It was an unfortunately violent feeling brought on by that clump of ornamental grass I mentioned in this post. I referred to it then as pampas grass, which I think now is an identification error; pampas grass isn't winter hardy in the Midwest where I live, and it's more likely maiden grass or something in the miscanthus genus. Whatever. It doesn't matter. The point was that it was out of place, out of scale, and just wrong for this house and this front yard, in my opinion. I wanted it gone.
The problem is it didn't want to go. I didn't have any experience with the stuff, and I had no idea what I was getting into. Hoo boy. I ended up battling that thing for hours.
I'd started with the intent of making major progress on the landscaping upgrades that needed to get done in the mess of a front yard. With two whole sunny weekend days, I was predicting a major victory come Sunday night. Instead I got a surprise ambush by that ornamental grass.
Here it is, last year's growth trimmed down. That's about a 3-foot by 2-foot spread of root ball there:
|Seems innocent enough, doesn't it?|
|The spade and the Chuck Taylors survived. Wish I could say the same for my lower back.|
Finally some progress:
Reasoning that this was at least as thick as carpet, I took a carpet knife to the root ball. Nothing. Then I took a tree pruning saw to it.
FINALLY. We found that we could saw off small chunks of the grass root, and then sever it from the soil from underneath with the spade. It turns out the root ball was as solid, compacted, and as hard as your average piece of lumber. By this time both my efforts and my tantrum had worn me nearly out, so my son Grant and I took turns at hacking away at it. It wore out the arms, all the sawing. It took about another two hours of effort to get the thing out.
|We win! (crazy, maniacal laughter)|
|The grass fought back, but resistance was futile.|
|Urban archaeology. Also, why am I so angry at the previous owners all the time?|
Our extremely awesome neighbor across the street offered to take our concrete rubble to the dump for us. He's in the construction trades and makes regular trips. But the gesture was huge to me since it saved me disposal fees. God bless good neighbors!
My son Grant worked his tail off for his Mom. I am so thankful for that as well!
Are we any closer to my inspiration photo?
Ah, yes. And no. Sometimes to get rid of a mess you have to make a bigger mess. We are at that point:
|It seemed like a good idea when we started.|
I will be so happy when the sweaty, back breaking labor is done and I can go back to dainty sorts of gardening, like putting annuals in pots. All in good time!