Sunday, March 29, 2009

inch by inch

Someday I'd like to put the song lyrics to "The Garden Song" by David Mallet outdoors in my backyard.
 Inch by inch, row by row
Gonna make this garden grow
All it takes is a rake and a hoe
And a piece of fertile ground
We have a very steep backyard, sloping up from the house, meeting the property line and continuing up. It may be as steep as 45°. The landscape plan to terrace and add steps was $20,000 and is on permanent hold. Meanwhile, I'm willing to participate in the slow, long term slog toward progress back there. The whole area is smothered in English Ivy, a non-native, invasive plant here in Georgia. And in the summer it is swarming with mosquitoes (and let's be honest, summer in this instance = May to October).

A few years ago we went on a rampage against invasive privet. Last year we spent a long afternoon cutting underbrush to improve the air flow. It might have worked, some. I don't want to lose our sense of privacy from the neighboring homes, but we can do more this summer. The hardest part was lugging all the waste out to the curb.

I've decided to take the "inch by inch" bit of the song literally. Last weekend we ripped out the ivy from an area about 6'x8' and have bought two native yellow azaleas and some vinca ground cover. Since the rain has finally stopped and we can get outside again, we did another similar area today, slipping and sliding in the orange mud. Lots of compost was tossed into the area, but hopefully azaleas are used to the soil and will survive in Georgia clay.

We might get some stone or at least cement block to give the sloping areas some support. Ideally we'll have lots of small terraces someday and at least one set of steps to the top. We'll have to attack some of the flatter top of the yard too, ripping out more ivy. We can't get the whole yard at once, but we can get a bit each year and hope that we eventually get it all. This is the ten year plan: inch by inch, muddy shoe by muddy shoe.

unrelated fyi: Mr. Bird Brain is still continuing in his quest to attack the rival bird in the window. He is undeterred by my distractions. We're on Day 15 of Bird Bashing.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jill, that is an unacceptable amount of money to do the terracing. I would keep getting bids for the job of clearing, terracing and mulching. I should cost no more that a quarter of that amount, if that. Find a contractor who owns his own machinery, not a landscaper and it might help lower the cost. In the meantime, your inch by inch method is the only way to go. We finally dug out the last of the privet this year, after ten years at it. We planted arborvitae and leyland cypress to replace it for privacy and those are now large enough to completely block the neighbors. The reason for the switch is those conifers need no pruning, ever, as opposed to the privet which wants to rule the world! Good luck with your hillside. :-)