[Photo of one main shaded grassy area before we began this year's work]
Nope - not a huge basketball fan here. My form of March Madness refers to a wild rush to get everything I can see to get done in the yard and garden before the oak pollen counts run me indoors for weeks on end, waiting out the prolific production of the beautiful but toxic (to me) live oaks.
My husband and I have spent the past several weeks paying the price for nearly two decades of letting things go. In our case that often meant letting things grow, rather than pruning. The result was a shaded out yard where only the strongest, tallest, most persistent plants survived, much less thrived. It wasn't altogether awful but it wasn't what we wanted.
So we began last year and continued through to this year methodically pruning, reshaping, reclaiming and restoring the yard to a place where garden beds will reign and St. Augustine lawn and tall hedges have a vastly reduced role to play. Some 20 pickup loads of trimmings are one result - approximately one per year that we were too busy or too intimidated to tackle the projects.
It has been grueling at times, back paining if not back breaking work. But the results are already evident in the signs all around of sunlight reaching in to new areas.[This mallow had never bloomed before!] Sure, there are lots of weeds out there looking pretty identical to my untrained eye to the wildflower seeds we planted earlier. But there are also vegetables planted where grass once grew, and flowers coming out on plants that barely produced leaves before.
Next year the perennials will all have benefitted from a full season to send down roots and claim a reasonable space, but even now, the rewards for our labor are evident from every vantage point.
Better late than never works - even in the garden it seems.[Photo of same area now open to sunlight and planted with a variety of groundcovers, wildflowers, herbs and vegetables]