Gardening log for 29-30 December

Gardening for me is like searching the internet—I get distracted easily and next thing I know, I’m down the rabbit hole. Take today, for example. Got out about 1:00 to enjoy the 60°F weather, with plans to plant some more trees and shrubs. I took the tiny sourwood to the woods along the driveway to find a spot. I saw an evergreen shrub with dark berries, and the Plant Identification group on Facebook confirmed my suspicions: Ligustrum, or privet. I had a couple of these from previous owners and they had spread. The originals were cut down last year. So of course, I had to cut this down first.

29 December

It had a fairly thick trunk, about 4 inches and maybe 12 feet tall. I got my Katana Boy and a bucket for those berries, and set to work. Once it’s down, I looked again for a spot for my seedling, and saw a Ligustrum sapling. Then I suddenly saw all of them, running  down the hill to the stream. I might as well pull them now, since they stand out in winter and the ground is soft.

When I reached the creek after pulling up 20 or more seedlings, I saw a survey flag on the ground. Various surveys were made a couple of years ago to map out the streams in this area, and the flags are now falling off—why aren’t they required to remove these unsightly things after the survey is complete? Off I go down the creek, picking up flags, an old beer bottle, a bleach bottle, and a ceramic coffee mug. Oh, and pulling up Ligustrum and Nandina seedlings. I noted that an entire set of tires and their wheels are in the stream; I’ll need help to pull those out.

A friend dropped by to take a couple of Christmas ferns, and we chatted about my daughter’s upcoming wedding, her family’s holiday doings, and neighborhood gossip. It’s now 4:00.

I finally dug a hole for the sourwood, only to decide that this spot must have been a parking area in the past, to judge by the gravel I find. Taking a cue from the original Ligustrum, I eventually get the little tree snug in the ground near that stump.

30 December

On Sunday, a dog walk in the woods has me horrified at the amount of Ligustrum. And much of what I had hoped was deciduous holly along my little ephemeral creek reveals itself to be—you guessed it—Ligustrum. I decided my work today was to clear the creek.

After two hours, I had cleared all but one huge shrub and a few smaller ones near the driveway, using my trusty Pocket Boy knife and Corona soft-grip pruners.

Ligustrum removed from the creek bed; this doesn't count the dozens of seedlings that I pulled up and tossed on the hill.
Ligustrum removed from the creek bed; this doesn’t count the dozens of seedlings that I pulled up and tossed on the hill.
My trusty tools

Yes, I move slow and I’m using hand tools, so I’ll have to go back tomorrow to finish. But who needs cross-fit with this work? LOL. Seriously though, natives like this cranefly orchid (Tipularia discolor) are why I want to remove these invasives.

Cranefly orchid (Tipularia discolor) in late December
Cranefly orchid (Tipularia discolor) in late December

I did manage to plant an elderberry bush (‘Eridu’) that I started last year, west of the crepe myrtle near the stream.

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