Having been the cobbler with no shoes for so long, it's incredibly exciting that I finally have my own piece of land to cultivate. Like all gardens, ours is not without its challenges. In fact, calling it a “garden" is a stretch at this juncture. But our hopes are high and our plans are big. So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to Greenleaf Garden.
The Starting Point, August 2020
The original view from the stairs of the back deck. You can just make out our neighbor’s dark blue house beyond the overgrowth (right of center of the photo.)
We had several large trees in the backyard, including oak, pine, sweet gum, and box elder. Much of the shrub overgrowth is wild cherry laurel which likely ended up here thanks to the birds.
English ivy made its way onto the property and grew up the trunks of all the large trees. You can see it on the oak in the foreground, along with Virginia creeper and euonymus. We discovered that poison ivy was generously peppered throughout, too.
Kudzu, the most notoriously invasive plant of the Southeast, had a small-but-challenging hold on some parts of the backyard. It lent a jungle vibe to the space and was a bear to dig out. It grows astonishingly fast (up to 1 foot every 24 hours!), so we needed to act quickly to get it contained and eradicated. We had our work cut out for us!
Removals, August - September 2020
Kudzu was removed by the armload. Despite steamy summer temperatures, we wore full-length gloves, pants, and high socks to protect ourselves from getting poison ivy.
My husband, Michael, was very proud to take this particularly large wild cherry laurel down.
Progress! You can begin to see how much space we actually have at Greenleaf (as well as much more of our neighbor’s house).
Bruce and Penny were super excited by all the new sunlight making its way into the yard and by the huge increase in open space for running and playing. I was especially excited to see this view take shape with mature neighborhood trees lending more green and depth to the vista.