Sunday, August 19, 2018

The yard that time forgot

We bought our house in the dead of winter, shortly before a record-breaking stretch of low temperatures and snow in the Triangle. When we moved in, we estimated that the back yard hadn't been raked in several years and the front yard had been relatively untended for almost as long. Apart from my successful stint at succulent husbandry, my track record with plants is not good. My somewhat confessional post about the series of Clyde plants I'd nurtured and killed preceded the demise of what at that point was the current plant by just a few short months. Given this history, when it came to tackling our yard I did what any smart person would do and called my mom. Enthusiastic at the idea of being able to transform our yard into something that would quickly become an important stop on any house and garden tour in Durham, she asked for some photos. Sobered at the images of an overgrown disaster in the front, and a scorched-earth-style sand pit in the back, we discussed how best to proceed. As we made plans to tackle the front on her upcoming trip to Durham, she packaged some hostas and a fern from her yard into a Priority Mail box and they were on their way. I managed not to kill them in the few days between their arrival and hers, and we went to work!

Things we did:

  • Removed another trash bag's worth of poison ivy from the front yard
  • Trimmed the "grass," or what passes for grass in our front yard that is comprised of plants we've tentatively identified as Virginia creeper, mint, crab grass, a small amount of residual poison ivy, and approximately 1,000,000 as yet unidentified weeds
  • Dug out four dead or dying shrubs
  • Positively identified, rescued, and trained the fig tree that Lynn attempted to demolish in the fall because she thought it was unsightly
  • Mixed in some compost into the dirt in front of the house and planted the hostas
  • Planted two ferns in the corner by the fence
  • Came up with a clever watering scheme that involved using the water from the dehumidier each night to water the hostas in the front yart, and each morning to water the herbs and ferns in the back yard
The results: 
The fig tree! This is after some pruning and also training the three branches to form a trunk. It's starting to look like a proper tree. You can almost see the baby hostas in a line behind it. 

Through circumstances that are beyond the scope of this blog post, I have recently augmented my cicada knowledge, and can tell you that the insect husk you see here on one of the fig leaves is a scissor-grinder cicada, which is, if not annual, more frequent than the q13 or q17 year cicadas that are frequently referenced. 

This Fresno pepper is the only one we've harvested so far this year. There are some flowers on the plant as of this post, so fingers crossed for more.

I candied two green figs! I wasn't sure whether birds would eat them once they were more ripe, so I decided to go for it. They are pretty mild and mostly just taste like sugar with a faint fig undertone, so I'll be hoping for ripe figs for the next batch. 

No comments:

Post a Comment