Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The First Cottage Spring Cleanup April 2015

Earlier in the year I had grand plans to drive back to Illinois with the folks when they were ready to end their 2015 Snowbird Season.  It was a challenging plan, as trying to fit me into their SUV with all their stuff was not going to be easy.  But, I figured anything I displaced could ride with me in the big van up to Illinois in May.  But then I discovered an error in my calender.  My Orlando show, Fiesta in the Park, would not be on its usual first weekend in April, it was moved back a week due to Easter.  Oh snap!  My ride up to Illinois now became a challenge to book a cheap flight to go with the cheap return flight I had already booked on Allegiant on April 19th--about $80 with no bags.

I did find a flight on Southwest that was cheap-ish and came with two free bags, so, I booked that for Tuesday the 14th.  It would require the folks to make a trip into Milwaukee from Rockford, but, it's a pretty easy drive if you can avoid the rushes.  As the plane arrived at noon, it was doable.  What remained in question:  would I be able to whip the winter ravaged, 2/3 of an acre garden into shape in FIVE DAYS?!

Can you believe I didn't take any before pictures?  I was so excited and anxious on Tuesday afternoon I just started hacking away at the grasses near the back-up area of the driveway.  It took four hours the first day to get them cut up, bundled and bagged.  Over the next five days I would put in 40 hours,(my Mom volunteered another 8 hours, my nephew Roger about 2 very physical hours) bagging 38 bags of yard waste, 12 bundles of stalks and limbs and laying 54 bags of mulch!!  The pictures below show the end result--it isn't perfect but most of the brown, wind blown and spent plants had been trimmed.

Oh crap, I forgot to fill the bird bath.  The two brown bushes here we cut
back a bit...there was already new growth out to about the tips.  The red/
brown freeze on the two rows of boxwoods started last winter.  That may be a
project to replace down the road.   

The middle and top tiers both need mulch and the top tier needs some more
attention by the tall trellis wall.  Mom said there is some Ribbon Grass
I may want to remove.

The Scottish Thistle is starting to come up in this planter.  I will
get more pictures of that when I get back.

There are some daffodils and another unidentified flower (the reddish pink
one below that I will move into the little planter above.  These used to be
planted around an Airstream trailer they had back here.

What are these???

I didn't get the fountain set up in this planter...and, yes, there is still some
winter burn on those potted shrubs.

The Koi and the critters are playing in the "pond"!

You can see I still need to mulch the east property line planter...
another 20 bags there maybe???

I have already talked with Rod about taking a week of vacation in April with me next year so we can get the yard cleaned up.  Before I leave in October, I will get all the grasses cut back so those curly-cues aren't all over the place in the Spring...that will eliminate about 1/4 to a 1/3 of the work!  And this will become part of the Fall routine--those grasses get caught in the snowblower and we don't want any extra work come snow removal season!!