Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm a land owner

I recently discovered that we own and are responsible for a long patch of hardened, weed-infested roadside dirt along our flagship drive, which passes two other houses off our cul-de-sac. After I got over the shock of being a land owner of useless land, I realized that all these months of ruefully watching a Grimms fairy-tale thicket of wild blackberry vines taking over the entire street was actually NOT my neighbor's problem. It was mine. Being pragmatic, I look upon this as an ongoing project and will probably keep you posted here, just for my own sense of accomplishment.

Here' some "before" photos, shot in near-dark and pretty dreadful, unless you want to look at them as "arty," or as reflecting my state of mind when I first admitted to myself that I am a land owner.

Here's the road. My property is the road itself (even though my next-door neighbor uses it every day to get in and out of her house), all along the left, and along the right, but the neighbors with the adjacent lawn just spray the right side with weed killer every year. Note the dead border along their lawn. Nice. I'm not responsiblef for the Tim Burton-esque falling-down fences along the road. Thank god.

Here's a tangle of blackberry vines with seasonally dead leaves. I waited until they all frosted over, died and fell from the vines. Then I got on my work gloves and set to snipping. I snipped every vine and loaded up two large bins for recycling day. Now I have to either dig up the roots (impossible), spray with Round-up (not a good plan, ecologically speaking), or plan C: trim the cut-down vines to the ground, cover with layers of newspaper and/or cardboard (weighted down with a rock), then layer over that a thick mulch made from chopped up leaves from my back yard. A multi-step and physically taxing plan, but I'm giving it a go. Good exercise!
Here's your daily tree. It was a bush that I've been trimming into more of a tree shape. I have no idea what kind of plant this is. Long, thorny shoots, large, red cherry-like fruit that's hard as rocks--pretty ugly and useless. But I'll keep it for a while because it's nice to have a roadside tree, however weird.
Close-up of fruit. It arrives in Fall and lingers and never seems to ripen. My tree identification Web sites aren't helping on this one. Whatever it is, I'm sure it's some kind of invasive thing that a bird dropped from its nether regions, like all the blackberry vines.

I can't blame the birds for the gigantic, half-dead Scotch Brooms I cut back a few months ago. Scotch Broom is considered an invasive plant in the Northwest, and sure enough, I'm constantly pulling out tough little mini brooms that spawned from the two big ones I've chopped down (one was so dead, I could just tear it apart with my hands--fun). They bloom a lovely yellow for a short time per year, but keep them out of your yard. They spread and have no predators so they quickly take over, choking back native and nonnative plants alike.

No comments: