0 Adventures in gardening: Winter Cleanup and a Little Tree Style Nip and Tuck

I know this adventures in gardening series is more like a diary of us starting and maintaining our garden, but the time has come to spill our guts and let it grow expand to the entire yard. Remember we actually fell in love with the home for its yard and it has been sorely neglected over the years. 

This is not to say we were angel landscapers either. Since we focused on making the interior ‘livable’ the entire summer last year, we were unable to do anything except mow it. And let’s just say, over the winter we couldn’t bare the sight anymore.

I know it’s two weeks into summertime (at least to me), let’s show off how harsh the winter was to our ‘house lot’ (you know the area directly around our house) shall we?
The garden bed had years of neglect and weed overgrowth.
Right side.
Lots and lots, and tons more sticks, leaves and even some branches.  Here is a view if you took a few steps to the left from the last shot:
Right side, view looking at the birch tree.
Left side.
Needless to say the willow was the culprit. It’s one thing if it only shed this much in the winter, but in all reality, this happened every windstorm (very common in our area since we’re close to a huge lake) AND we always had to do a quick hour ‘sweep’ before cutting the lawn.
Behind the house and yes, we still had snow in APRIL!
As much as we love the shade, it’s pure beauty  with its long flowy strands, and the beefy size of our Willow Tree, sadly it has to get cut down. The tree was overgrown, clogging our gutters (every time it rained), and the roots were growing too close to our foundation for our comfort. Don’t forget about the branch cleanup (from above).
Underneath all those leaves is another layer of sticks.
So the beau took a chainsaw to the side of it. And let me tell ya, when it came cracking down, it caught me by complete surprise that it would be so loud. Funny story because out of shock I actually shouted profanities so loud that the next door neighbors heard both the big bang and my profanities and nervously giggled.

That one branch, plus all the leaves and branches from winter took us an entire week and a half (after work and 4-5 hours on the weekend) to clear away.
Just one of the MANY full wheelbarrows.
A couple weeks later, when we were doing some other  yard work, our other next door neighbor paid a visit to chit chat and told us that not 10 years ago, the sweet old lady had the willow taken down to the stump. Can you believe how much it grew in such a short time? Guess it’s the tree that keeps giving growing. Hopefully when the willow is all down, we can keep it away for good.

So for now our tree looks a little arm-less wonky.
But at least the rest of the house lot looks better, after the cleanup, the grass grew in, and spring finally appeared.
Right side.
Behind the house.
Left side.
We still have a lot of work ahead of us besides taking quite a few other trees down, but also removing old rotted stumps (inherited with the house) like this one:
I actually tripped into this one when we were cleaning the gutters. I was so focused on everything going on up in the sky on the roof that I wasn't paying attention to the ground, and bam knee deep in mushy stump. So our stumps are very dangerous now.

Do you know of any good stump killers (preferably natural)? Want to come over? We’ll supply the beer and margaritas, you supply the muscles and extra chain saws. Responsibly of course, after the tree is down, we don’t want any lost limbs (har har) or casualties now.

Want to follow along with Adventures in Gardening? Here’s the BeginningPlanning and Research, a Garden D├ęcor Tutorial, planting seeds, and garden growth progress.

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