Ever feel like a hamster on a wheel? Me too. Especially this past weekend. My husband and I have a real knack for making more work for ourselves when there’s already plenty to be had. We spent Saturday out working in the yard. We planted, and laid drip hoses. We put down sod. Round about knocking off time (for normal people) we decided IT WAS TIME. We got out the sawzall and put on some gloves, we gathered our daughters and then, one by one, we took out four bushes. WHY? Because I hate yew. My husband hates yew. And truth be told, our daughters hate yew too.
YEW BUSHES. They may look harmless, but they aren’t. They’re hell in a bush. They grow at an astronomical rate, don’t flower, yet feature poisonous, juicy-looking red berries just BEGGING TO BE STUCK IN CHILDRENS MOUTHS. We found this out the hard way, of course. Back in Philly we had two yew bushes in our front yard, which you know sponsored a long & costly trip to the ER. Fortunately our daughter survived. The same cannot be said for those bushes.
So what did we do? We sold our now-yew-bush-free house to another couple, moved to Maine and bought a “new” (really olde) house with not one nor two but THIRTEEN (13) FREAKING YEW BUSHES THE SIZE OF THE TEACUPS YOU RIDE DOWN IN DISNEY WORLD.
When we first moved in I tolerated the yews. Our daughters are now old enough not to eat the berries and I thought they added a bit of class, looking all sculpted and dignified. But that was back when we were paying a landscaping company big $$$ to do the work for us. Once winter hit I couldn’t have cared less, the bushes were sleeping. But once they woke up last spring, well-rested and PRIMED FOR GROWTH, that’s when our relationship soured.
Contrary to my terrible hair cutting skills, I am a pretty decent bush trimmer. Give me an electric hedge clipper and an hour and I can make a shrub look good. But shaping up our overgrown yew bushes all last year would have kept a pro gardener busy for months, let alone an amateur plagued w/ meniere’s disease. B/c of my wacky ear, each bush-trimming session left me in a tailspin for days. Their gargantuan proportions, requiring a ladder (b/c of the height) and hours & hours of grueling, arms-aching effort in the hot summer sun..?? This year I was NOT WILLING TO REPEAT.
SO on Saturday, we cut down the first 4 yew. These of course would be the four largest, facing the street, in direct view of all the neighbors. I am not sure, but I believe they think we have lost our minds.
YES, it does look a little *different* Perhaps even a bit odd. Frankly even if you do hate yew bushes (like we do) you can get accustomed to the way they creep out and squat all over the space. So that when they’re gone it looks a little bare. But not for long … Sunday was spent extracting the first two yew bush stumps.
Yew bush stump extraction is a cross between tree removal, primitive dentistry, and archeology. Lots & lots of frustrated digging, some sawing, a lot of pulling, poking, prodding, and finally YANKING, while sprawled in the scalding hot sun. Which wouldn’t be quite so bad if we weren’t doing all of this parked directly curbside, so every man woman and child driving past could sllooooowwww on down to take a look. Granted, it is sort of interesting, but it’s also expensive (we had to buy a chainsaw, HEAVY DUTY CHAIN and new wood-eating sawzall blades). I now have fifth degree sunburn on the back of my neck and upper shoulders and my husband has an OWWBOW (not Elbow) that never ever stops hurting. So basically, lots of sweat, onlookers, physical exhaustion and PAIN. x2.
Here’s what it looks like now.
We planted two flowering tree-like shrubs called Wine & Roses. They have deep purple foliage, bright pink blossoms and LOVE THE SUN. The grass seed (now hidden beneath straw mulch) should start sprouting soon, and the gaping brown holes will be gone. Next weekend? The other 2 stumps to the left of the door. We’re planning on building a flower bed there to mirror the one we already have to the right – extending the whole thing around the corner of the house on the driveway side and laying a matching brick path to boot. Of course, that will take more than a weekend. Or two. or ten. Since it will require removing another 5 bushes. But, like I said, we have a knack for creating more work. Right?