nice it would be if some of the kids would offer to come help me. But no, that's too much to expect from a gaggle of three- to six-year-olds. The best they could manage was coming around to ask questions and accepting a present of three of the larger or more interesting stones.
I found that the roots of the late arborvitaes, though severed, are still very tenacious. Give them a tug and not only my turf, but the neighbors' as well, was ripping right up. Oops!
Once I get enough rock out for both bushes, I need to test the soil and figure out if it's the right pH for hollies. It should be all right, since there were evergreens in there before, but it won't hurt to check.
And it won't hurt to find out how big the planting hole needs to be.
And judging from how big the pile of landscape rock is getting in the alley, I guess it's time to put another ad on Craigslist and see if I can get rid of it, for love, or better still, for money!