For the past few weeks I have been working in my front yard with a knitting friend to prune and clean it all up as it was way beyond overgrown and really needed help. One of the items that has been a target for removal since we moved in 7 years ago was this Oleander outside our bedroom window at the front of the house. I have spent two very long sessions getting it to where it is in this first photo and it has become known as my nemesis. It remains firmly planted despite my efforts and I was not looking forward to effort number three.
I spoke with my brother during the week and he advised the purchase of a mattock, he believes it is an essential tree stump removing tool and now I have to agree with him. Today was the big day for its first use, Jules was out with the boys and I took to the Oleander with the mattock without having to worry about small children being underfoot. It took about a minute to realise the post swim shower I had had earlier was a complete waste of time as I broke out in an all over body and head sweat and was reminded quite quickly that I had a heart and muscles residing somewhere in my body. The sound and feel of my heartbeat in my ears was particularly interesting. After several short bursts of activity I had significantly widened and deepened the hole around my nemesis but as it turned out I was still not equipped with the tool I required to complete the job. Fortunately Jules arrived home gave the stump a once over, cleared a little more dirt from around the back, severing a couple of small roots and then did what I could not do....
The stump itself was particularly heavy and took the two of us to get out of the hole. The boys performed a quick inspection of the enormous hole 120 cm x 60cm by 45 cm deep.
The removed stump was then chopped up into pieces small enough to fit into the garbage bin. No, it's not going in the green recycling I'm pretty sure a poisonous plant is one of those things that you just don't put in the green waste bin.
Then the hole was filled back in using all of the dirt that had come out of it and then it was topped with some of the shredded prunings from the last couple of weeks worth of gardening .
Hard to tell in this picture but the other half of the garden bed actually has become the dumping ground for several pieces of brickwork that have been removed from other portions of the garden so they are my next target so that I have one small section of the garden "done".
Ultimately I will plant a Japanese Maple in the spot where the Oleander was but I need to let the ground settle so I can see how much compost and other dirt I need to add back in to make up for the space the stump took up.
To finish off the day Jules climbed the ladder and turned this:
The top of the tree was well and truly dead and totally bound up with a creeping vine that had made the tree it's home. Now it has a chance to grow and expand again without being strangled.
So a very productive day in the garden :-)