It has been so raining hard the last few weeks that our door mat has grown an impressive coating of furry white mold. The rains have also meant that the arborist we've hired to cut down our mulberry tree hasn't been able to work.
I really hate to cut down any tree, but this one has to go. The base is rotted out, it has a form like the Whomping Willow, the berries get stuck in everyone's shoes and make the floors look like bloody murder. I'm hoping that when this tree is removed, we'll have more sun, which will increase my gardening options.
Not very attractive, huh? If this were a native tree, or a tree that produced fruits that either Robb or I actually enjoyed eating, I'd work to improve its health.
This is the view from the back corner of our yard. I'm standing under our plum tree, which is also in rough shape, but which I'm hoping can be pruned (over the next few years) back into a healthier, more manageable form. You can see our little sitting area, which is under our Pittosporum undulatum, or Victorian Box Tree. Right now this tree is in bloom. The flowers aren't much to look like, but they smell heavenly. And the local honey bees are all over them.
Here's another view of the mulberry. It's really a mess. Behind it, in a black plastic pot is our baby Meyer Lemon. I still haven't figured out where it is going to live. Luckily, these trees are quite happy to grow in containers.
Further down, and on the left side of the path are the persimmon tree and the camellia. Both will be getting some love from the arborist on Monday. The persimmon was incompetently butchered, probably when the house was put up for sale. Some bonehead chopped one half of the tree off, with no regard for its health or appearance. The arborist assures me that he can improve things. The camellia was covered with jasmine vines when we moved in. Jasmine is lovely, but around here it's incredibly aggressive. I chopped off the lower parts of the vines, and tomorrow the crown of the camellia will be set free. (I still have more jasmine than I know what to do with. Anyone want some? I'll dig it up for you.)
On the right side of the path is our beautiful dwarf lemon. I still haven't figured out what variety it is. That tree needs no work. Or, I should say, it's short enough that I was able to do all the pruning myself.
The pitosporum will also see some care. When we bought the house, that portion of the yard was completely overgrown with inch-thick, elastic, Tarzan-worthy vines. The vines covered our back fence, two lilac bushes, and most of the pitosporum. I've been working on the ground-level vine eradication project, but it's slow going. The vines grow from a mound of tubers that were four feet tall when I started digging them out.
I've never seen anything like this vine. So far, I've filled our big green yard waste trash can two or three times. (I'm not risking putting these tubers in our compost, because I'm afraid they would take over our yard.) The mound from which they grow is literally nothing but tubers. They're smelly, and some of them are completely rotten and slimy.
And they're the habitat for the slender salamanders that live in our yard. I'm have very tender-hearted feelings for the salamanders, so I tried to be careful whilst tearing apart the Devil's Tubers. I found and relocated over twenty little salamanders. I also found three wildly thrashing salamander tails, which was pretty horrible.
(I know we have a lot of blog readers who spent a large portion of this weekend shoveling snow. We'll all have sore muscles together on Monday. But at least you won't be haunted by the spirit of angry tail-less salamanders.)
Once the trees are taken care of, and the veggie garden is further along, the next big garden project is likely to be some kind of improvement to The World's Ugliest Fence. Can you see this mess? It's made of, among other things, rotting plywood, rotting timbers, cinderblock, and orange construction fencing. It's topped off with extension ladders. Awesome.
We don't know the neighbors on this side, don't know who owns the fence, and are not certain if they speak English. So we're not really sure how to proceed.