Yesterday, in the moderating weather, we mulched with the shredded pine bark. That is my favorite type of mulch because I like the way it smells, and it is a pleasant sort of brown. Usually I would buy cypress, for its insect repelling properties, but I don’t really like its color or texture. One year I had a horrible experience with what was supposed to be shredded hardwood mulch. I don’t want to talk about it. Yes, that bad.
This year, I noticed some poison ivy taking hold. We have much more of that because my gardening has changed the landscape. From a weed barrens to a leafy mixed environment, there are many birds and lots of leaf litter… That eventually translates to poison ivy plants cropping up in numerous places. I am immune and passed that on to one daughter, who helps me rid the place of said ivy. My husband passed on the tendency to get a full-blown case of itchy rash that is frightening to behold ( I can’t imagine what it must feel like!). Right now we remove the plants by hand, but if they get too entrenched I think I will apply something like roundup to them individually. We’ll see. Poison ivy likes mulched places so it has to be removed by the root before the mulch goes on. My daughter did a great job clearing out under the fir tree; it, along with the other tree areas that were cleared of encroaching grass and weeds were mulched. It gives a trimmed up furbish to the planted areas, all nice and deep brown in geometrical contrast with the surrounding grass and garden.
Even though immune to poison ivy all my life, I take no chances with the residual oils on a hot day, especially. A simple washing with soap and water after dealing with poison ivy usually is all that is necessary.
Speaking of weed barrens… I have to pay for going on the trip to Brazil at the beginning of the garden season. No one was going to weed out the Canadian thistles, et al, and it became way too hot ( besides having company) after I returned. So guess what? Yes, horrors, they have all gone to seed now, and even though I will work at weeding and bringing the garden back under control there is a bumper crop of weed seed to deal with now. There are also terrorist ants… But that is another story. I’m going to use the claw that is on a long handle to try to avoid those ants as I reclaim my garden.
Oh yes, one last thing. Having a teenage boy help is sometimes wonderful because they do so much with all that pent up energy, but sometimes works against you. I have some places weeded out through no effort of my own, thanks to that son, but had a prize clematis mowed down -I really hope it somehow recovers- and a once healthy stock of heuchera – which I dearly loved notice the use of past tense, rooted out and dried to oblivion in the sun. Plus boys of that age grumble like the dickens.
little side note: my husband had the genius idea of rigging a drainpipe from the gutter to the pool to catch water runoff from the roof. Really, it was a brilliant idea…but he told me the downside. The black beetles, remember I talked about those? Well, they die on the roof and slid into the gutter… and yes, you guessed, the rain washed hundreds of their little carcasses into the pool, which he then cleared out ( thankfully I didn’t have to witness that horror movie preview.
Which while I’m at it I ought to relate a funny Brazil story to you. My son and I were staying at the beach house of our hosts in Brazil. They don’t really have screens there and no air conditioning ( whch really was fine because we were right on the beach). The house is pretty much open to the outdoors in many places. So one night I went downstairs to get a drink of water, and all over the kitchen was some sort of large flying insect horde, crawling all over everything. I did not get my water, I did not stop at go, I went right back to my safe little room. Anyway, the next night my son happened to see the horde, and they were in the hallway outside the room too. Later the following day, he was talking to me about something and then said “then we will go to sleep and the nightmare begins…” It was so hilarious to me! That was a perfectly fine thing to deal with considering how fabulous it was to be at one of the finest Brazilian beaches and so well treated to wonderful Brazilian hospitality. It was just one of those funny wild things. I have a Lake Erie story that is similar- but I am sure you are tired of my homely stories…
so, til next time
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